Archive for June, 2009

Why White Bread is Bad For You

Welcome back to Health, the blog that looks at the health of the human body from many different aspects. The last post looked at how the humble stinging nettle can be used in so many ways to improve your overall health and well being as well as its many healing properties that not all that many people know about.

This post takes us off on a different tack, looking at the hidden dangers of eating something that we’ve all come to believe is one of the most important staples in our diet. White bread. More to the point, I’ll be looking at why white bread is bad for you (see for more info).

You notice I didn’t just write “bread” there. I was quite specific about it being white bread. Why? Well, because that’s what most of us eat and that’s the variety of bread that is actually bad for us on plenty of levels. Its just that its one of those things that people don’t even think about. But ignorance can make you fat, sluggish, tired and into a hospital’s cardiac wing if you eat too much of the stuff. Let me tell you why that is.

First of all, from a dieter’s or slimmer’s point of view, white bread is simply empty calories that add a lot of extra weight in the form of stored fat. This is to be avoided, so white bread gets cut out of the diet altogether. So why does it add fat to your waistline and more importantly to your belly where it does the most harm?

White bread is made from refined white flour, which in itself has had all the goodness of the wheat removed in the refining process. What you’re left with then, is a bleached white powder that contains no nutrients or dietary fiber. What it does contain is bad HDL cholesterol, which gums up your arteries and can lead to coronary problems and strokes, plus a ton of high GI (Glycemic Index) carbohydrates. These send a rush of sugar into your bloodstream which is rapidly followed by a rush of insulin, produced by your body to counteract it. This sends your metabolism into free fall and it becomes slow and sluggish. This causes more fat to be stored than burned, so you gain weight.

The slowdown of your metabolism coupled with the imbalance in your blood sugar levels has other health problems attached. Lethargy and a feeling of tiredness are common, as well as feeling hungry again soon after eating, causing you to eat more and gain even more weight. It can also lead to type II diabetes, which can cause many other, knock-on health problems to manifest.

Ok, so what’s the alternative?

Simple. Brown bread, better known as wholemeal or whole wheat bread is still bread, but it contains the all-important nutrients and dietary fiber that the body needs to function normally. It also contains low GI carbohydrates that release sugars slowly into the bloodstream, so you don’t get that rush of insulin and you don’t feel hungry straight after eating it. It contains higher levels of good HDL cholesterol which is needed to balance out the bad LDL cholesterol and keep your arteries free from blockages and healthy.

Also of great importance is the fact that wholemeal bread contains plenty of dietary fiber. This is what your digestive system needs to help it complete the process and make waste elimination super efficient. Its kind to your colon and helps prevent problems associated with poor waste elimination, such as Crohne’s disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and colon cancer.

So if you want good health, make the switch to wholemeal bread (and pasta!) and your digestive system will thank you in more ways than you can imagine!