Bread gets a bad reputation when it comes to diets, but is it deserved? Express.co.uk asks a nutritionist: Can you lose weight without giving up bread?
When it comes to losing weight, many people decide to swear themselves off carbs in a bid to slim down.
Bread tends to become enemy number one, but is that backed up by nutritional science?
Express.co.uk is joined by nutritionist Jenna Hope from Bertinet Bakery Sourdough to bust myths about bread.
Does bread make you gain weight?
On its own, bread doesn’t cause weight gain. But when designing a diet plan to lose weight you should look at how much protein, fat and carbohydrate you’re getting.
Bread is a carbohydrate, so if you want to enjoy some toast you may need to make sure you aren’t buttering it too heavily and adjust the rest of your meals that day to ensure you’re not eating too many calories or carbs.
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Jenna said: “Individual foods alone don’t cause weight gain.
“It’s about what you eat with bread rather than the bread itself.
“Choosing healthy toppings and sandwich fillings is important.
“High sugar, high saturated fat spreads and fillings can contribute to over consumption of energy content, so opt for those rich in protein and include a source of fruit or vegetables instead.”
Does cutting out bread help weight loss?
Weight loss isn’t as straightforward as completely cutting out one food and miraculously shedding the pounds.
If you enjoy bread, there’s no reason you should cut it out completely, but you might want to eat it in moderation.
Jenna said: “Bread is a source of carbohydrates which require water to be stored, so when we cut out carbs we merely lose water weight.
“Low levels of water in the body can actually contribute to fluid imbalance and dehydration.”
So, dramatic weight loss results after cutting out bread might be temporary – a result of losing water weight – or as a result of eating fewer calories over a longer period of time.
As a rule, any miracle diet claiming you can lose a dramatic amount of weight in a short amount of time should be looked at with suspicion.
The most successful weight loss plans focus on eating balanced, healthy, whole foods, introducing more exercise to your life and don’t claim to give results overnight.
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Do you need to cut out carbohydrates to lose weight?
It bears repeating – you should not attempt to cut out carbohydrates completely.
Carbohydrates are part of a healthy diet, and help keep you feel satisfied after a meal which can stop you from snacking on unhealthy foods.
When it comes to choosing carbohydrates, you should try to measure the amount of carbohydrates you eat each day, and choose nutritious carbohydrates.
Jenna said: “Carbohydrates are essential to a healthy diet – they play an important role in supporting energy production and hormone function.
“Carb-rich foods can contain fibre which is pivotal to supporting a healthy gut.”
Is gluten-free bread healthier for you?
Some people who are coeliac or gluten intolerant choose to eat gluten-free bread so they can still enjoy toast and sandwiches, without eating gluten.
However, gluten free bread isn’t necessarily lower in calories – if weight loss is your goal – or any more nutritious than regular bread.
Jenna said: “This is a common misconception – evidence suggests that those who remove gluten from their diet without a medical need (coeliac disease or an allergy) are at a greater risk of reduced gut diversity – having a rich variation of good bacteria in the gut is key to keeping it healthy.
“The bacteria produced through the fermentation process feeds the good bacteria in your gut, helping to promote a more diverse environment.
“Furthermore, many gluten free alternatives contain more artificial additives and sugars compared to their gluten containing counterparts.”