Is Bread “Bad” For You?

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Is Bread “Bad” For You?

Bread is a staple of the human diet. After thousands of years, it remains the most consumed food in the world. This is due to its convenience, portability, nutrition, and taste.

There are many different types of bread. Breads such as whole-grain, sweet breads, corn breads, sourdough, flatbreads and so on.

Some are more desirable choices than others.

Here are some key points about bread:

  • Whole-meal bread contains the whole grain and provides fiber, vitamin B, and minerals.

  • Gluten-free breads and non-wheat breads are suitable for people with an allergy.

  • Consuming bread in moderation will not lead to weight gain.

Carbohydrates in bread: Good or bad?

There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’

It’s about moderation.

Carbohydrates provide the body with fuel. Bread consists of high levels of carbohydrate.

The healthiest sources of carbohydrate are fruits, vegetables, beans, and minimal processed grains. These foods also provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals.

Packaged and pre-sliced white bread is a highly-processed, simple carbohydrate. This digests quickly without providing many nutrients or benefits to the body.

Highly-processed carbohydrates, such as white breads, pasta, cakes and donuts digest quick. They then provide a quick surge of energy.

They cause blood sugar to spike soon after eating, and, because they lack fiber, the person will not feel full. They will crave more food again soon after, especially when the blood sugar drops.

A high intake of simple high-calorie carbohydrates can lead to weight gain. It can also lead to a higher risk for lifestyle-related chronic conditions.

What are whole grains?

The whole grains in whole-meal bread are a good source of fiber. They provide energy for longer and they help prevent cardiovascular and other diseases.

Whole grains are a good source of:

  • B vitamins, including folic acid

  • iron, magnesium and selenium

  • dietary fiber

It is recommended consuming at least 25 grams of fiber a day. At least half of the grains consumed should be whole grains.

Fiber can reduce the risk of:

  • cardiovascular disease

  • type 2 diabetes

  • hypertension or high blood pressure

  • colon cancer

  • obesity

Whole grains also provide protein.

How do I know they are whole grains?

When buying bread, the word “whole” should be the first word in the ingredient list. The word “whole” ensures that the whole grain is in the product.

The following labels do not guarantee a whole-grain product:

  • Multigrain

  • Wheat bread

  • Organic flour

  • Bran

  • Wheat germ

  • Unbleached wheat flour

  • 100 percent wheat

The ingredient list will give a better idea of what the item contains.

What is refined flour?

Bread is at its most healthful when baked with 100 percent whole grain kernels.

To make white bread or white flour, only 1/3 of the grain is inside. They remove the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm.

Products made with refined flour have a finer, lighter texture, and has a longer shelf life.

Processing grains removes most or all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

The remaining endosperm provides quick-digesting carbohydrate but little else.

When people were experiencing nutrient deficiencies, manufacturers starting to produce “enriched” flours.

They adjusted the processed white flour with some of the missing nutrients. Using supplements like folic acid and other B vitamins.

But, supplemental vitamins are not as good as vitamins from food sources. The human body can better absorb and process nutrients from unprocessed sources.

Whole grains add important nutrients to the diet.

Should we avoid gluten?

Gluten-free bread can have great benefits for some dietary needs.

Some people should avoid bread because of an allergy or intolerance.

In recent years, the gluten-free diet has become popular. Gluten can be dangerous for a person with celiac disease.

These people have a severe autoimmune reaction to gluten that causes intestinal damage.

Although, many people can tolerate gluten, and they do not need to avoid it.

Avoiding gluten can cause people to avoid foods that may be healthy for them, such as whole grains.

Consuming gluten does not increase the risk of heart disease. But avoiding whole grains on purpose, may increase the risk.

Many doctors urge people only to “go gluten-free” if they are sensitive to gluten, not as a lifestyle choice.

People who need to avoid gluten can find gluten-free breads in many grocery stores.

Will bread help me lose weight?

Consuming bread in moderation should not cause weight gain. It will provide the necessary energy for the body. A higher intake of energy than the body needs will lead to weight gain.

If bread becomes a default meal or snack for people, it can crowd out more healthful foods.

A healthier option is to choose sandwiches that contain grilled chicken and salad. Or eating bread with a healthy, homemade, vegetable soup.

Making your own bread is not difficult, especially if you invest in a bread-making machine. This way, you will know exactly what you are eating.

Overall, when it comes to bread moderation is key.

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