Eating bread isn’t as bad as one might think when the goal is to lose weight. Your bread choices and the amounts of bread you consume are what can make or break your weight loss goals.
Bread is a carbohydrate, but contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are dietary essentials and not a problem when eaten in moderation.
To Eat or Not to Eat Bread
The average slice of bread has about 100 calories. Make a sandwich and you’ve got 200 calories already, before you’ve even added any meats, spreads or other toppings.
So it’s easy to see how quickly the calories can add up when you eat bread on a regular basis. Sandwiches, after all, are so commonplace and you probably never even think about how eating all that bread adds up and what effect it has on your weight loss and maintenance efforts.
All that taken into consideration, bread doesn’t necessarily have to be removed from your diet completely. There are healthier options out there to help keep calories under control.
Whole grain bread is definitely near the top of the list, because it’s made from natural sources without the stripping and processing that white breads and so-called multigrain breads go through. In fact, multigrain bread sounds healthy when it’s really just another fancy way of describing processed bread.
Processed breads may last longer on the shelf and some people may even prefer their taste, but “100% whole grain” bread is better for you. Look for those words on the packaging and “100% whole wheat flour” as the first item on the ingredient label when you are purchasing bread at your local supermarket. Doing so will ensure that you are getting vitamin-, nutrient-, antioxidant- and fiber-rich bread that won’t just taste good, but will do your body good.
Carbohydrates are a necessary part of your overall diet. In fact, carbohydrates should make up about half of our daily caloric intake. Eating carbohydrates is usually seen as just a quick way to gain weight and boost your energy for the short term while spiking your blood sugar, but the key is to eat the right kinds of carbs and to eat them in moderation; you should go for complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grains whenever possible. Our bodies get much of the glucose, or sugar, we need from carbohydrates, so it’s true that they can affect our blood sugar levels.
However, the sugars in carbs provide the energy we need to function from day to day. Also, bread is filling and can actually curb some of your cravings. Whole grain bread is full of fiber, which is what provides that full effect, helps regulate your bowels and keeps blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the normal range. This fiber is missing in processed breads, as well as a healthy dose of nutrients, without which you are merely consuming empty calories and guaranteed to gain weight.
When weight loss is your goal, you shouldn’t exceed 2 slices of bread per day – even the healthy kinds of bread. This is because fewer calories are what make weight loss possible, but you don’t have to cut bread out entirely. Doubling up on the green, leafy vegetables and other high-fiber foods that have fewer calories (fat and sodium) than bread will help to accelerate your weight loss.
The more fiber you eat, the more water you will also need to consume to make sure that you don’t overdo it and get constipated or bloated. Also, don’t forget protein, which helps keep carbohydrate effects in check.