Britain should eat bread made with BROAD BEANS, scientists say

Beans IN toast! Britain should switch to eating bread made with BROAD BEANS because it’s healthier and more sustainable than wheat, scientists say

  • Most bread and baked products are made using wheat flour and soy beans
  • Wheat has a low nutritional profile, while soy bean are grown on deforested land
  • Scientists say we should eat baked goods made with broad bean flour instead
  • Broad beans are naturally high in nutrients and can be grown in the UK

Britons should be eating bread made from broad beans as it’s healthier than wheat and benefits the environment, scientists say.

Most flour used to make white bread contains soy beans, which are often grown on land created by deforestation and are shipped in from abroad.

However, the broad bean – also known as the fava or faba bean – can be cultivated in the UK and will result in bread with an ‘improved nutritional profile.’

Researchers from the University of Reading have announced the ‘Raising The Pulse’ project that seeks to create feasible bean-flour products and promote them to consumers.

Brits should be eating bread made from broad beans as it’s healthier and better for the environment, scientist say

The broad bean – also known as the fava or faba bean – can be cultivated in the UK and will result in bread with an ‘improved nutritional profile.’ Pictured: Composition of selected nutrients in bread made from white wheat, soya and faba bean flour

Professor Julie Lovegrove, the principle investigator, said: ‘The humble faba bean shows great promise to improve the UK diets, being naturally high in nutrients including fibre and micronutrients; as well as being an environmentally beneficial crop due to its nitrogen fixing capabilities.’

‘Nitrogen fixing’ refers to how the bean can combine chemically with nitrogen in the atmosphere without the need for polluting nitrate fertilisers.  

Flour made from broad beans has 2.5 times the amount of protein, four times the amount of fibre, and almost three times the amount of iron than wheat flour.

Despite this, most of the population will not incorporate broad beans into their diet as the products are unfamiliar and they don’t know how to cook with them, according to Professor Lovegrove.

Bean suppliers and manufacturers of baked goods have also so far lacked economic incentive to optimise the beans for end use and incorporate them into products. 

Flour made from broad beans has 2.5 times the amount of protein, four times the amount of fibre, and almost three times the amount of iron than wheat flour

The project plan has been published in the journal Nutritional Bulletin, which will initially involve optimising the processes involved in producing broad beans (stock image)

WHY ARE BROAD BEANS BETTER THAN SOY BEANS AND WHEAT? 

Soy beans are often grown on land created by deforestation and are shipped in from abroad.

However, the broad bean – also known as the fava or faba bean – can be cultivated in the UK and will result in bread with an ‘improved nutritional profile.’

Broad beans can combine chemically with nitrogen in the atmosphere without the need for polluting nitrate fertilisers.

Flour made from broad beans also has 23 per cent more protein, 15 per cent more fibre, and 3.6 per cent more iron than wheat flour. 

Professor Lovegrove told The Guardian: ‘Ninety-six per cent of people in the UK eat bread, and 90 per cent of that is white bread, which in most cases contains soya. 

‘We’ve already performed some experiments and found that fava bean flour can directly replace imported soya flour and some of the wheat flour, which is low in nutrients. 

‘We can not only grow the fava beans here, but also produce and test the fava bean-rich bread, with improved nutritional quality.’

She hopes that ‘Raising The Pulse’, which has received £2 million in government funding, will result in the introduction of tasty bean-flour products to consumers and improve ‘diet quality, health and the environment’.

The project plan has been published in the journal Nutritional Bulletin, which will initially involve optimising the processes involved in producing broad beans.

This will include identifying high-yielding varieties to breed and ensuring the growing process is sustainable.

They will also be ensuring that none of the bean’s nutritional quality is compromised during milling and the process of making bakery products from the flour.

The team will be working with farmers, consumer focus groups and industry and government stakeholders along the way.

As part of this, a number of products will be introduced to University of Reading students through campus catering outlets and delivery to halls of residence.

Matt Tebbit, who runs the university’s catering service, told The Guardian: ‘Students will be asked to rate products made or enriched with faba bean, such as bread, flatbread, and hummus.

‘They will be asked questions about how full they felt, for how long and their liking of the foods. 

‘It is hoped that faba bean will improve satiety, as well as providing enhanced nutritional benefits in products that are enjoyable to eat.’

Milk from cows fed on grass is BETTER for the environment than drinking soya milk, study claims

Drinking milk from cows that are fed on grass is more environmentally sustainable than milk from soya beans as the plant is often grown on land created by deforestation, study claims.

Experts from the University of Nottingham and the Sustainable Food Trust looked at UK cow’s milk production and what the animals are fed on as part of their study.

Just over 2lbs (1kg) of soya fed to a cow could produce up to 150 pints of milk, according to the team.

However, the same amount of the crop only produces 13 pints of soya milk. 

Large parts of South America, including the rainforest, are cleared to grow soya for milk and food production – including to make up feed for British cows.

Feeding cows on grass alone, and drinking cow’s milk is better for the environment  as it reduces the impact on natural habitats in South America, and a lower-demand for soya would reduce illegal deforestation, the team discovered.

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