For years now, we’ve been told that bread is bad for our health. Thanks to its high carb content and lack of fiber, it’s one of those foods that can raise our blood sugar levels without offering any real health benefits. But according to a new study published in the British Medical Journal, bread may actually be healthier than you’d think…
Rather than doing direct testing, this study conducted a meta-analysis of over 40 different studies that involved bread. They examined all these studies to determine whether or not bread was healthy, and if so, what type of bread was good for you.
Their discovery: just 3 slices of whole wheat bread per day is great for your health. Not only will it lower your risk of heart disease (by up to 22%), but it can even reduce your mortality risk (chance of dying prematurely) by as much as 17%.
But what is it about the bread that’s so healthy? Certainly it’s not the carbs! You’d be right there. It’s not the carbs that make you healthy, it’s the dietary fiber. Whole wheat bread contains about 30 grams of fiber per slice, which is roughly what you’d get in a single serving of whole grains like brown rice, millet, or quinoa. With just 90 grams of fiber per day, you can improve your health and reduce your cardiovascular and mortality risk.
Here’s another interesting discovery: people who eat whole grains tend to make healthier diet and lifestyle choices. A surprisingly number of people who eat whole wheat bread instead of white bread smoked less, drank less, exercised more, and ate healthier than those who ate white bread. They also had a lower BMI and consumed fewer daily calories.
But it’s not just the fiber that makes whole grains healthy. You’ll find that most whole grains (including brown or whole wheat bread) contains a lot of zinc, iron, Vitamin E, B vitamins, and other important nutrients, all of which work together to promote a healthy body. White flour and refined grains, on the other hand, are completely lacking these nutrients, and they contain almost exclusively carbohydrates. This means they end up affecting your blood sugar levels without actually providing any nutritional value. No wonder it’s recommended that you avoid most refined grains!
Be warned: “healthy” whole wheat bread is a lot harder to find than you might think. If you buy sliced whole wheat bread from the supermarket, there’s a chance it’s simply bread made with white flour and enriched with wheat germ and bran. You’re going to have to be a smart shopping to find truly “whole wheat” bread, bread that is made with the complete grain of wheat, rather than bread that is made using the different components mixed together.
If possible, search for fresh-baked bread, such as large loaves that you slice yourself. These are the ones most likely cooked with whole wheat. They are going to be much heavier and thicker than regular wheat bread, but they are more likely to contain the wide balance of nutrients you want in your bread. They’re the ones that will provide the fiber you need to be healthy.
And whatever you do, try to stick with no more than 3 slices per day. Too many carbs can be bad for your weight loss efforts, even if the carbs are healthy and complex. Your goal should be to consume mostly fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, with only a few servings of whole grains mixed in. That’s the best way to see serious weight loss!