Is White Bread Actually THAT Bad For You?
My biggest concern for clients is getting them the outcome they so desire. Fat loss. A healthier lifestyle. Strategies for keeping a clients beloved cheese and wine in their diet without wrecking the first two goals.
Diet adherence can only really work if someone can enjoy the food and drink they consume for a very extended period of time. If you tell the client who loves a few drinks on the weekend to completely remove said entities from their life – an automatic barrier goes up and probably an unpleasant finger wagging my way.
I have failed to listen to the client’s needs and desires.
But what about if we take the same person and substituted out higher calorie drinks for lower calorie drinks? Say – five pints for a couple of glasses of wine or gin and slim? The client can still enjoy a drink or two without over spilling energy input.
Apples for bananas.
Courgette spaghetti for spaghetti.
Diet Coke for Coke.
Brown bread for white bread? What if a client really likes white bread and doesn’t want to give it up? Is it really that important?
Let’s take a look.
Are whole grains better for you?
Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel with minimal processing, as opposed to refined grains which are milled to remove the bran and germ to help improve the shelf life of the product.
So when something is refined - something has to give.
When you refine a grain you lose a lot of nutrients, B vitamins and fibre. Compare this to the untouched whole grain which takes longer to digest, helps you feel fuller for longer, gives you an increased fibre intake which is important for digestion and health. Plus tonnes more vitamins and minerals and anti-oxidants.
So yeah – in a straight contest, whole grains win hands down. Especially from a health perspective:
“individuals with higher levels […] of whole-grain intake have a 29 % lower risk for ASCVD (atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease) than individuals with lower levels (lowest quintile) of whole-grain intake... Generous intake of whole grains also provides protection from development of diabetes and obesity. Diets rich in wholegrain foods tend to decrease serum LDL-cholesterol and triacylglycerol levels as well as blood pressure while increasing serum HDL-cholesterol levels...”
We can’t deny that opting for whole grains are probably more beneficial for health over an extended period of time.
So you probably should look to favour brown bread over white bread.
But let's not forget that there’s no such thing as a bad food, but very much a thing as a bad diet.
If you pack a boat load of whole grain foods into your diet, but eat too much anyway, neglect exercise, avoid vegetables, smoke, drink a lot, you've still got an unhealthy lifestyle and diet regardless.
If you enjoy your sandwiches but cannot stand the taste or texture of brown bread then so be it. Have the white bread option. But ensure your calorie intake is on point if you want to shift some weigh. That you eat 5-10 portions of fruit and veg per day, you sleep well, you drink enough water, and I'll be a happy coach.
But as per the study above – there is an association with whole grain intake and improved protection to diseases and improved health markers.
In other words – if you eat brown bread you will be more likely to follow healthier habits and thus a healthier lifestyle.
Habits follow more healthy habits. Just like unhealthy habits will follow more unhealthy habits.
Ultimately, something like a serving of white versus brown bread is modest, albeit a slightly different carbohydrate to protein ratio (negligible to even mention.) As long as you are hitting the basics then you’re doing well.
But I would pretty much guarantee that changing your habits, like the colour of bread you eat, will start a positive spiral that will spill into your whole dietary and lifestyle outlook.
For more bread based battles head over to: