I grew up on white bread, as did many of us. I went on my first diet in fourth grade at the urging of my pediatrician. I immediately started to get familiar with calorie counts and total fat — though I ignored most of the other facts in the nutrition facts and didn’t go any deeper. Based on the nutrition labels below, which bread would I have chosen?
White Bread Nutrition: Whole-Wheat (WW) Bread Nutrition:
For someone who didn’t want to waste precious calories on bread, 60 versus 70 would have been plenty to convince me of the wonderfulness of white bread!
When I was younger, I put an even bigger emphasis on fat than I did calories – trying always to stick to my limit of 60 grams/day. This extra .45g would have also convinced me that the white bread was the obviously healthy choice. The amount of calcium and iron in the WW option would have felt negligible.
But, is white bread wonderful for my body? Is it wonderful for yours?
For most people, I would venture to say that white bread doesn’t have any benefits that outweigh the benefits of WW bread. The only group I would say this might be wrong for is for the gluten free among us — it also has gluten in it, but I’ve at least known some people who have been able to tolerate it when there are no gluten free choices at restaurants.
So, what is wrong with white bread if, according to the nutrition facts, it’s nearly on par with WW with regards to fat and calories?
Fiber rocks. Fiber can keep us fuller for longer. White bread is missing the fiber, which means that white bread’s calories turn into sugar really quickly and ups our insulin levels fast — and then, the drop. You feel fuller longer which WW bread, because the fiber takes longer to digest. This is a very good thing!
A good rule of thumb is that for every 50 calories (in bread), there should be 1 gram of fiber. A slice of bread, for example, that is 150 calories should also have 3 grams of fiber.
WW bread is a solid choice for most people. Sure, it might have 10 more calories, but that’s due to the added fiber and the fact that there’s almost DOUBLE the protein (which ALSO keeps you fuller longer)!
Calories are NOT in and of themselves bad — it depends on where the calories come from. And, just because something is low-calories does NOT mean that it’s healthy. Healthy food is healthy. Low-calorie food is low-calorie. The words are not interchangeable.
During all of my diets from 4th grade until my senior year of college, I took the low-calorie low-fat approach. I never kept off the weight I lost. My senior year of college, I ditched the white bread, I ditched refined sugar, I lost 100 pounds and I have kept it off for almost 6 years. I have white bread or white pasta roughly three times a year, I’d say.
Sure, WW bread did not tastes as good as white bread at first, but I got used to it. And, after months of eating WW bread,when I went back and tried white, it didn’t feel or taste right. I missed the richness of WW bread and pasta. I didn’t like the feeling of white bread stuck to the roof of my mouth.
I feel good when I eat whole grains and I feel slow and sluggish when I don’t. This is the way I feel I was meant to eat — what about you? Have you significantly changed any part of your diet that has made you feel better?