Bread. Enemy number one of the new years resolution and just about anyone you’ll encounter at the gym in a supplements singlet. But is there actually any grounding for such hatred towards the beloved carb? Nutrition coach Graeme Tomlinson doesn’t think so.
“When trying to manage one’s weight, assumption often leads one to remove bread from their diet, or at least replace heavily refined white bread with slightly less refined brown bread,” he explained in his latest Instagram post.
View this post on Instagram
“But as we can see, in terms of energy, there is no difference between white or brown bread. And whilst the latter contains more fibre (which may increase satiety – the feeling of fullness), one would be better placed to evaluate total ingredients consumed with said bread in order to determine a more holistic picture. Because bread is rarely consumed alone.”
Tomlinson believes that it’s the ingredients which we pair to the
culprit bread that equates to extra calories. He demonstrated this ideal by placing two slices of bread next to one another- 40g of brown bread and 40g of white bread. Enter peanut butter jelly time. On both slices Tomlinson adds a generous smearing of the spread and this immediately triples the total calorie count of both slices from 95 cal to 330 cal.
“Consequently, all of a sudden the debate is not about consumption of bread in the first instance, or it’s colour in the second,” says Tomlinson. As another example Tomlinson explains that simply adding 10g of butter to a slice of bread will cause the ‘bread’ to go from 95 cal to 180 cal, so is it really the bread’s fault? No.
“Though apparently insignificant, it is the butter that virtually doubles the calorie value of what we perceive as ‘bread’.”
The better way to perceive bread is by looking at it as a standalone food item or a single caloric variable. Based off Tomlinson’s graphic, peanut butter simple adds a second caloric variable and similarly a third for peanut butter. “And the latter two are inherently more calorie dense than bread,” he adds.
This calorie variable model is something that should be applied to any fitness freak’s diet rationale, according to the nutritionist with 403,000 followers. Understanding this should help people distance themselves from the unwarranted demonisation of foods which can be utilised as energy just like any other type.
“To catastrophise bread as a nutritional problem is to catastrophise a minuscule variable out of many. A calorie surplus over time results in weight gain, not bread.”
In a separate study from 2015 published by the National Institute of Health, researchers addressed the relationship between bread and weight gain. What they found was interesting and slightly goes against Tomlinson’s claim that there’s no difference white or brown bread.
“The results of the present review indicate that reducing white bread, but not whole-grain bread, consumption within a Mediterranean-style food pattern setting is associated with lower gains in weight and abdominal fat,” the study wrote. “It appears that the different composition between whole-grain bread and white bread varies in its effect on body weight and abdominal fat.”
What you can definitely take away from this though is the fact that it’s what we add to bread that affects our weight gain as opposed to just the bread itself. Keep the intake proportions balanced and your dieting journey might not need to be as painful as you think.