A Nutritionist Revealed The Frightening Impact That Eating Bread For Breakfast Has On The Body

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Bread has gotten a bad press of late with the rise of alternative lifestyles such as the keto and Atkins diets. After all, these popular diet plans ask weight-conscious participants to radically restrict their consumption of carbohydrates. But in 2019 a Japanese nutritionist gave what could possibly be the most damning reason yet for skipping bread for breakfast. So how bad is bread for you, really?

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And if bread is going to be off the menu first thing in the morning, what does this mean for Americans? Well, if a recent poll is anything to go by, it could be very bad news indeed. You see, according to the New York Post, the majority of U.S. citizens rate breakfast – and the bread that comes with it – as their favorite meal of the day.

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These conclusions were reached after OnePoll consulted 2,000 Americans about their views on breakfast. And the results showed that your regular Joe will consume a “second breakfast” on average about once every seven days. Plus, 62 percent of respondents claimed that “second breakfast” should be considered a proper meal anyway.

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According to the poll, popular items on breakfast tables across the land include doughnuts, oatmeal, cereal and pancakes. Unsurprisingly, too, bread ranked highly among America’s most-desired breakfast foods. In fact, toast came behind only eggs and sausage in the overall popularity chart. What’s more, breakfast food as a whole was voted the States’ favourite “genre of food,” beating lunch and dinner.

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This was obviously good news for the poll’s sponsor, Dave’s Killer Bread. Brand manager Cristina Watson told the New York Post, “Second Breakfast, and especially toast packed with whole grains, protein and fiber, can be your secret weapon.” But then someone who sells bread for a living would say that, wouldn’t they?

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So is bread a healthy option for breakfast or not? Well, we’ll have to look at more balanced sources to get to the bottom of this. For instance, Terese Scollard – a regional clinical nutrition manager – gave a revealing answer to this question on the Providence Nutrition Services’ website.

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Yes, Scollard argued, “Bread is practically the seed of all civilization.” And the case she put forward is pretty convincing. For the expert explained that the discovery of bread – or, more specifically, the grains that it is made with – contributed to our ancestors transitioning away from nomadic lifestyles.

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Now, this was a good thing because those early peoples could plant and cultivate their own sources of food. And that meant they no longer had to rely on hunting and gathering and could – literally – put down some roots. So in this way, bread seemingly became the cornerstone of many civilizations across the planet.

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But of course, when our ancestors made that first loaf of bread, they were using whole grains. That means their bread would have been pretty darn good for them, according to the experts. Harvard’s The Nutrition Source, for instance, claims that food made from whole grains are among “the healthiest sources of carbohydrates.”

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Why is this? Again, according to The Nutrition Source, whole grains are among a group of carbs that “promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fiber and a host of important phytonutrients.” So the next time you’re considering buying bread, it could be worth checking to see if whole grains are listed at the top of the ingredients list.

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Yet if you’re buying white bread, you’re unlikely to find whole grains listed among the ingredients at all. And according to Scollard, the preference for white bread in some parts of the world began in early 1900s America. That’s when, the expert said, the elite classes started showing a preference for the refined white loaf.

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This caused demand for white bread to dramatically increase, according to Scollard. As a result, bakers across the land were forced to find quick ways to make their breads the desired color. Yet this process involved ridding the grains of the hulls and bran that makes whole-grain bread so nutritious. And people didn’t figure this out until later.

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In the meantime, Scollard said, laborers who relied on the humble white loaf for a satisfying meal weren’t getting enough nutrition. And while the government eventually brought in laws to require bakers to fortify their loaves, white bread is still lacking in the fiber provided by its whole-grain counterpart.

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So it seems that there are two factors to consider when hoping to get the best out of bread. The first, as we’ve already explored, is selecting bread made with whole grains. Specifically, Scollard suggests finding a loaf that offers no less than three grams of fiber per portion.

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The other thing to bear in mind is just how much bread you’re eating. As with pretty much everything, you see, it’s best not to go overboard with your bread intake. Because although the occasional slice of white bread will do you no harm, constantly gorging on, say, excessive portions of garlic bread with something like pasta, will potentially affect your health.

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You see, that amount of calories and grains vastly exceeds the demands of your body. So the extra energy will just end up getting stored as fat. And that situation can lead to gaining weight and even problems with diabetes or the heart. But how can having bread specifically for breakfast impact on your health?

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Well, there are a few factors to take into account. If you already suffer from type 2 diabetes, for instance, you will know that you should be avoiding foods with a high glycemic index (GI). For those who don’t know, high GI food items will cause a fast spike in blood sugar levels.

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And foods with a GI score of less than or equal to 55 are considered low, meaning they take longer to digest and metabolize. These are generally considered better and healthier for blood sugar levels. Yet you might not be surprised to learn that food created with refined grains generally score pretty highly on the GI scale.

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In fact, white bread scores a hefty 71 (out of 100) on the GI scoreboard. This is in the same ballpark as white rice, cornflakes and instant porridge oats. So eating these kinds of foods at breakfast will inevitably lead to a quick hit of glucose – and a rise in blood sugar levels. That’s okay for an athlete out on a run, but not so good for someone with diabetes.

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Interestingly, though, Harvard Medical School points out that specialty grain bread scores only 53 on the GI scale. So if you just have to have bread for breakfast, it seems best to go with the whole-grain option. But there are other dangers of consuming white bread that people need to be aware of.

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As mentioned earlier, Scollard recommends eating bread with at least three grams of fiber per portion. This is likely because consuming more fiber normally leads to feeling more satisfied and less hungry. It’s also better for the gut during digestion. Yet eating white bread – with its relatively lacking nutritional profile – has been linked to people gaining weight.

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Or, as Heather Bauer – co-writer behind Bread is the Devil: Win the Weight Loss Battle by Taking Control of Your Diet Demons – told WebMD, “The more you eat bread, the more you want.” Again, this could be because the spikes in blood sugar associated with white bread – and other high-GI foods – can leave people feeling hungrier more often.

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And if you’re hungry throughout the day, you’re probably more likely to snack. Yet too much snacking – particularly on unhealthy foods – can lead to unwanted weight gain.As you’ll likely know, this additional weight will cause its own problems. Not least among these is the increased risk of developing cancer.

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In fact, according to Cancer Research UK, obesity can lead to 13 different types of cancer. And the charity also states that one in every 20 cancer cases could have been averted through healthier lifestyles. This is arguably significant for Americans, as obesity levels are currently high.

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Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that around 42 percent of Americans were suffering from obesity in 2017-18. To go further back, in 2008 the cumulative medical bill for the obesity of the nation cost around $147 billion, according to the CDC.

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So how does eating unhealthy food cause cancer? Well, Cancer Research UK states that the extra fat stored by those with obesity is active. You see, this fat will cause more hormones to grow and make a body’s cells multiply more frequently. And it’s this situation that could result in cancer.

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Furthermore, Cancer Research UK even identified specific cancer types that could develop as a result of obesity. These include cancers of the pancreas, gallbladder and the food pipe, which are incredibly difficult to treat. Also, obesity can cause breast cancer – specifically in females who’ve been through the menopause. This is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers, too.

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To reach these conclusions, the charity relied upon “decades of research involving millions of people.” And the studies are apparently so comprehensive that it is certain that other potential explanations – such as random luck – can be ignored. So what does this mean for those of us who enjoy bread for breakfast?

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Well, as we’ve discussed, eating white bread can result in spikes in blood sugar levels that could result in weight gain. We’ve also heard that being able to control weight and blood sugar levels is vital in curbing the risk of developing obesity, diabetes and cancer. And in 2019 a Japanese nutritionist put this last factor under further scrutiny.

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Now, Hideo Makuuchi is a dietician who has authored such books as The People Who Eat Potatoes: The truth behind food products that have become “soft drugs.” And, as you can probably imagine after having read that title, Makuuchi has a pretty dim view on processed food, too.

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So, in 2019, Makuuchi found a link between his cancer patients and the food they ate. The dietician is uniquely placed to do this, as he is actually in charge of advising cancer sufferers on their diets. And the finding was shocking to say the least, revealing the extent people were prepared to go just to get something “quick and easy” to eat.

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At first, the nutritionist believed that breast cancer was the result of sufferers consuming excess amounts of fatty food. But according to the China Times, Makuuchi specified in 2019 that eight out of ten of his breast cancer patients would eat nothing but bread for breakfast.

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Furthermore, Makuuchi noted that this kind of food choice was connected to stress. Yes, he argued that the modern, fast-paced environment means that people are less likely to cook from scratch – and more likely to buy convenience foods. That includes bread – the go-to breakfast for the majority of his breast cancer patients.

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What’s more, the dietician claimed that another reason for this is that bread is addictive. The China Times even reported that the consumption of bread in the morning compels people to indulge in fatty, fried food later on. It will also, apparently, make you want desserts after meals. And, of course, neither of these things are good for weight control.

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But Makuuchi appears to argue that this desire to eat fatty foods – caused by consuming bread for breakfast – only further adds to the “stress diet,” too. And it could also result in people feeling more irritated or down – therefore more likely to eat additional fatty food. As a result, people could easily get trapped in a kind of cycle.

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One solution, according to the dietician, is to simply choose to live a healthier lifestyle. And the advice in the China Times is to avoid bread for breakfast and instead go for rice, eggs or more fruit. Just like choosing whole-grain bread over white bread, these foods will aid with digestive health.

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Yet although the China Times claims that Makuuchi based his findings on “years of observation and research,” you probably don’t need to throw away all your bread just yet. After all, Cancer Research UK stated, “There are some foods that are directly linked to cancer, but our overall diet is more important than these individually.”

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And while obesity has a major impact on your health, other factors can result in cancer, too. Chief among these is smoking, which Cancer Research UK calls “the biggest preventable cause of cancer.” Further lifestyle choices that help reduce the risk of cancer include keeping active, steering clear of sunbeds and decreasing alcohol intake.

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In any case, the American Cancer Society agrees that obesity is a major cause of cancer. But again, the organization advises that people take steps to ensure they don’t become overweight – rather than avoid bread altogether. So perhaps it’s just a matter of being careful with what you eat.

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You could, as mentioned earlier, choose your bread wisely, too. This could mean opting for whole-grain options – or simply enjoying that tempting white loaf only every once in a while. But whatever you do, one thing seems clear: a healthy diet overall is best to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

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