Popular nutrition plans like Paleo, low-carb and gluten-free diets taught us that we could lose a lot of weight by cutting out bread. But for years – our doctors and other experts have maintained that bread is a vital part of the five main food groups and that we need several servings each day.
So what’s the truth about grains anyway? Is bread really fattening?
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How Bread Can Be Fattening
Just like with anything you put in your body: moderation is key. For this reason, bread can definitely be fattening if you eat too much of it – and unfortunately, that’s way too easy to do with the grain food group.
This is because when we’re hungry, our bodies crave carbohydrates to refuel quickly. But instead of reaching for carrot sticks or other healthy carbs, we tend to grab for bread products like crackers, pretzels, potato chips and other highly refined grains.
When bread or other grain products are refined, the majority of essential nutrients and fiber are often removed in the process. In their place, manufacturers add sugar, high fructose corn sugar and other ingredients that may make the products taste good – but they won’t be so good for your body.
Bread can also be fattening if you eat the wrong kind. In a recent study, researchers found that individuals on a low-calorie diet lost more belly fat when they incorporated healthy whole grains, as opposed to those who ate the same amount of calories but ingested white bread and white rice.
Recommended Grain Intake
Cutting too many carbs out of your diet can not only be psychologically difficult – it can end up causing more harm than good. Our body needs carbs for energy and when it doesn’t get enough of them – it starts to crave them for physiological reasons. This can quickly lead to overeating.
Keep your body fueled up by eating the proper amount of calories and incorporating the perfect amount of bread products. If you follow the average 2,000-calorie daily diet, then you should plan on ingesting about six servings of grains each day. This equates to about six ounces of grain group foods – but that doesn’t mean you should load up on pasta and bagels. Make healthy choices when it comes to bread products and other grains. It’s easy when you follow the tips listed below!
Simple Healthy Grain Suggestions
1) Choose Whole Wheat.
Look for bread that lists whole grain as the primary ingredient. Remember that just because something says “wheat” or “multi-grain” in its name doesn’t make it good for you.
Always flip the product over and scope out the ingredient list on the back. This is also the same reason you can’t shop simply based on color. Everyone knows white bread isn’t the best for you – but just because it’s brown doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Some food manufacturers add molasses and food dye to make refined bread appear to be darker.
2) Eat Smaller Portions
Bread gets a bad rap because people eat more of it than they actually need and large portions are usually to blame for this. Try substituting bagel thins or just one half of a regular whole grain bagel for your morning breakfast.
3) Fill up on Fiber
This will help you feel fuller longer, plus get more nutrients from your grain group foods. Look for whole-grain products with three grams of fiber or more per serving.
Conclusion: Is Bread Bad for You?
So is bread really fattening and something you should avoid in your daily diet? No – as long as you stick to the daily recommend amount and make smart choices when it comes to each serving.
Remember: it’s easier to stick to the suggested six servings each day than it is to cut them out entirely. Your body needs the fuel and depriving it can easily lead to overeating. However, if you must cut calories or carbs, reduce your portion size in each one-ounce serving. It can be as simple as cutting a bagel in half!
Eating the best kinds of bread is also crucial to fighting fat and preventing weight gain. Don’t pick bread products just because they’re brown or say “whole grain” in their name. Always read the product labels when grocery shopping and select items that list whole grains as the primary ingredient. It’s also important to pick products that contain fiber so you can get the most nutrients out of each serving.