Diabetes and bread…
So many questions come up about good ‘ol bread. And not surprisingly because it’s a staple food that we’ve all grown up on. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, a side of bread for dinner, it’s a pretty common practice right?
But if you’re diabetic, should bread get the cut? Is it okay to eat? Are there certain types of breads that are better than others?
These are all great questions so let’s dig in and go over this together now. If you have any questions, just leave them at the bottom of the post and we’ll chat about it.
n reality, the best breads for you to eat are ones made from flaxseed, almond, chickpea or coconut flour, which are a bit more difficult to come by.
Of course, the simplest way to overcome this is to make your own. But, I understand that not everyone wants to make their own, and thankfully, there are quite a number of companies that supply great low carb bread options you can buy.
Whole Wheat & Rye Bread and Diabetes
It’s often recommended that you eat whole grains instead of the white stuff and it’s true, whole grains are a better choice because they are complex carbs, rather than simple carbs.
But, when you take the whole grain and grind it into a flour, it changes the way your body digests it. This mainly happens because the bulky fiber component of the grain gets broken down, meaning less digestion – for you as a diabetic that means higher blood sugar spikes.
Have you heard of the glycemic index before?
“The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating.” Source
High GI foods rapidly effect blood sugar, while low GI foods have a slow digestion and absorption and produce a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Below 55 is considered low GI. So the lower a food is the better, and the higher it is the faster it affects blood sugar and the worse it is for you as a diabetic.
So now we can look at the GI of both a whole wheat kernel and whole wheat flour as an example. Whole wheat kernels are 30 (low GI) and whole wheat flour is 71 (high GI).
What this really means is that whole wheat bread really isn’t that great.
Your best bet when it comes to rye bread is Pumpernickel bread – it’s made from whole rye grains and is a low GI of 41-46. But, pumpernickel bread isn’t exactly a sandwich type bread, and has it’s own pungent flavor, too.
Let’s check out some more GI levels:
Normal rye bread 57-78
Wheat whole grain 68-69
Wheat white bread 71
100% wheat white bread 85
So these are all high GI and aren’t good options.
Sourdough Bread and Diabetes
Sourdough bread is made by traditional methods, where the starter dough is fermented to provide the rise in the bread instead of yeast and sugar. Surprisingly, this bread making method is much better for us.
Making sourdough produces beneficial gut bacteria that help with digestion, and this has a strong impact on how it then influences the blood sugar response.
As a consequence, sourdough breads are lower in GI – sourdough rye bread 48, 80% barley bread made via sourdough 53-66, sourdough wheat bread 54. So having a slice of sourdough is going to be a better choice than most other breads.
But there is a bit more to the story.
Does Cutting Bread Help Diabetes?
The thing is, GI is important, but then you have to consider your overall carbohydrate intake as well.
Here are some of the above breads with carb quantity:
Pumpernickel bread – 1 slice 26 g = 12.3 g carbs, 1.7 g fiber, 10.6 g net carbs (Total carbs minus fiber = net carbs)
Oat bran bread – 1 slice 30 g = 11.9 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 10.5 g net carbs
Buckwheat bread – 1 slice 47 g = 20 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 18 g net carbs
Sourdough wheat bread – 1 slice 57 g = 29 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 26 g net carbs
Sprouted grain bread 1 slice 34 g = 15 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 12 g net carbs
As you can see an average piece of bread is going to be anywhere from 10-20 g carbs.