Only a few ingredients go into the making of a yummy sandwich, right? But what health risks do that fine-looking white bread bring along? Read on.
White bread has been a staple in many households across the world due to its easy availability, convenience, and taste. But is white bread healthy, you ask?
The highly processed flour in white bread and ingredients like preservatives, salts, and sugars leave the white bread unhealthy. Excessive consumption of white bread can increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, etc . The low fibre content in white bread can also cause constipation in many people. If you still choose to eat bread, find out how other types of bread are better than white bread.
How is white bread made?
Bread is a baked food, made up of flour or meal that is moistened, kneaded, and fermented. White bread is made from highly processed grains leaving it less nutritious.
The grain is processed to remove the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Bread made from refined flour has a finer texture and a longer shelf life. But processing removes most of the fibre, vitamins, and minerals. This can increase the chances of nutritional deficiencies. Some manufacturers add back missing nutrients using supplements like folic acid and other B vitamins. However, these supplements are not as good as the naturally occurring vitamins. So, is white bread healthy? Keep reading!
Nutritional Facts: White Bread
|Serving size||1 slice (25 grams)|
|Total fat||1 gram|
|Thiamine||8% of the RDI|
|Folate||7% of the RDI|
|Sodium||7% of the RDI|
|Manganese||6% of the RDI|
|Selenium||6% of the RDI|
|Riboflavin||5% of the RDI|
|Niacin||5% of the RDI|
|Iron||5% of the RDI|
Is white bread bad for you?
White bread is considered bad for you for the extremely processed flour that it contains. Your food needs to be nutritious besides it being delicious, right? White bread fails to achieve this.
The grain used for white bread is refined to a great extent and it removes the outermost and innermost layers of the grain. What is left is just carbohydrates and almost no fibre, vitamins, minerals or protein. The nutritional value is reduced in white bread. White bread may contain antinutrients like phytic acid, which can block the absorption of minerals, such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium .
Is white bread healthy? Unfortunately, no. Because white bread lacks fibre, it is easily digested and rapidly absorbed. This can skyrocket your sugar levels. White bread has a glycemic index (GI) of 75, making it rank very high on the glycemic index. Glycemic index is a measure of how drastically a food can make your blood sugar rise . Increased sugar levels can make you crave for more food, especially sugars or carbs.
The increased blood sugar levels can increase the risk of type-2 diabetes. It is a condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose). Your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or it resists insulin. Symptoms of type-2 diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, etc.
According to research, refined grains may contribute to the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease . It is crucial to take good care of the liver since it is responsible for all the metabolism.
White bread made out of refined grains can contribute to cavities or other dental issues. A good diet rich in vitamins and a good oral care routine can ensure healthy teeth and gums.
White bread may contain gluten (a type of protein that helps dough rise and gives it its elastic property) is hard to digest for some people. A gluten allergy causes stomach pain, diarrhea, and bloating. A more serious form of gluten intolerance, known as a celiac disease , causes some people serious consequences. If you have celiac disease and eat gluten, your immune system can damage your small intestine and restrict the absorption of nutrients.
The increased blood sugar levels due to excessive consumption of white bread can cause mood swings, fatigue and other signs of depression . Struggling to find the right words? That yummy egg mayo sandwich is to blame! Yes, high carb food like white bread can cause brain fog, cognitive impairment and increase the chances of dementia. Now you know that white bread is not only bad for your physical health but also bad for your mental health!
Is white bread healthy for weight loss?
Consuming white bread in moderation will not cause weight gain, instead, it can provide your body with the much-needed carbs for energy. However, if you are someone who is trying to manage weight, remember that consuming more calories than your body needs can lead to weight gain. If white bread is your go-to meal or snack, it will certainly add up the extra pounds. Avoid using too much mayonnaise, processed meat, butter, cheese, etc. on your sandwiches if you are trying to lose weight or manage weight.
|Healthier alternatives to white bread
Struggling to lose weight? Try green coffee for weight loss.
Disadvantages of eating white bread
What is the reason that white bread is considered bad? Well, the major nutrients in bread are carbohydrates. White bread’s benefits are that it has carbs to cater to the energy needs of your body. It is almost devoid of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Eating white bread for long periods can cause the following issues:
- Spike in sugar levels ( can increase the chance of type 2 diabetes)
- Craving more food due to lack of fibre in white bread
- Weight gain
- Risk of cardiovascular disease
- Constipation 
How to choose a good bread
Is bread a healthy food and good for health? Well, the answer depends on the way you choose your bread. While purchasing bread from a store, make sure the word ‘Whole’ is present on the packaging. Whole refers to the fact that all the 3 parts of the grain are present – the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The glycemic index of whole-grain bread is 53. Whole grains provide several benefits including protection from cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.
Labels that are not whole grain breads
- Wheat bread
- Unbleached wheat flour
- 100% wheat
- Organic flour
|Word of caution: The word ‘Whole’ does not make the bread any better. It may contain 20 more ingredients including preservatives, salts and sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose etc.) which are certainly not healthy for your body.|
Bread made with sprouted grains  is a good option to choose from. Sprouting involves repeated soaking and rinsing of the grains that increases absorption in the body. Sprouted bread has more fiber, folate, vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene but fewer antinutrients. It is a better source of many vitamins and minerals available in easy to digest forms. Ezekiel bread is one such example of sprouted grain bread.
Why is whole wheat bread healthier than white bread?
- Whole wheat bread is made from the parts of the wheat grains: bran, endosperm and germ and its nutritional value is somewhat intact when compared to that of white bread.
- It is high in selenium and manganese. It is a good choice if you are trying to lose weight or obtain health benefits from bread .
- Since whole wheat bread contains fibre, you can avoid problems of constipation and cravings.
- Whole wheat bread does not cause any liver fat.
Is rye bread healthier than normal bread?
Rye is a grass grown as a grain and is closely related to wheat and barley. Rye bread is made from rye flour and is slightly darker in color. In comparison to white bread or wheat bread, rye bread is often considered nutritious and has fewer carbs. It is higher in fibre and micronutrients like vitamin B. You may feel fuller for longer periods and it can have a lesser impact on your blood glucose levels . The chances of weight gain from eating rye bread are lesser when compared to that from eating white bread or normal bread.
Is white bread fattening?
Since white bread can contain a lot of added sugar, it can be fattening. Due to a higher glycemic index, white bread can spike your blood glucose levels and eventually lead to weight gain. As white bread gets digested easily, the hunger or cravings come back. You may end up eating more after eating a slice of bread. If you are trying to lose that stubborn belly fat or visceral fat  surrounding the vital organs, it is best to avoid white bread because it can add up to the existing belly fat.
Is it OK to eat white bread every day?
Eating white bread every day can cause obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Since white bread is nothing but refined carbohydrates, eating white bread every day can also lead to inflammation. It can mess with the good bacteria in your gut and can cause digestive issues.
Is white bread good for weight loss?
White bread is not good for weight loss since it is made of refined carbs and lots of added sugar. Because of the high glycemic index of white bread, sugar levels increase. White bread can also give rise to belly fat according to new research. It is of low nutritional value and is almost devoid of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. White bread is digested faster and makes you crave more food, causing you to consume more calories.
What is the healthiest bread to eat?
Healthy bread is one that has a lower glycemic index so that it does not spike up sugar levels to a great extent. It should also be enriched with micronutrients and fibre to avoid deficiencies and constipation. Some of the healthiest bread include:
1. Sprouted-grain bread
Sprouted-grain bread, as the name suggests, is made from sprouted grains and therefore the nutrient absorption is increased in these kinds of breads. They are lower in sodium and are usually sugarless. These breads can keep you fuller for a long time.
2. Whole wheat bread
Wheat wheat bread or any whole grain bread for that matter, retains all the 3 parts of the grain, the bran, germ, and endosperm. Since it is whole and not heavily processed, it retains fibre and vitamins. But beware of brands that market as ‘whole wheat’. Read all the other ingredients in the bread too. Chances are that it has added sugar, preservatives, or sodium. Try making your own whole wheat bread at home.
3. Sourdough bread
Sourdough bread is made by fermenting flour and water, without the usage of yeast. Since it is fermented, sourdough bread can be beneficial for your gut. The fermentation process paves way for essential nutrients which are otherwise absent in regular white bread. It has lower phytate levels. It has a slightly tangy flavor to it. It has a low glycemic index.
Other healthier breads that you can try are oat bread, flax bread, 100% sprouted rye bread, gluten-free bread (almond flour bread), etc.
Is white bread more unhealthy?
Yes, white bread is unhealthy as it is made from refined flour. The grain is highly processed and is left with just carbs. White bread lacks nutritional value. The low fibre content can cause digestive problems. The high glycemic index of white bread can spike up sugar levels. White bread can cause heart disease, obesity, teeth problems, mood disorders, and type 2 diabetes.
White bread is not unhealthy as long as you consume it in moderation. Providing fuel to the body is one of the white bread benefits. Avoid excessive consumption of white bread or using ingredients like mayo, processed meats, cheese, and butter on your sandwiches. White bread has disadvantages like increasing the risk of diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity. Switch to whole-grain breads and read the labels on the packaging of bread to make healthier choices. Most importantly, aim to eat balanced meals consisting of macronutrients like carbs, protein, healthy fats, micronutrients, and fiber.
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