Bread & Weight Loss

Choosing whole-grain bread over refined white bread may help you shed pounds. However, eating too much bread often hinders weight loss and may even lead to weight gain. If you’re a bread lover, you can likely lose weight consuming whole-grain bread -- in recommended portions -- as part of a reduced-calorie meal plan.

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Bread and Satiety

Including bread in your weight-loss plan may help boost satiety, according to a study published in 2011 in “Nutricion Hospitalaria.” Researchers who conducted this study found that subjects who included bread in reduced-calorie diets experienced greater satiation after meals than study participants who consumed rice or pasta instead of bread 1.

Calories in Bread

One slice of bread often contains between 65 and 80 calories. While bread isn’t a high-calorie food, eating a large quantity of it can hinder weight loss. Weight-loss calorie needs are 500 to 1,000 fewer than your usual intake, which helps you lose 1 to 2 pounds weekly. While many women can safely lose weight eating 1,200 calories daily, men often need at least 1,500 calories a day to lose weight at a safe pace, suggests Harvard Health Publications 3.

Whole-Grain vs. White Bread

When choosing bread for your weight-loss diet, pick whole-grain breads over white bread when possible. Although whole-grain and white breads have similar calorie contents, whole-grain bread is higher in fiber -- and contains slightly more protein -- than white bread. Both fiber and protein contribute to whole-grain bread’s satiating qualities. Furthermore, fiber calories aren’t fully absorbed by your body, making fiber an excellent addition to any weight-loss meal plan.

The amount of bread, or other grains, you should eat during weight loss depends on your weight-loss calorie requirements. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 recommends eating 4 ounces from the grains food group daily when consuming 1,200 calories a day, and eating 5 ounces from the grains group when consuming 1,500 calories a day 4. A 1-ounce portion from the grains food group equals one slice of bread.