It Turns Out White Bread May Not Be So Bad For You After All

This changes everything!

white bread
Image: @natalie_roser

“On wholemeal, please!” By now, these words probably automatically pop out of your mouth when the waiter asks what kind of bread you’d like your smashed avo on. Or by default, you beeline for the brown bread at the supermarket when you do your grocery shopping. Because, the alternative — white bread— is terrible for you, right? Well, according to new research from the Weizmann Institute of Science — maybe not.


Yep, it turns out everything we thought we knew about white bread is wrong. Conventional wisdom has always been that it spikes your blood sugar like crazy (which can leave you feeling crappy and contribute to weight gain), while wholemeal doesn’t. But the new research shows that our reaction to bread — whether white or brown — is quite a personal thing.

The study, published in Cell Metabolism, monitored people who ate traditional supermarket white bread and people who ate artisanal whole-wheat sourdough. Surprisingly, half of the participants had higher blood sugar immediately after eating the white bread, while the other other half had higher blood sugar after eating the whole-wheat. Meanwhile, other factors like levels of fat, cholesterol and essential minerals like calcium stayed the same.

From these results, the scientists reached the conclusion that different people’s glycemic indexes react differently to white bread, due to the unique microbes in our guts. So, while white bread may spike your friend’s blood sugar, yours could be fine. The same can happen with brown or wholemeal bread, meaning that it’s not fundamentally better for you than white. The only real difference is that wholemeal tends to contain more fibre, so it’ll keep you full for longer.

As for how you can tell whether bread has made your blood sugar levels skyrocket? Well, if you have a headache, are struggling to concentrate or feel foggy, tired and cranky after your toast or sandwich, it’s pretty safe to say the bread is to blame. To help ward off the spike, it’s good idea to balance the carbs with fat and protein. So, your toast with smashed avo and eggs is a great option! Or, you could even make your own high-protein, low-carb bread, using this recipe from The Healthy Chef, Teresa Cutter.

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