I had a friend who lost 14 pounds recently and was really proud about it (as you might imagine). I jokingly asked her â€œwhat was your secret?â€.
â€œIt was simpleâ€, she said, â€œI just stopped eating breadâ€.
This would normally surprise people because bread is considered sacred in our society. It is even closely associated with many cultures’ heritages and beliefs. Yet bread is not the best source of nutrients and it has been known for some time in the scientific community that bread makes you fatÂ and is not among the best foods for weight loss.
Bread is wrongly placed at the bottom of our food pyramid which gets passed around all our schools despite many respected health professionals claiming bread and other sources of grains are unnecessary and potentially harmful. Here are some alarming facts about bread.
1. Whole Grain Bread Can Spike Blood Sugar Levels More Than A Snickers Bar
Whole grain bread does not actually have whole grains in it. Flour is formed in a process where grains are broken down into a powder form like flour. Â Since it is in a powder form, the body can rapidly digest the bread and let it enter the bloodstream as glucose. This raises the fat-producing hormone known as insulin. Whole grain bread even has a higher G.I (Glycemic Index) score than most candy bars such as snickers.
When blood sugar goes up quickly, it can actually come crashing down just as fast causing us to get desperately hungry. This causes a perpetual cycle of eating, getting hungry then eating again. Â This is the downside of an the high carbohydrate diet that many misinformed authorities try to peddle us.
As a resolution of this cycle, some scientists suggest eating a carb-restricted diet if a person suffers from diabetes or if they are overweight.
Conclusion: Since the whole grains in the bread are broken down into a small refined powder, it is absorbed quickly by the body causing a spike in blood sugar levels. This why bread has such a high G.I score and it’s exactly why it scores higher than many candy bars.
2. Bread Has Lots of Gluten
The main ingredient in bread is generally wheat (although there are variations of bread). Wheat contains a protein called gluten. You may have heard of people being “celiac” or having â€œgluten intoleranceâ€. There is evidence to suggest that a significant percentage of the population is sensitive to gluten.
Gluten has glue-like properties which gives it that elastic qualities which allow you to stretch the material when you are baking or kneading bread (perfect for making cupcakes!).
Although gluten can be great for baking, studies show there many adverse effects including bloating, stool inconsistency, damage to the wall of the intestinal tract and tiredness.
Even more alarming is that gluten has been linked with schizophrenia and can be addictive as certain opiates.
Conclusion: Most bread contains gluten which can be harmful to your health. To find out if gluten is affecting you, simply remove it from your diet for 30 days and then reintroduce it. You should see a difference in your general mood. In many peoples’ experience, they report being less sluggish. Â If you’d like to do this, see our gluten free bread recipes.
3. Bread Contains Other Harmful Substances
If you ever looked at the ingredients listed on the back of a packet of bread, you may wonder if you need a degree in chemistry to work out what is in it. Most bread contains sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
This sugar, the grains and the many other substances will send your pancreas into overdrive when you swallow them. A lot of these chemicals are preservatives that can stay lodged in your stomach for years.
Conclusion: Most bread has sugar in it which causes your blood sugar to spike even higher. When your blood sugar goes up, your body has to compensate by storing that extra energy in the form of fat.
4. Bread is Low in Essential Nutrients
Even if we turn a blind eye to the problems with bread and focus on the nutrition, we are left disappointed. Bread is not as nutritious as other sources of food such as fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs or meat.
Even whole wheat grain bread is disappointing on the nutrition front. Not only is it low in nutrients, it also reduces the absorption of other real food. It does this for two reasons. First, the phytic acid found in whole wheat blocks minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium from being absorbed. Secondly, since gluten damages the intestinal lining, less nutrients are absorbed.
Grains do not even have all the essential amino acids that humans need for muscle building and maintenance (unlike bananas which are an excellent source of amino acids).
Conclusion: Bread was traditionally a poor man’s food and is not as nutritious as it is made out to be. In fact, the grains in bread block nutrient absorption in the body. Instead of focusing on bread for your primary meal, it would be more efficient to eat other foods.
5. Whole Wheat Raises Bad Cholesterol
In many studies, whole wheat bread has been found to increase the small dense LDL cholesterol by 60% over a 12 week period (Small dense LDL has been associated with heart disease).
Cholesterol is a controversial topic because of the myths surrounding fat. We are led to believe it is fat that causes “bad”Â cholesterol (another debatable topic) when in fact the culprit could well be wheat.
Bread is one of the most consumed products in the western world. It is everywhere you look. It is in burgers, sandwiches, wraps and bread rolls. We are often told that whole grain bread is the healthiest part of the day but this could not be further from the truth. Bread in general is just a poor source of nutrients when compared to fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.
The main problem with bread is the fact that wheat has undergone such a change in the last 50 years and our bodies have not adapted to it. Even though bread dominates whole shopping cart aisles, there are many good reasons not to pick it up at all.