Bread has earned a bad reputation in the past few years, thanks to low-carb diets and the gluten-free craze.   Is all bread really bad for you, or is it possible to eat bread without breaking the scale or triggering inflammation in your body?

First of all, unless a doctor has told you to avoid gluten, that part of bread consumption is unlikely to harm you, but if you feel better on a gluten-free diet, by all means continue to pursue it.

For the rest of us, wheat-derived breads can be included in our diets, provided of course that we don’t overdo it. There are actually some nutrients in wheat flour that are good for us!  That’s what makers of a new trendy bread are banking on.

If you’ve heard of “bread made from fresh-milled flour” you might be wondering how these loaves stack up against your typical supermarket bread. It’s the new trend in artisan baking, and bakers claim that using fresh-milled flour makes their products taste better.

In addition to better taste, fresh-milled flour provides a higher concentration of fiber, magnesium, selenium, vitamin E, and phytonutrients.  Freshly milled whole grain flour is produced by grinding the wheat kernels, which contain the bran (outer layer), the endosperm (middle layer), and the germ (inner layer). Each of these kernel layers contain vital nutrients. By contrast, white flour is made from grinding only the endosperm, resulting in a product that is shelf-stable but less nutritious. If you’re looking for a convenient source of those nutrients, fresh-milled bread could be a good addition to your diet.

It’s easy to see that bread made from fresh-milled flour is nutritionally superior to typical supermarket loaves.  Of course, there’s a catch: Breads made from fresh-milled flour have a very short shelf life, so you would need to purchase it two or three times per week (or even daily, if you have a large family). You can always freeze loaves, though, so that you don’t have to make regular visits to your favorite bakery.

The bottom line: Bread made from fresh-milled flour does contain a greater concentration of certain nutrients, and you might enjoy the taste better.  If you can’t get fresh-milled bread, or don’t want to deal with the slight inconvenience, eating a healthy, varied diet is likely still sufficient to meet your nutritional needs.