Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Eating two or more daily servings of white bread can increase a person’s risk for obesity by 40%, according to a preliminary study presented at the 2014 European Congress on Obesity in Bulgaria. More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese and roughly another third are overweight, putting them at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

To evaluate the relationship between white bread consumption and obesity, researchers at the University of Navarra in Spain monitored the eating habits and weight of 9,267 Spanish university graduates over the course of five years.

The data showed that people whose only bread consumption came in the form of white bread and who consumed two or more portions a day of the bread were 40% more likely to become overweight or obese than people who ate less than one portion of white bread a week, with fully one-fifth of people who ate six or more slices of white bread every day becoming overweight or obese.

No link was found between eating only whole-grain bread or between eating a combination of both white and whole-grain bread and becoming overweight or obese — perhaps because of the types of carbohydrate and the fiber content in whole-grain bread, the researchers suggest.

“When you use refined flour for making bread, you lose the bran and the germ, and you lose essential nutritious components for the diet, such as vitamins. [Fiber] slows the absorption of sugars, but refined bread is almost like a bomb of sugar,” noted Martinez-Gonzalez. “The problem is similar to what we see with soft drinks, their sugars are rapidly transformed into fat [in] an organism,” he added.

The researchers recommended switching from white to whole-grain bread, particularly for people who are trying to lose weight.

Although the study showed an association between eating white bread and obesity, it did not establish cause and effect. Also, because the research has not yet been peer-reviewed, its findings should be considered preliminary.

For more information, read the article “Eating White Bread Can Increase Risk for Obesity By 40%.” And to learn more about managing your weight with diabetes, click here.

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