Is eating bread bad for you when you are trying to lose weight?
Many people have asked us whether eating bread can hinder their weight loss. This blog post will explain the consumption of bread from a scientific point and practical point. Let’s first deconstruct the bread and start from the basics.
What is bread actually and what is comprised of
Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour and water, usually by baking. The primary nutrients in bread are carbohydrates.
There are myriads of bread on the marketplace but the two main types are:
- White bread (1 slice or 28 g has about 74 calories)
- Whole-grain bread (1 slice or 28g has about 69 calories)
White bread is made from refined flour and as a consequence is low on fiber. On the other hand, whole-grain bread is made from wheat that is high in fiber, vitamin B6, and E.
Usually, the whole-grain bread is more nutritious and healthier than white bread.
Scientific benefits of whole-grain bread
Many research studies have been conducted to prove that eating whole-grain bread is a usually wiser choice than eating white bread. Here are a few:
- In one Harvard study completed in 1994, people who ate high-fiber bread had fewer heart attacks and strokes than those who ate typical white bread.
- One research study from the University of Washington in 2003 proved that consuming whole-grain bread can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent.
So what are the main benefits of whole-grain bread? It’s the fiber. Remember fiber is your friend. Fiber can help you regulate your body’s use of sugars, helping to keep your hunger and your blood sugar in check.
Some practical advice when you are on your weight loss journey
Eating whole-grain bread is usually better than eating white bread. However, if you want to lose weight, you need to be mindful of the calories that you take in. Let’s say you have a lunch that is at about 400 calories. If you add 1 slice of whole-grain bread, you will be adding 69 on top of that. That’s only 1 slice. If you have two slices that is 138 calories just from the bread.
If you are adding bread to your every meal, calories will accumulate. So what is the practical solution? If you are someone who loves bread so much, try cutting back slowly on bread. Instead of having 2 slices of bread per meal, change to having only 1 slice per meal. Then, when you mastered that habit, try having a meal without bread.
Here is something to pay attention to. When you set your meal calorie threshold, you need to take into account the bread that you are taking with the meal. For example, if your main meal calorie threshold is 400 calories, then your main meal+ bread calorie intake needs to be within 400.
If you need to choose between white and whole-grain bread, choose whole-grain bread as it is more nutritious and contains a healthy dose of fiber.
Although whole-grain bread is better than white, it adds additional calories to your daily meals so you need to pay attention to how many calories/slices you take in just with your bread.
Cutting back on either white or whole-grain bread is usually a good idea if your goal is to lose weight.
Until next year,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,