Whether bread is suitable for people with diabetes is a common question. Well, one can certainly enjoy bread if he eats it in moderation. Whole grain bread can be part of a healthy diabetic diet, unless your doctor recommends otherwise. Multigrain bread is also a good option for diabetes because it contains high levels of fiber, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
People with diabetes have a range of options for healthy bread choices that can help control blood sugar and maintain weight. The key is to select the right type of bread, taking into account carbohydrate, glycemic index and fiber content.
Types of bread
Despite its bad reputation in today’s health-conscious society, bread has been an essential part of the human diet for centuries. One of the oldest foods, bread, was created in the Neolithic period. It is a baked and leavened food made from basic ingredients such as flour, water and yeast.
Studies demonstrated that eating bread in moderation did not lead to weight gain. Instead, bread can be a source of essential vitamins and minerals and help provide the body with extra energy. The results suggest that two slices of whole-wheat bread can be added to a person’s daily diet, even if they have diabetes.
Today, bread comes in different types, shapes, sizes, and textures. Plus, there are endless combinations of different flours and ingredient proportions for making bread. ,,,
Which bread is good for diabetics?
White bread is made from refined all-purpose flour, which uses only the endosperm. Because it lacks bran and germ, white bread contains less fiber. The flour used is maida, or refined wheat flour, which is high in fat, GI and calories, making it unhealthy for people with diabetes. Additionally, the refined starch in white bread is a sugar substitute and disrupts blood sugar control.
gluten free bread
Gluten-free bread is an ideal choice for people with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and other wheat-related sensitivities. Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye and is absent from gluten-free bread. Also, if you have diabetes and suffer from any of these digestive issues, gluten-free bread is a more suitable option.
Be aware that some brands of gluten-free breads may have added sugar, fat, and salt to enhance their flavor. Therefore, it is essential to always consult the list of ingredients.
Whole wheat bread is suitable for people with diabetes as it helps regulate blood sugar. A to study showed that consuming 180g/day of this bread for three months reduced blood sugar levels, thanks to its fiber content. Additionally, it has a glycemic index (GI) of between 56 and 59, which has a moderate effect on blood sugar.
Whole wheat bread retains all of its essential nutrients, such as bran, germ and endosperm. The USDA indicates that a single slice of wheat bread provides 3g of dietary fibre, or 10% of the Daily Value.
Whole wheat bread generally contains fewer calories than white bread. Therefore, it may benefit those trying to lose or better manage their weight. However, the calorie and fiber content of different brands of whole wheat bread can vary.
Nutritionists recommend looking for labels that say 100% whole wheat to make sure they get all the health benefits. For people with diabetes, eating 100% whole wheat bread is generally healthier.
However, people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, or gastroparesis may find white bread the best option.
Whole wheat bread
Most people often think that brown bread and whole wheat bread are the same. However, they are quite different. Brown bread is a mixture of refined flour and whole wheat flour, with added ingredients like caramel for color. Brown bread does not contain the bran, endosperm and germ that whole grain bread does. Therefore, it is nutritionally inferior in vitamins, proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Brown bread may benefit diabetes when eaten in moderation. Whole wheat is the main ingredient in most brands of brown bread. It contains 80% whole wheat flour, with some refined flour fractions.
According to USDA given, a slice of brown bread provides 2 g of dietary fibre. However, it is essential to check the ingredients of brown bread before purchasing it to ensure that it is made from whole wheat.
High protein bread
High protein bread is made with the same components as protein powders. These ingredients include isolated whey protein, pea protein, soy protein, and egg white protein. Additionally, some brands use almond flour or chickpea flour.
High-protein bread is an excellent choice for people with diabetes who follow a plant-based diet. Additionally, it is ideal for competitive athletes with diabetes, as they generally have higher protein requirements than the general adult population.
The fermentation process of sourdough bread makes it anti-diabetic. Research shows that it is due to the microbial strain produced by the fermentation process. As a result, it is a better option for people with diabetes than traditional bread. Likewise, since pumpernickel bread uses a sourdough starter, it is also beneficial for people with diabetes.
Ezekiel bread is known for its low GI of 36, which makes it suitable for diabetes. It is rich in sprouted whole grains such as wheat, oats, barley and millet. Some brands of Ezekiel bread also contain sprouted legumes. The bread ingredients promote satisfaction and help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing them from rising too quickly.
Note from The Fitness Freak
Depending on the type of flour and other ingredients used, there are many varieties of bread. If you are diabetic, it is better to avoid white bread, which contains refined carbohydrates and opt for authentic wholemeal bread, wheat bread, Ezekiel bread, sourdough or even pumpernickel bread. The best solution for people with diabetes is to buy bread with high fiber flour, low GI and no added sugar.
How to make bread part of your diabetic diet?
When you incorporate bread into your diet, make sure it is part of a nutritious and balanced meal. If you eat bread, combine it with healthy fats and a lean source of protein. This can help regulate your blood sugar when you consume carbohydrates. Healthy options to pair with bread include avocado, eggs, nut butter, chicken, turkey, and fiber-rich vegetables.
Your glycemic response to bread consumption can vary greatly depending on your gender, weight, health status and age. Everyone is different and therefore carbohydrate intake should be individualized. Since not all carbs affect everyone equally, the HealthifyPRO Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) device can be a useful tool to help you make the best carb choices.
A continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM) can provide round-the-clock tracking of your blood sugar levels. One can use it to reveal how one’s body reacts to meals, daily activities, and other situations. For example, it can show how your blood sugar behaves when you eat wheat or multigrain bread or how white bread can affect your levels.
Bread can still be part of a diabetes-friendly diet, but it’s essential to be careful about the type of bread you choose. Opt for bread made with whole grains, such as wheat or multigrain, as opposed to maida or processed flour, which contains little or no nutritional value. Also, combine bread with a source of protein, such as eggs or vegetables, as this helps stabilize your blood sugar. The high fiber content of wheat-based bread or multigrain bread is also beneficial, as it helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
For more tips, consult a HealthifyMe nutritionist to determine the right serving size and how to incorporate bread into your meal plan.
Sources of support
1. Kourkouta, Lambrini & Koukourikos, & Iliadis, & Ouzounakis, & Monios, Alexandros & Tsaloglidou,. (2017). Bread and Health. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 5. 10.17265/2328-2150/2017.11.005.
2. Nazari, J., Yadegari, N., Khodam, S., Almasi-Hashian, A., & Amini, S. (2021). Effect of whole wheat bread consumption on FBS, HbA1c and blood lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 26(3), 269–274.
3. US Department of Agriculture data. Data Type: Brand | Food Category: Breads and buns | FDC ID: 542640 |
4. US Department of Agriculture data. Data Type: Brand | Food Category: Breads and buns | FDC ID: 2278024 |
5. Sivamaruthi BS, Kesika P, Prasanth MI, Chaiyasut C. A mini review on the antidiabetic properties of fermented foods. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1973. Published December 13, 2018. doi:10.3390/nu10121973