We have been told that foods made of complex carbohydrates are much better and healthier, because they contain a lot of vitamins, minerals and are also a good source of fibre. This is partially true, but when it comes to bread, the reality is not that clear. White bread is considered the villain in this story, while whole wheat bread is a superhero. But, things are not so black and white. They are almost the same!
Understanding our bread
Most bread is made from either white (simple carbohydrates) or whole grain (complex carbohydrates) flour and both come from wheat. The first one is digested quickly and released into the bloodstream, provoking a spike in blood glucose level, because of its high Glycemic Index (GI), followed by a rapid release of insulin from the pancreas.
However, complex carbohydrates normally contain low GI and they are released slowly into the bloodstream. But even with this slower release, the impact on blood sugar levels will be almost the same causing a huge spike. Probably not as fast as it happens after simple carbohydrates are digested.
But what is the Glycemic Index 9 GI) ?
GI is a number from 0 to 100. It is assigned to a food that indicates how fast the body converts carbohydrates in that particular food into glucose. 55 or less is low GI, 56 to 69 is mid-range and higher than 70 is high GI. Thus, it seems like a better option to eat low GI food. But, there is another element to take in consideration, the Glycemic Load (GL). If the Glycemix Index measures carbohydrate quality, the Glycemix Load focuses on the amount (quantity) of a carbohydrate in a particular food. And again, the lower the number in GL, the better. Low GL is less than 10 points, medium between 11-19 and high over 20. My next post will be on how to understand GI vs GL.
One more time. Yes, both white and whole grain bread are made from wheat. However, for years and years, the population has been bombarded with a unique message: “Avoid simple carbohydrates bread and choose whole grain bread instead”.
Any healthy option?
Is bread made of whole wheat a healthier option? No! At least, not from a blood sugar level point of view, because any type of carbohydrate in bread will raise blood sugar level due to the complex carbohydrate in grains called Amylopectin A. Yes, Amylopectin A is in whole grain bread too. However, there is not a lot of available literature around and even if you look, you will only find the ingrained myth: avoid simple carbohydrate bread and go for complex carbohydrate bread.
Amylopectin A is efficiently digested by the salivary and stomach enzyme amylase. It means that amylopectin A is rapidly converted to glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream, provoking a spike in blood sugar levels. The infamous and unsuspecting silent killer spike. Therefore, a diet very rich in whole wheat bread can potentially lead to diabetes type 2, high blood sugars, heart disease or weight gain.
Other grains and wheat
What about other grains? Are they the same like wheat? Are they healthier or they also contain amylopectin A? Unfortunately and against the common myth, most of them are close cousins.
If you would like to experience the benefits of diet free from all grains, banish them gradually from your life and you will witness an unexpected weight loss and dramatic improvement in your health.