As a longtime sufferer of stomach issues, I know how hard it is to avoid foods that leave me in pain. Sometimes it feels like a sneaky culprit could be hiding in every bite! I’m always on the lookout for things to avoid — and it turns out, white bread is one of the worst foods for people with sensitive stomachs like mine.
Why is white bread unhealthy?
I’ve always heard that we should stay away from white sandwich bread since it isn’t healthy, but I’d never really looked into why. After doing some research, it’s clear that white bread can cause a whole host of health issues!
For starters, most white sandwich bread we see on the grocery store shelves has been highly refined and enriched. This means the bread has several minerals and vitamins stripped during processing, to make it last longer. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the problem is that when those vitamins and minerals are added back in after processing, they’re often synthetic — like the potentially harmful additive cellulose gum. Not only that, but fiber can’t really be put back, which leads to possible digestion issues. The lack of fiber in highly processed bread can also lead to weight gain, an increased risk of diabetes, and even heart disease.
Both of those things — synthetic additives and lack a fiber — can can adversely affect your digestive health. “The nature of this type of bread damages the gut by causing inflammation and feeding bad bacteria, leading to gut dysbiosis,” Lisa Richards, certified nutritional coach, told SheFinds. Gut dysbiosis happens when the micro bacteria in your gut has an unhealthy imbalance, and can lead to unpleasant symptoms like bloating, bad breath, nausea, and fatigue.
Need another reason to stay away from white bread? A study from earlier this year showed that enriched bread can lead to hair loss.
What kind of bread is healthier?
Don’t worry, fellow carb-lovers! You don’t have to give up eating bread entirely. Whole grain bread, which keeps all of its important vitamins during the baking stage, is a much healthier option — and not just for those of us with sensitive stomachs. But if you do struggle with digestive issues, bread made from sprouted grains is the best choice. That’s because sprouted grains are easier for our stomachs to digest and absorb all the nutrients.
What to look for? If you find bread that lists “whole grains” as the first ingredient, you’re on the right track. That means the bread contains complex carbohydrates, and hasn’t been enriched and stripped of its natural nutrients.
Bottom line: If you want to avoid a stomachache, it’s best to leave white bread sitting on the shelf.