Bread is the most widely consumed food in the world. It is a staple food for most of the population and an important source of energy. Even so, this essential food gets a bad rap. Some people claim it makes them fat.
Why do people become overweight?
Harvard Medical School believes excess calories, genes and environmental factors all contribute to weight gain. It is absolutely not true that there are “bad” foods that contribute to weight gain and they suggest stress contributes to weight gain. When we experience stress, we eat irregularly and mess with our hunger signals. We develop unhealthy eating patterns.
Healthy eating pattern
Dietary Guidelines for Americans tell us that a healthy eating pattern includes all foods and beverages at appropriate caloric levels.
Guidelines include grain, the key ingredient in bread, as a component of a healthy eating pattern. Our eating goals should be to incorporate foods that fit our culture preference and to consume a variety of foods which are nutrient dense. Dietary guidelines recommend that at least half of the grains consumed, be whole grains which are nutrient dense, high in fiber and help with weight management.
Bread is not bad for health and studies show that it is actually beneficial for our health. In fact, even with a decline in consumption, obesity has increased. The Bread Initiative sent out a press release in 2016 providing further information about the decline in consumption on bread.
- Bread consumption in Europe dropped from 67 kg (2004) to 63 kg (2016) per capita
- During that same time period, the prevalence of obesity (BMI ⩾30 kg/m2) has tripled in many countries of the European Region.
In an effort to find out if bread really does make you fat, BAKERPedia’s Dr. Lin Carson took the Great 90 Day Bread Eating Challenge. Her faith in bread as part of a healthy diet is so strong, that she took this challenge with the goal of not gaining a single pound!
The outcome was that Dr. Carson did not gain weight. Her success is linked to the variety of breads consumed: pizza, steamed buns, whole wheat bread, raisin bread, bagels and more, keeping to a strict caloric consumption and a healthy lifestyle. She also said that regularly consuming bread helped her fight cravings and maintain 30 minutes light exercise everyday.
Dr. Carson was successful at making a variety of breads part of her healthy eating plan. You can learn more about her journey and the breads that she ate at EatBread90.com.