At a time when 1 in 3 Americans are considered obese, the lid must be lifted on the cause of such a dangerous and ugly disease. The finger should be pointed squarely at white bread although it can also point to a whole myriad of other contributing culprits such as lack of exercise (caused by excessive TV, internet and gaming), the increase in processed foods, the contents of which are government subsidised making them cheap to produce and cheaper to sell, the pledge drive by the food industry to promote snacks as part of our required daily intake.
The history of white bread is a shady place. From its inception it was a dangerously unhealthy meal filler enjoyed by the well to do, but as its popularity grew and the working classes got a taste, bakers were faced with the need to reduce costs.
One way of doing so was to mix plaster of Paris into the dough. This gave it the white colour and appearance of white bread, but customers were to all intents and purposes eating the walls of their houses.
Of course, such a disgusting rouse wouldn’t be allowed to happen today, would it?
Well, you might be forgiven for thinking so but when you list the ingredients in the average white loaf it reveals some sinister element – sugar, high levels of sodium, white flour and ‘E’ numbers galore (preservatives, flavour enhancers, stabilisers), yeast and yeast extract (read as ‘mono-sodium glutamate’) – all of which have been approved by your good friends at the FDA and WHO and have also been consistently linked with an increase in diabetes, obesity and cancer.
[adsense]White bread is considered a high glycaemic index food which means it releases sugar into the blood stream quickly. Unless that sugar is burned off immediately it clings to areas of the body making them produce fat.
Foods like pizza, especially the deep dish variety, are heavy in white flour and that makes them a guilty looking suspect in the obesity war.
Who feels like going for a run after a 12” pizza with all the trimmings?
The truth is that most people will consume something like that while playing video games, watching TV or ‘Facebooking‘ and wash it down with a milkshake, sugary soda or a beer without thinking twice. This is where the damage is done because if the body remains at rest while the sugar from that meal is offloaded quickly into the bloodstream then it will rapidly gain weight through inactivity.
Another problem which is becoming more and more widespread is diabetes, and the fast release of sugar into the blood can lead to a tolerance of insulin which is a leading factor in type 2 diabetes.
The white collar community has seen an increase in obesity and diabetes cases with office workers snacking on fare from the nearby vending machine as well as take-out sandwiches which are sugar rich. Although many office clerks have gym subscriptions and avidly maintain a strict exercise regime, they are ultimately too late after work when the body has already assimilated sugar from their lunchtime meal; a bit like leaving the washing up for a few days and then expecting it to come clean without losing fingers to the scourer.
So what’s the solution?
For those addicted to bread there are whole grain options but you need to find organic loaves which contain no ‘E’ numbers or sugar. Try to avoid the ‘white stuff’ which equates to white flour, white rice, white potatoes, milk and refined sugar.
Studies carried out this year have proved that people consuming whole grain bread actually lost, on average, 1kg of body more than those on white bread.
White potatoes and white rice are particularly bad too because they contain high levels of starch which acts as a kind of ‘sugar glue’ in the body, helping it stick in areas where it shouldn’t. Brown rice and brown bread are much safer alternatives.
It is better to avoid all bread completely and instead get your carbohydrates from fruit and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, apples and bananas, as well as healthy fats from avocados, nuts and seeds. Essentials like iron can be garnered from delicious mangos or healthy green spinach (both best eaten raw) and for vitamin B12 there is always the option to not wash your vegetables completely (soil is a great source of the tiny amount of B12 the body needs) or indulge in some seaweed such kelp, nori or dulce.
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images: vendingmachinegroup.com, en.wikipedia.com, diabetespharmacist.com, mediachemistry.com, food.lizsteinberg.com, superstock.com