Most likely if you have ever tried to lose weight, one of the first things you did was cut back or eliminate bread from your diet. But is bread really the reason why people gain weight? Or is it possible that bread could help you actually lose weight? The answer may surprise you.
A Kernel of Truth
Not all bread is created equal. White bread made from refined grains is not the same as bread created with whole grains. Why?
The flour that goes into House of Bread’s bread comes from grain kernels, typically wheat. That grain kernel is composed of three parts: the bran, the endosperm and the germ. Anything that is whole grain has all three of these. However, the refined flour used in white bread has only the endosperm; the bran and the germ have been removed. When those two go, a whole host of nutrients go too—vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, protein and fiber.
Sure, some manufacturers put a few of those lost nutrients back into their white bread (those options are labeled “enriched”), but it isn’t the same health-wise as eating whole grain bread in the first place.
Too Much of a Good Thing
So whole wheat bread, because it contains more nutrients just may, according to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Copenhagen and reported in the Journal of Nutrition, help you actually lose weight. That research looked at people on a restricted calorie diet that included whole grains, like whole wheat bread, versus those who ate refined grains. The group that included whole grains in their diet lost more belly fat than the other group that ate white bread. Of course more studies need to be conducted to see if these results hold true.
However, the average adult only needs six ounces of grains a day, and one bagel can be anywhere from 3 to 5 ounces. So it is still very important to not go overboard in your bread consumption, even the whole grain variety.
Shopping for Bread
If you are trying to make the switch to whole grain products, and pay attention to your portion sizes, these tips may help:
- To ensure something is really made of whole grains, make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat, white whole wheat or whole oats.
- Some manufacturers add molasses or food coloring to make their bread darker. Don’t be fooled! Always check the ingredients.
- Whole grain bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving is the best option.
- Avoid anything containing vital wheat gluten. Commercial bread makers use this to speed up the bread making process, and it leads to an unnatural amount of gluten in the finished product —something our bodies simply can’t handle.
- Steer clear of high fructose corn syrup, too, which not only has zero nutritional value but also suppresses the hormone leptin, which gives us that full feeling.