This Is The One Type Of Bread You Should Stop Eating To Avoid Inflammation—And 4 To Eat Instead: Avoid White Bread & More

bread aisle at whole foods
bread aisle at whole foods

Bread is a staple in many diets around the world, enjoyed in various forms and flavors. However, not all bread is created equal when it comes to its effects on our health. Some types of bread, particularly those made from refined flours, can cause inflammation in the body. This is due to their high glycemic index, low fiber content, and the presence of additives and preservatives. These factors can lead to blood sugar spikes, gut health issues, and overall increased inflammation. Fortunately, there are healthier bread options available that are less likely to cause inflammation.

We checked in with Lisa Richards, registered nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet; Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD; registered dietitian Caitlin Carr; and Christine VanDoren, nutritionist and personal trainer, to learn about one type of bread to avoid for inflammation and four you can choose instead. They revealed that white bread is the one to stay away from, and options such as sourdough, rye, whole wheat/whole grain, and thin sandwich wraps are the ones to choose instead. Read on to find out more.

Avoid: White Bread

White bread is made from refined flour, which causes blood sugar levels to spike quickly. These spikes can lead to inflammation over time. This type of bread also contains additives and preservatives that can upset the gut and further cause inflammation.

"White loaf bread commonly used to make sandwiches is the worst form of bread to consume for many reasons, but especially its inflammatory effects," Richards warns. She says processed foods such as white bread "have undergone a refining process where the fiber and beneficial nutrients are removed and possibly replaced with synthetic versions," which is what makes it a culprit of inflammation and weight gain. White bread can also "damage the gut by causing inflammation and feeding bad bacteria, leading to gut dysbiosis," she adds.

So, which varieties of bread should we opt for instead?

Try: Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread, with its distinct tangy flavor and chewy texture, stands out not only for its taste but also for its potential link to weight management and inflammation control. Unlike some conventional breads that might contribute to weight gain due to refined flours and sugars, sourdough is fermented with a natural sourdough starter, typically consisting of flour and water.

"The natural fermentation process in sourdough bread breaks down complex carbohydrates into simpler sugars, resulting in slower digestion and a more gradual release of glucose into the bloodstream," Richards says. "This helps stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing spikes and crashes that can trigger cravings and overeating." She also adds that sourdough bread has "fewer additives and preservatives compared to some commercially produced bread, making it a more wholesome and nutrient-dense option."

"Sourdough bread typically has a denser texture and more substantial flavor, which can promote a feeling of satisfaction and fullness with smaller portions," Richards reveals. "Its complex flavor profile also makes it a satisfying and enjoyable choice, potentially reducing the desire for additional high-calorie snacks or spreads."

Try: Rye Bread

Rye flour, a key ingredient in this bread, contains a higher proportion of fiber and nutrients compared to refined wheat flour. The fiber content, particularly soluble fiber, contributes to a feeling of fullness and may assist in regulating appetite.

"Many people assume that they need to omit bread from their diet if they are trying to lose weight, but that isn't necessarily true. While the typical white bread doesn't provide the body with very many nutrients, there are other types of bread that do the body good," Van Doren notes. One of those breads is rye bread, as she says, "Typically, one slice contains only 65 calories." It's also a nutrient-dense choice that can help with weight loss, as she adds: "The food also contains nutrients like selenium, thiamine, manganese, potassium, and fiber."

"Because rye bread is low in calories and quite filling, it can help prevent you from overeating while keeping you in a caloric deficit," Van Doren says.

Try: Whole-Wheat/Whole-Grain Bread

Whole-wheat and whole-grain breads are rich in dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber. Fiber plays a crucial role in reducing inflammation by promoting healthy digestion, supporting the gut microbiota, and preventing constipation. In contrast, white bread, made from refined grains, often lacks significant fiber content, which may contribute to inflammation and digestive issues.

Carr says, “The biggest advantage to whole wheat bread is the inclusion of fiber. As opposed to white bread, 100% whole wheat bread is less processed and less refined so it will contain the wheat fiber.” And that can also be helpful for weight loss because, as she says, “Fiber helps us feel fuller longer, it can add volume without calories to a meal, and fiber prevents blood sugar spikes after a meal by slowing down absorption of sugar."

Try: Thin sandwich wraps

Thin sandwich wraps often come in standard sizes, which can help with portion control. Many thin sandwich wraps are made from whole-grain flours, such as whole wheat or whole corn. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties. They can help promote healthy digestion, regulate blood sugar levels, and support overall well-being.

"Wraps made from whole wheat or other whole grains are thinner than traditional bread slices. This can help control portion sizes and reduce overall calorie intake while still allowing you to enjoy sandwiches or wraps," Sabat says.