White bread may feel soft and fresh, but it's one of the unhealthiest foods you can eat.
Yes, bread has been a wholesome dietary staple food for centuries, but not the kind that have been commercialised and processed into oblivion, which can cause:
- Weight Gain
- Blood Sugar Spikes
- Bowel Cancer...and more.
So, what makes white bread so bad and which are the healthiest breads to eat?
Keep reading to get the low down...
The Problem with White Bread
The problem with white bread is that it’s completely devoid of nutrients or any nutritional value at all.
It’s not just empty calories which won't fill you up, it also contains harmful additives and can contribute to a range of health problems if eaten regularly.
So why exactly is it so unhealthy?
Well for a start, bread is made from refined flour, which means that the fibre, bran and wheat germ (basically, all of the goodness) has been stripped out, to make it soft and delicate, more appealing and addictive.
One alarming fact is that 98% of colon cancer is caused by a low fibre diet and not enough water. Your daily bread is meant to be a source of healthy fibres to help keep your digestive system functioning well, so if you're eating white bread regularly, you'll set yourself up for problems.
Because of the lack of nutrient density, fibre and preservatives, white bread enters the blood stream quickly causing insulin to spike, which in turn can lead to obesity and diabetes. Not to mention, when you eat white bread, your cells are not satisfied nutritionally, so you will continue to crave more food.
Learn more in 5 Reasons to Avoid Supermarket Wheat Products.
Whole grains rich in fibre and magnesium give your body added protection, especially for older women, against diseases like adult-onset type-2 diabetes.
Even the American Heart Association is recommending more fibre (25 grams per day) based on research proving high-fibre foods can improve your blood sugar control.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, seeds and whole grains are all fibre rich foods that you should include in your diet to control blood sugar levels and help prevent diabetes.
3-6 servings per day of a mix of these foods can help you drastically cut down your risk for diabetes.
Learn more in 7 Ways to Knock Out Refined Carb Cravings.
The risk of strokes can’t be underestimated.
A stroke can creep up on you and if it occurs, can change your entire life permanently, leaving you disabled or unable to care for yourself. The big causes of strokes are diets that are rich in refined sugars and grains (including white bread), combined with a lack of clean water daily to hydrate the brain.
Studies show that by eating as little as more than one serving of whole grains every day, can even reduce your risk of having a stroke by 30-40%. This reason alone should be enough for you to ditch the white bread in favour of healthier options.
Bowel and Colon Health
There’s no underscoring the importance of fibre in your diet because of the role it plays in a healthy functioning digestive system.
Fibre is the part of plant-based foods that your body uses to cleanse your digestive tract - one of the most vital functions of your entire body and for health and longevity.
When you ingest whole fibres, your body has what it needs to gather up and sweep out toxins inside your body.
Whole-grains are loaded with the natural fibres that do this job and help you avoid constipation, but white bread, white rice and white flour have very little, so they don't serve your digestive system well.
Other Health Concerns
White bread turns into blood sugar almost instantly, causing your body to produce insulin and to lay down fat.
By avoiding white bread and replacing it with whole grain breads and whole food, you will keep your blood sugar level more consistent.
Whole grains will keep you satisfied for longer, avoiding insulin spikes and energy crashes, helping you to maintain healthy body weight and avoid high blood pressure.
A lot of people avoid bread because they have a gluten intolerance.
However, gluten intolerance is not necessarily caused by bread or wheat. In fact, it's usually an adverse reaction that occurs inside the gut as a result of the over-processing and chemicals used in the transportation and storage of the grains and in the processing and preparation of the bread.
Until white bread and commercial wheat products came along, gluten-intolerance was an extremely rare condition, however these days it's every where, but most people have no idea what really causes it.
You don't need to give up bread...
When you have a healthy gut flora, you will not suffer from gluten intolerance. The secret is to heal your gut first by detoxing your digestive system, and rebuilding the micro-biome with fermented, cultured foods, and then these types of intolerances will be a thing of the past.
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain bread has been a healthy food staple for long-lived cultures for centuries. Bread used to be made from organically grown wheat, ground into flour and baked without any unnecessary additives or processing.
Today, products labeled “whole grain” are made with the complete grain kernel, which contains the whole fibres and wheat germ which is where all of the nutritional benefit lies.
“Cracked wheat” is also made from the complete kernel, but be careful not to fall for wording like “100% wheat,” “multi-grain,” or the colour of the bread. Most “wheat bread” is almost identical to white bread except that caramel colouring has been added to make it look more natural. Make sure to read the label and watch for any sneakily added vegetable oils or added sugar too.
Try to avoid super market bread altogether.
Instead, look for a local baker in your city or town who specialises in stone ground organic whole grain bread. If you're used to only eating white bread it may take you a little while to get used to eating "real" bread, but pretty soon you'll be hooked!
Whole grain bread should be an important part of a balanced diet.
It won't just fill you up so that you feel less hungry, it's choc full of the fibres and nutrients your body needs to function well.
Whole grain breads are also a great source of:
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin E
- Calcium... and more.
They also contains much needed protein, healthy fat, and plant prebiotics to help good bacteria and build a healthy gut.
Other benefits of whole grain breads include:
- Help to prevent Gallstones
- Protect from Heart Disease
- Sustained energy from complex carbohydrates
- Lowered cholesterol.
Learn more in 8 Tips for Healthy Blood Sugar Balance.
Other healthy breads to eat:
- Rye: unlike white bread, rye flour manages to retain a large quantity of nutrients since it is deficient to separate the germ and bran from the endosperm of rye. Rye is also a good source of fibre, and quickly makes you feel full and satiated.
- Barley: barley has for years been considered “heart medicine” thanks to its ability to reduce cholesterol levels. Barley has tons of important nutrients, fibre, minerals, and can help fight cancer.
- Pumpernickel: pumpernickel is also a great source of fibre, iron, thiamine, and lignans, which help prevent breast and prostate cancer.
- Sourdough: thanks to the fermentation process of making sourdough bread, it’s actually wonderful for your digestive system. It’s also easier for your body to digest, and won’t spike blood sugar levels.
Bread is to be enjoyed and should be a part of your regular diet, but it’s important to choose the healthiest breads to eat.
Eating whole grain bread will help you to maintain energy and vitality, keep your digestive system strong and avoid illness and disease. They're all good enough reasons to eat your "healthy" daily bread.
Tolman Self Care.