Bread is a basic very trendy source of carbohydrates. Diverse and tasty, bread took part of all meals for a long time around the world, especially in the USA where according to OnePoll, bread is among the most popular foods on breakfast, besides doughnuts, oatmeal, cereal and pancakes.
However, bread is becoming very unpopular lately with new substitutes constantly appearing, and people started limiting their intake of white bread for health and dietary reasons. So what effect does bread consumption have on your health?
On the Providence Nutrition Services’ website, Terese Scollard – a regional clinical nutrition manager – wrote an article about bread and the effect it has on your body when consumed regularly on long terms.
Starting with the fact that the discovery of wheat marked an important transition in Man’s history, allowing ancestors to change life style, settle down and start practicing agriculture. So bread is considered a marking point in human civilization as the article argued.
In the beginning, bread was made of whole grains, which according to nutrition experts had the healthiest composition thanks to its content in vitamins, minerals, fiber and important phytonutrients.
However, the preference for white bread started in the 1900s and spread quickly across the world. It has become today a very popular aliment, available at every corner. Bakers use wheat without hulls and barns to satisfy their clients, but that makes bread lose its nutritional value.
So if you’re a regular bread consumer, there are two things you have to keep in mind. The first is to always opt for bread made with whole grains; ideally one that is rich in fibers (offers no less than three grams of fiber per portion).
The second factor to consider significantly is the quantity of bread that you’re consuming. Bear in mind that excessive and regular consumption of big portions of bread and carbs in general can be really harmful for your health. Bad carbs and white bread specifically contain large amounts of calories, which will be stored as fats when exceeding your body needs. This extra fat can lead to obesity and even diabetes.
Starting with the fact that if you have diabetes, you should strictly aim for foods having a low Glycemic Index GI, with a score lower or equal to 55. These foods raise blood glucose levels slowly, and Research has shown that choosing low-GI foods can particularly help manage long-term blood glucose (HbA1c) levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Foods with a high GI on the other hand cause a rise in blood sugar levels. This includes White bread specifically, and foods made with refined grains generally which have high GI, equal or superior to 71. The intake of these aliments should be limited as they’re quickly digested and absorbed, resulting in a rapid rise of blood sugar levels which can be really harmful for diabetics.
Fascinatingly, whole grain bread scores only 53 on the GI scale according to Harvard Medical School, and is considered a very great alternative for bread lovers who still want to have a healthy diet.
When it comes to obesity, it’s commonly known that white bread is a major agent causing weight gain, and there’s an explanation for that: consuming more fiber leads to a feeling of satiety and makes you less hungry. However, white bread relatively lacks fibers and has low nutritional value, which makes you want to eat more, and feel hungrier more often. Feeling constantly hungry along the day makes you snack more, and especially consume fatty and sweet foods leading to a drastic weight gain.
Obesity is linked to many diseases, mainly cancer, according to Cancer Research UK. The organization states that the fat stored affect hormones, altering the physiological functions of the body and making cells multiply more frequently which results in many types of cancers, specifically cancers of the pancreas, gallbladder and breast. This statement is even more significant for Americans, as around 42% of Americas were suffering from obesity in 2017-18 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As for the opinion of an expert regarding this matter, Hideo Makuuchi is a Japanese dietician who took conclusions on the subject based on years of experience and observations about processed foods. In 2019, he established a link between his cancer patients and their dietary routine. According to the China Times, Makuuchi noticed that eight out of ten of his breast cancer patients would eat nothing but bread for breakfast. He also noted that the lifestyle of his patients was characterized with stress and rapidity; forcing them to buy food rather than cook healthy meals at home.
Makuuchi also adduced the fact that bread is addictive and makes you feel hungrier and therefore gives you the desire to eat bigger amounts, especially of fatty and fried foods as previously mentioned.
After all the information that we have displayed, you must know that obesity is not the only cause of cancer, which is also due to smoking, alcohol intake, plastic containers and refined sugar. Obesity is also not exclusively caused by bread, but the combination of many wrong dietary choices.
In conclusion, the ideal would be replacing white bread by whole grain bread it is healthiest bread at whole foods, brown rice, eggs and fruits as experts’ advice. You can always stick to your occasional slice of white bread but moderately. Generally, try reducing your intake of refined sugars, avoid cigarettes, alcohol and keep a healthy lifestyle and a balanced natural diet.