Getting a diabetes diagnosis can feel extremely defeating, especially when it comes to your diet. Many people assume that having diabetes means they have to give up all of the foods they love, especially carbohydrates. But what many don’t realize is that even something as carb-heavy and delicious as bread can be a regular part of your diet even if you have diabetes!
“Whether you are diabetic or not, I always recommend choosing a bread that is made with whole grain flour(s),” says Burak. “But beware, bread is one of the most confusing foods on the market.”
The benefits of whole grains
It’s often assumed that if someone is diabetic or pre-diabetic that they would need to avoid any type of carb or bread item. However, this simply isn’t true. While limiting your consumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars is important, eating whole grains can actually help if you have diabetes or are at risk.
In one recent study published in the British Medical Journal, it was discovered that a higher consumption of whole grains was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The whole grains in this study included whole grain bread, oats, cereals, brown rice, and wheat germ.
So where do these benefits come from? One of the main reasons whole grains are good for those with diabetes is their high fiber content. According to the CDC, fiber is helpful because your body can’t break it down and absorb it in the same way as it does with other foods, so it doesn’t lead to a sudden rise in your blood sugar.
Finding the right bread
Medical News Today also notes that while white rice and white bread is high on the glycemic index, whole grains are much lower. This essentially just means that whole grains impact your blood sugar much less.
According to Burak, there are a few main things you’ll want to look for when you’re navigating the grocery store in search of the best whole grain breads.
“Just glance down the bread aisle and you will see dozens of brands and varieties that can sit on the shelves for weeks without spoiling. That is the first red flag and why sprouted breads like Food for Life Ezekiel or fresh grainy bakery breads are ideal. They must be frozen quickly because they don’t have preservatives and other fillers like the ones in the bread aisle,” says Burak.
She also notes that certain brands may use misleading words on their packaging. “When navigating the bread aisle, take note that the deceiving words “made with whole grains” or “good source of whole grain” are simply for marketing and don’t mean much,” says Burak, “so flip over the bag and always check out the ingredients. If the first or second ingredient is whole wheat flour, oatmeal, whole grain cornmeal, or brown rice, you can be confident that the bread is in fact made with whole grains.”
At the end of the day, Burak wants readers to know that you don’t have to give up bread if it’s something you enjoy.
“I just want to say to anyone reading this, please incorporate bread into your diet if you love it. Do not be afraid of this wonderful food. It is one of the most basic foods, and although it’s been demonized, it has been around for thousands of years and if you pick a quality bread most of the time, it can be part of a healthy and delicious diet.”