Bread is one of the oldest foods many people worldwide enjoy. In its most basic form, bread combines flour, water, a leavening agent, and salt. Some bread includes one or more add-ins, such as oil, butter, dried fruits, nuts, sweeteners, or spices to enhance the flavour.
These additions make bread more enjoyable to eat. However, bread is generally low in essential nutrients compared to whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Additionally, carbohydrates in bread are a concern for people with diabetes.
Many people with diabetes think they have to give up bread entirely. However, bread can be part of a healthy diet for diabetes, as long as it is the right kind and in moderation. But with so many different types of bread available on the market, it becomes hard to choose the best one.
Read ahead to learn more about the best bread for diabetes and what factors you should consider.
Which Bread is Good for Diabetics?
A bread with good fibre and protein but a low Glycemic Index and carbs is ideal for diabetes. Also, fibre helps lower bread’s impact on blood glucose levels. A study also shows that high dietary fibre intake reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
People with diabetes often look for ways to monitor their calorie and carbohydrate intake. One way to do this is by eating whole-grain bread instead of refined white bread.
Whole-grain bread is usually made with whole wheat or other whole-grain flour. It contains more fibre than refined flour and can help regulate blood sugar levels.
There is a common misconception that only gluten-free bread is always better for people with diabetes. However, this is seldom the case. Gluten-free bread can be just as unhealthy as regular bread if it contains other harmful ingredients. Therefore, check the ingredients list to ensure the bread is beneficial for people with diabetes.
Many brands of bread offer diabetes-friendly options. Here are some common bread choices suitable for diabetes:
Is Sourdough Bread Good for Diabetics
Research suggests that the fermentation process in food products reduces the glycemic response in people with diabetes.
For example, the fermentation process of sourdough bread lowers the GI score. As a result, it can have a better effect on blood sugar and insulin levels than either white or yeasted bread.
Fibre Enriched Whole Grain Bread
If you have diabetes, fibre-enriched whole-grain bread can be your go-to whole-grain bread.
Research says that soluble fibre slows down the rate of digestion and lowers the spike in blood glucose levels after consuming food. Hence, the glycemic index of a food falls when it gets enriched or fortified with fibre.
Fibre-enriched whole-grain bread is moderately high in carbs. Therefore, it is essential to consume it within limits.
Pumpernickel bread is coarse, slightly sweet, and heavy rye bread. It is one of the healthier bread made from sourdough starters and coarsely ground rye.
In addition, the fermented rye and lower GI value make pumpernickel bread ideal for diabetes. A study also notes that pumpernickel bread can be a valuable part of the diet for reducing postprandial glycemia.
Ezekiel bread is a type of sprouted bread. It includes a combination of sprouted legumes and grains, such as wheat, barley, millet, lentils, soybeans, spelt, and sometimes flax.
A study found that glucose response for sprouted-grain was lower than 11-grain, sourdough, and white bread.
The HealthifyMe Note
Bread is not necessarily off-limits for people with diabetes. It all depends on what is in the bread and its preparation method. The fibre-rich whole-grain bread, pumpernickel bread, or sourdough bread is ideal for anyone monitoring blood sugar levels. However, it would help if you also watched your portions. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that some types of bread are unsuitable for people with diabetes. White bread, for instance, has been stripped of nutrients and has a high glycemic index.
Benefits of Bread for Diabetes
All bread does not offer health benefits for people with diabetes. Also, choosing the right kind and the right portion size is vital.
Brown bread, pumpernickel, sourdough, and Ezekiel bread have the lowest carbs and the most fibre, contributing to better blood sugar stability. They also have low GI scores. Foods with a lower GI (55 and under) will be better options.
- Ezekiel bread: 36.
- Pumpernickel bread: 41-46.
- Sourdough wheat bread: 54
The dietary fibre in one slice of pumpernickel bread is about the same as ½ cup of brown rice. Having enough fibre creates a feeling of satiety, which helps curb overeating.
The saving grace of all these bread types is their lower glycemic index and high fibre. These two properties can ensure a lower impact on some people’s blood sugar levels. However, it is not the same for all. Many people still find that bread impacts their blood sugar levels too much.
Whether you eat bread or not, diabetes often causes wide-ranging blood sugar and insulin fluctuations. Continuous feedback on your blood glucose can help you make more informed decisions and tighter glycemic control.
The HealthifyPRO continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) takes glucose readings every few minutes. It alerts you when your glucose levels are out of the target range.
If you have diabetes or prediabetes, talk with a HealthifyMe nutritionist to help you develop a healthy-eating plan. They customise a plan to control blood sugar, manage weight, and lower heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
How to Choose Diabetes Friendly Bread?
When it comes to bread and diabetes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, as with all foods, you must monitor portion sizes to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Even a healthy 100% whole grain bread can impact blood sugar when eaten in excess. So, it is essential to be mindful of how much bread you consume.
Besides the portion size, here are some tips for choosing a bread suitable for diabetes:
Check the Ingredient List
The colour is never the most reliable indicator for bread made with whole grains. Not all brown bread is a complete whole-grain product. They may contain some whole wheat, but a significant portion will be processed grains. Therefore, check if the package says 100% whole grain or 100% whole wheat.
If the ingredient list has “wheat flour” or “enriched flour”, the bread contains white flour. The first ingredient should be whole-wheat flour, whole oats, or another grain with the word “whole” before it.
Avoid those bread with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavours. A study suggests that countries with higher availability of high fructose corn syrup have a 20% higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
Read Nutrition Facts Label
Be sure to check the fibre content. You should choose bread with at least 2-3 grams of fibre per slice. A good portion of fibre can help improve your glycemic response.
For the healthiest option, choose whole-grain bread with no more than 15-20 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories per slice.
Compare the Size of the Bread Slice
Bread slices come in a variety of sizes. A standard bread slice weighs nearly 30 grams and contains 15 grams of carbohydrates. So, look for an option that is closest to this amount. Some brands slice their bread thin to lower the carbohydrates per serving.
The HealthifyMe Note
“Made with whole grains” and “good source of whole grains” claims on food packaging are primarily for marketing purposes. Therefore, check the ingredients list. The first or second ingredient must be whole wheat flour, oatmeal, whole grain, or brown rice. Please note that the first ingredient listed is the most in terms of proportion. Similarly, check out the amount of sugar and other additives.
The right type of bread in moderate amounts can be a part of your diet. Therefore, it is essential to focus on the individual qualities and ingredients of the different bread types.
Look for bread that is high in fibre and low in sugar and GI score. In addition, make sure the first ingredient listed is a whole grain.
To conclude, it is best to avoid bread that contains refined carbohydrates, too many raisins or other dried fruit, as they raise blood sugar.
The Supporting Sources
1. McRae MP. Dietary Fibre Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med. 2018;17(1):44-53. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2017.11.002
2. Sivamaruthi BS, Kesika P, Prasanth MI, Chaiyasut C. A Mini Review on Antidiabetic Properties of Fermented Foods. Nutrients. 2018;10(12):1973. Published 2018 Dec 13. doi:10.3390/nu10121973
3. Chen C, Zeng Y, Xu J, et al. Therapeutic effects of soluble dietary fibre consumption on type 2 diabetes mellitus. Exp Ther Med. 2016;12(2):1232-1242. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3377
4. Jenkins DJ, Wolever TM, Jenkins AL, et al. Low glycemic response to traditionally processed wheat and rye products: bulgur and pumpernickel bread. Am J Clin Nutr. 1986;43(4):516-520. doi:10.1093/ajcn/43.4.516
5. Mofidi A, Ferraro ZM, Stewart KA, et al. The acute impact of ingestion of sourdough and whole-grain bread on blood glucose, insulin, and incretins in overweight and obese men. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:184710. doi:10.1155/2012/184710
6. Goran MI, Ulijaszek SJ, Ventura EE. High fructose corn syrup and diabetes prevalence: a global perspective. Glob Public Health. 2013;8(1):55-64. doi:10.1080/17441692.2012.736257