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The Real Issue with Bread (and the Solution)

Updated on May 9, 2019

Can you imagine a delicious burger without any buns? How about a mouthwatering BLT sandwich without, well, the sandwich? Bread is one of the few food items that almost every household or restaurant has. But the pantry staple is also a leading source of excess calories and controversial health problems.


So, to eat or not to eat bread — that is the question.


Bread and Your Waistline

Is bread the source of all evil when it comes to weight gain? It could be. White bread without your choice of spreads and fillings already contains 265 calories for every 100 grams.

According to Heather Bauer, co-author of acclaimed Bread is the Devil, people tend to overindulge on bread and other refined carbohydrates. She notes that we are especially weak to white bread and its addictive properties when our bodies are starving, stressed, or in a state of exhaustion.

In contrast, choosing to eat whole grains present several health benefits and is an effective weight loss strategy. In a 2017 study from the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, people who ate a low-calorie diet packed with whole grains had a significant reduction in waist circumference and body fat than others who consumed only refined grains, including white bread, pasta, rice, and so forth.

Whole grains are a substantial source of vitamins C and E, fiber, and other minerals. However, it's important to understand that overeating is never a good idea, regardless if you limit your choice of bread to whole wheat. This sustenance can still contribute to weight gain when consumed in excess.


Bread and Your General Health

Aside from being calorific, bread is often high in sugar, salt, bad cholesterol, and carbohydrates. Excessive intake these health-impacting substances can increase your risk of many diseases, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. In addition, refined white bread is high on the glycemic index, which signifies their ability to raise your blood sugar and trigger your cravings for unhealthy food.


How Much Bread You Should Eat

If your goal is to eat 2,000 calories per day, your body requires about 6 ounces from the grain group. Your sources include all bread types, pasta, crackers, oatmeal, cereals, and many others. Pick whole grains as much as possible, or at least half of what you should consume.

Be wary of proportions and consider the type of bread you are eating. For example, did you know a single bagel can have a whopping 3 to 5 ounces of grain? If you revel in having bagels for breakfast, keep in mind that much of your grain budget for the day is gone.


Takeaway

If you are part of the millions of people who can't live without bread, don't worry because there's no need to sacrifice it to achieve your health goals. Just keep your servings in check and opt for whole grains instead. Whole grain, not to be confused with "wheat bread or multigrain," plays a significant role in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates, maintaining or reducing your weight, and ultimately nourishing your body. So, unless a gluten-free diet is right for you, eat up!

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    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      23 months ago

      Excellent article - great advice for me as I love bread (in all its forms). Thank you for sharing.

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