Bread, good or bad? Myself, I like bread, probably a little too much if I’m being honest. I mean it`s so convenient for a snack, like a quick sandwich or to compliment soup, it goes with so many things and before you know it, you’ve consumed slice after slice on a daily basis, not exactly helping the old waist-line either, but is it as healthy a we were lead to believe?
As a kid I was encouraged by both school teachers and parents alike to eat bread on the understanding that it would make me strong and healthy. The crust was supposed to make your hair curl, mine fell out, so that wasn’t true LOL, but as for being healthy, is that really true? Let’s take a look in detail.
A super-food? Absolutely not!
Nowadays there are many different types of bread, such as whole-grain, sweet breads, corn breads, flatbreads, sourdough, sprouted grain breads made with grains, soda bread, and so on, the list is endless, just look on the shelves next time you’re in the grocery store, so many varieties to choose from. Some are healthier than others.
Bread is and always has been a staple of the human diet. As kids we were brought up on the understanding it was a `super-food` a good and a necessary part of everyday life to become and stay healthy and strong.
After thousands of years, it remains the most regularly consumed food in the world, due to its cost, convenience, portability, nutrition, and taste. Even the laziest of people can easily throw a few sandwiches together for a snack, lunch or dinner. But how many people realize just how bad bread really is? Let`s take a look at some of the drawbacks with bread.
There are no benefits from bread
We have the understanding that anything “whole grain” is good for us. Not quite! It’s a marketing tactic. Money. Manipulation at its finest. From a nutritional point of view, even whole wheat or whole grain bread is mostly devoid of any kind of real nutrients. Replace bread with vegetables and fruits and you’ll get all the things bread promises to deliver, and at a higher concentration and without all of the negative side effects.
Breads are often “fortified” or “enriched” with vitamins and minerals. This means things like vitamin E, calcium, iron and fiber are added back into the bread after the ingredients have been so highly processed, they are stripped of their nutrients. As amazing as it is that science can do that, those vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are added back in are likely not even absorbed and utilized by our bodies, one of the reasons regular bread eaters tend to have large stomachs.
Bread is full of anti-nutrients
Lectins are toxins that are found in all grains and legumes. Like a mushroom that is poisonous, think of lectins as the grain’s natural defense that keeps predators away, or makes them sick upon eating too much of it. Since bread is made up of grain, you can bet it`s full of lectins. They wreak havoc on our gut, causing the stomach lining to become inflamed, making it difficult to absorb nutrients in the foods we eat. Phytates are another toxin found in grain that bind to certain nutrients-like iron, zinc, calcium and others-and can slow or inhibit your body’s ability to absorb those nutrients. So, all those nutrients in bread that are “fortified” and “enriched” you’re probably not even able to utilize them anyway.
Bread is mostly packed with junk!
Most breads at the grocery store have high fructose corn syrup in them. Yes, we’re talking bread here—not soda or candy bars. White bread, generic and Wonder, whole wheat, whole grain, ten grain, nut and seed—all of them have high fructose corn syrup. Read the ingredients on a few bread labels and you will be amazed not only at the sheer number of ingredients, but that HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is in many of them!
In addition to that, many also contain hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils-yes, trans fat-is in your bread! In that neutral safe house where your turkey and cheese live until your lunch break! That innocent sandwich may not be as innocent as it seems. The bakery goods can be tricky, also. Those fresh loaves of Italian and French breads, the fancy rolls that come in different shapes and sizes, these too are full of HFCS and damaged fats (sometimes it’s hard to tell since the ingredients are mostly unpronounceable). Keep it simple in plain English: Avoid!
Bread highly impacts your blood sugar
When you eat processed carbs, your blood sugar spikes, insulin surges, blood sugar crashes and you feel like sleeping, so you eat more carbs to bring yourself back up to consciousness. Next time you’re at the store, pick up the “healthiest” loaf of bread you see.
If we look at the nutrition facts on one of the top-ranking bread labels, it tells us there are 21g of carbohydrates in a serving, but a serving is one slice.
That means there are 42g of carbs in just the bread part of a standard sandwich, and those 42g of carbohydrates turn into 10.5 tsp. of sugar in your body. Ten and a half teaspoons of sugar! Your bloodstream is happy with 1 tsp of sugar, so we are talking about at least 10x that amount! Do yourself a favor and skip bread and try fruits and veg instead.
Eating bread causes inflammation
Just because someone is thin doesn’t mean they’re healthy. And just because someone isn’t overweight doesn’t mean their gut, their brain tissue, and blood vessels aren’t inflamed from the constant onslaught of processed carbs. We know that inflammation is the root cause of most health issues, so why would you want to put something into your body (several times a day even) that can make you sick? Especially when you can replace that something with vegetables and fruits, and not only avoid getting sick, but also be healthier because of it? We need to change our way of thinking.
What’s more, the bread we are eating is more than likely made with wheat and is, therefore, packed with gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and most digestive systems do not digest it well. Many people are sensitive to it even if their symptoms are not as aggressive or inflammatory as you may see in someone with Celiac Disease.
Your reaction to gluten may not manifest itself in your gut, but since gut health is intricately interconnected with overall health, your sensitivity may manifest through skin problems, muscle disorders, neurological (fibromyalgia), psychological (depression), and many other ways you may not have suspected.
One thing to remember is that you do not need to buy gluten-free products to avoid gluten. You likely do not need any of the gluten-free breads or cookies, and they usually taste worse than the original product anyways.
When it comes down to it, you don’t need bread. If you listen closely to your body, it will always tell you to choose the vegetables and fruits over the English muffin or bagel. “But I love peanut butter sandwiches!” Do you know what else loves peanut butter? Apples. Celery loves it too. Think outside of the box. Try giving up bread for one week and see how you feel.
Once you realize you can make it a week, try for a second week. Replace the bread with vegetables and fruits—lettuce wraps with tuna or chicken salad, a sweet potato with your dinner instead of the dinner roll and add a bunch of spinach to your eggs in the morning and skip the toast!
Seriously, there are other options and when you realize how much better you feel, you won’t be tempted to even think of eating bread again. It doesn’t hurt to give bread a miss for a few days and see how you feel. You may be pleasantly surprised! Might not be easy to start with, but it will be well worth it in the long run. Trust me ok?