Whenever we talk about diet, we inevitably get to the question of bread. Is it good for you? Bad for you? Will it make you fat? Will it help your workout? Itís controversial because many people CRAVE bread and get very panicky at the thought of not being able to eat it. Unless youíve been living under a rock for the past 10 years youíve probably heard the message that highly processed white bread doesnít offer many health benefits. What surprises many people is that I donít consider whole-wheat or multi-grain bread to be that much better.
Certainly if you are struggling to lose weight, have any kind of blood
sugar issue, or have a gluten or wheat allergy, commercial bread in any
form should be avoided.
And while, yes, whole wheat bread has a lower glycemic
index than white bread I have seen many diabetic patients
who experience the same spike in blood sugar from eating
either type of bread. Not only that, but the blood sugar will
often raise to the same level it does after drinking a can of
regular soda! Whole wheat bread is still made out of flour
which turns very quickly into sugar. When your blood sugar
spikes, your body releases insulin (a primary fat-storing hormone)
to quickly lower your blood sugar to normal. But when your blood
sugar swings too low, you can end up with severe sugar/bread cravings and hunger.
Does whole wheat bread offer more nutrition than white bread? In theory it should. Whole wheat bread uses every part of the wheat berry including the outer bran layer, the endosperm layer, and the germ portion. These three layers contain B vitamins, vitamin E, some antioxidants, complex carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and protein. However, when it is milled into flour several chemical processes take place. The fats in the wheat start to oxidize, and many of the nutrients are lost within 72 hours of milling. So unless you are buying the wheat yourself, sprouting it, milling it at home, and baking with it within three days of milling, you probably arenít getting all the nutrition you think you are. Commercial bread factories combat this in white and wheat bread by adding synthetic forms of the nutrients lost to the flour after it is milled. This can be done in a powder form or a spray emulsion form. The spray form is ďstabilizedĒ by adding sugar to the mix (one of the reasons sugar shows up on your bread ingredient label). This same nutrient fortification process happens with pasta, cereal, and rice as well but with rice they actually shellac the rice after adding the nutrients by spraying it with an ethanol or isopropanol solution of zein, palmitic or stearic acid and abeitic acid.
I wonít delve deeply into the issue of gluten sensitivity in this post, but if you suspect you might be sensitive to gluten I would definitely do an elimination diet of at least three weeks where you cut out all gluten-containing grains (wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and kamut). Oat does not technically contain gluten but is often contaminated so look for oats that are certified gluten free. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity can include the following:
Abdominal Pain and Cramping
Alternating Bouts of Diarrhea and Constipation
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Depression, Anxiety and Irritability
Hair Loss (Alopecia)
Headaches and Migraines
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Mouth sores or mouth ulcers
Numbness or tingling in the patientís hands and feet
Peripheral Neuropathy (including either a tingling or sensation of swelling your toes & fingers)
Teeth and Gum Problems
Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies
Unexplained Weight loss
Article by Dr. Ilana Goldberg, D.C.