Monday, February 21, 2011

Is Wholemeal Bread really better than White Bread?

Hi Guys, firstly sorry for not posting up anything last week. Was busy traveling and didn't get a chance to post up anything. Kinda burnt out from all the traveling and looking forward to having regular workout sessions again. Was away for Iron Maiden's concert in Singapore (which was awesome, although there were some sound problems) and later i was away at Fraser's for a seminar. My weight lifting routine came in real handy for the concert as i was standing near the front of the stage. The crowd got a little too excited and we were continuously being pushed everywhere and it was a challenge to stand still. One of my friends came out of the concert with a back ache. See... working out is important for everything... even rock concerts. My body probably didn't feel anything because it is used to the stress of lifting weights.

Through out the week i barely worked out and was eating loads of crap. So now that it is back to my good old routine, i hope to get back in shape as quickly as i can. This morning's workout was tough, but felt good to start the machine moving again. But yeah.. haven't been working out properly since CNY and there are some small bulges starting to show up so i'm on a mission to trim it back down.

Anyway, just the other day, i was buying bread from 7-11 and happened to compare the difference in calories between white bread and whole meal bread. Did you know that the difference is only a mere 11 calories for 2 slices of bread? That means 5.5 calories per slice of bed. Meaning that whole meal bread is just 11 calories less than white bread. If this is the case, is it worth the effort to eat whole meal bread or should you just switch back to white bread. After all, 11 calories seems hardly enough to throw your diet off course.

For me, putting on weight is not too much of an issue as i know how to balance my nutrition and activity level. When i feel like i am eating too much and gaining more fat, i make it a point to do some extra running or balance it back the next day by eating smaller meals.
So i choose white bread coz it just tastes better. But if you are trying to watch your diet, then you want to go for whole meal bread... not because its 11 calories less, but because it is more complex and takes longer to break down.

Let me explain. Though it is true that weight loss depends on calories in vs calories out, there are other factors to consider as well. One main factor is, how fast a particular carbohydrate is changed into sugar. As you may know, 1g of pure protein has 4 calories and so does 1g of pure carbohydrate. They both have the same amount of calories, yet protein is considered "belly friendly". The reason why people advocate a high protein low carb diet is because protein is more complex and takes longer to breakdown. Simple carbohydrates (like white bread) break down into sugar almost instantly, and if you are not going to be using that energy anytime soon, guess where it goes... yup, stored as fat. save it up for a rainy day. Complex carbohydrates (whole meal bread) on the other hand, take a longer time to breakdown and get converted into sugar. Because its a slower process, the amount of energy being released is also released slowly, reducing the chance of excess energy being stored away as fat.

Also, when you eat simple carbohydrates and sugar, your body releases insulin to regulate your blood sugar. Insulin is a storage hormone and because of this, you are more likely to store this unused energy as well. There are heaps of other reasons why protein aids weight loss, but we shall discuss that in another post. For now lets go back to our scenario of white bread vs whole meal bread.
So, with whole meal bread, it takes longer for it to break down into sugar, hence you get a more regulated release of insulin in the blood stream which ultimately means, less storage. Don't get me wrong, white bread is perfectly fine if you eat it and then go for an intense workout or help your friend to paint his house for the next 3 hours. But if you are just going to be sitting in front of your computer and do work, then whole meal bread will be a safer bet. Not just because of the 11 calories, but because of how quickly or slowly, it turns into sugar. All carbohydrates have what they call a glycemic index which indicates how quickly a particular food turns into sugar. The higher the index, the faster it turns into sugar. The lower the index, the longer it takes to turn into sugar. So whole meal bread not only has less calories but also a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Now before you swear off white bread completely, its also important to consider how much bread you eat. If you are only eating 2 slices of bread a day, then i would say, go ahead. knock yourself out and eat the white bread - unless you really really enjoy the taste of wholemeal bread. But if your diet is one loaf of bread a day, then you might want to stick with whole meal bread as it is healthier. But if its just 2 slices, i am pretty sure you could eat it and still get away with it.

So is whole meal bread really healthier? Well now that you know the facts from above, you can make a better decision. It really depends on you and how much you are eating. So consider all these facts before making a decision. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.

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mata coklatbiru said...

hey rajan...

im sure you were having a lot of fun during your vacation.
anyway, regarding your entry, u know what, i never thought of checking the fat labels at the breads bfore buying it.
usually, i just check the expired date and that's it.
and yeah, i usually bought the white bread and after read this, i was thinking to have a wholemeal bread.

well, let's see how's it work. :)

thanks for telling us bout this Rajan, as u know, some might aware bout this, some are not. :)

Rajan said...

Mata Coklat Biru: If you are not eating much bread, then its OK. No problem. But if you are, then worth it to consider the switch lah.

Anyway let me know how it goes ya.

mata coklatbiru said...

i usually have french toast, spread marmalade with no butter, or i just eat it simply as that.

give me 2 weeks, and i will try both and see how it goes.
im sure there is sightly difference between white and wholemeal.
its not about the taste or the texture of the bread, but its about how well i can consume the energy from both breads.

p/s: somehow i wonder if bread is consider as good breakfast or not. not in term of how we prepare it, but is it give us enough energy until we can have our lunch at 12 or 1.
usually, i saw some people eat tuna sandwich, ham sandwich and egg sandwich for breakfast.
after 10,they will find something to munch, usually candy bar is their choice.
then, at noon, they will have rice and oily dishes.
so, Rajan, what do you think?
do breads good for breakfast?

Rajan said...

Mata Coklat Biru: Is it a good breakfast? Yes it is.

Now if you are worried about getting hungry between breakfast and lunch, why not take an apple or banana with you to work and snack on that at about 10am. This way you keep yourself full and avoid starving yourself for too long.

So eat your sandwich for breakfast, and take an apple or banana with you and snack on that. Also, this helps to ensure you don't binge eat during lunch. Many people feel so hungry by the time lunch comes, they usually over eat.

Ideally we should try to eat something every 3 hours... so with this tip, you get to do that.

mata coklatbiru said...

a brief explanation Rajan...
i understand perfectly.
well, i think i can tell my friends about this.
so, instead of candy bar, bring fruits along.

anyway, would you mind if i share your blog in my facebook?
just want to ask for your permission lah.
i think based on what i read from this blog, your blog is totally a good writing to help others, especially Malaysian.
with new campaign on tv to have a good health, definitely this blog will give a some help. :)

Rajan Rajadurai said...

Mata coklat biru: i have no problem with you sharing this blog on facebook. Please do share with everyone. Thats what this blog is for. To help as many people as possible.

FJ (폐징) said...

Oh... now I get it.. I'm still opting for wholemeal bread because I really think it's more yummy!! Thanks for the wonderful post!

James Parker said...

Yes. Can't agreed more with you Rajan. However, have you watched this video by Dr Oz? He talks about this Green coffee fat burner. You can view all his videos here

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