General Question

pleiades's avatar

So I want to cut out all gluten products but I was raised on the idea that wheat bread was healthy?

Asked by pleiades (6566points) April 8th, 2014

It’s kind of embarrassing to say but I have no idea why wheat bread is even healthy? I mean I was told it was healthy so I believed it. I think I remember it had a higher fiber count? Maybe a higher protein count as well?

Anyways I want to become gluten-free as I have read many bad things about the new engineered gluten meant for mass production in 2014.

What could I substitute to achieve health benefits, if any, that I used to get from wheat bread? Is an array of fruits and veggies sufficient? I don’t even know the benefits of wheat bread x:

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42 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Wheat was a good source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. But that predated widespread use of refined white flour.

But you can reach the same amount of protein and fiber from a variety of sources, including eggs and beans and fruit and vegetables.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There’s bread and there’s good bread.

Bread in the olden days was almost always whole grain, or even multiple grains. It was heavier (denser) and it was made with real flour and was actually fairly hearty and healthy for you.

Bread since about 1950 has been artificially made in huge factory bakeries using all sorts of chemical shit and has been developed for lightness and color, as opposed to nutrition and health. There is simply no comparison between bread in 2014 and bread 50 years ago.

jca's avatar

Also, people often think of wheat bread as healthy, but many wheat breads contain just as many chemicals as other store bought breads, and a lot of sugar to offset the taste of the wheat flour.

gailcalled's avatar

You can also eat grains or complex carbohydrates closer to the source…steel-cut oatmeat, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, barley, cous cous.

ibstubro's avatar

It’s easier and easier to go gluten free. I’m not concerned about gluten myself, but I have friends with a Celiac child so I keep an eye out for gluten free products. In the few years that I have been doing this the availability has more than quadrupled and the prices have come down.

Not to be a butt, but there are a lot of Celiac support groups that could address your desire to be gluten free much better than Fluther.

As an interesting side-note, at least one of the Morningstar Farms faux chicken products is nearly all gluten. One man’s poison…

kevbo's avatar

I think the simplest answer is to try not eating it and see if you notice a difference. You can also try just eating less of it.

I can’t say definitively that reducing wheat consumption has made a difference for me, because the change was combined with a few other changes. But, I did lose 30 lbs in about 5 months and I have better digestive functioning, in a manner of speaking, than I did before. Recently, I had a pizza and beer out with a friend, and noticed the next day my troubles had returned and my stomach was swollen like it used to be, so I’m guessing I’m on the right track.

At home, I mainly eat brown rice as a substitute, although I do eat crackers because my housemate buys them. I eat oatmeal, too, but I honestly don’t remember when I last had cereal.

I still eat bread when I get fast food (which is often). Again, hard to say if it’s the bread that’s the problem.

It seems in your question that there’s a worry that your health will deteriorate if you don’t eat wheat bread. You also aren’t sure why this is a belief. I think if you sit with that thought for a while, your worry will dissolve. Who knows? Your health might get better if the wheat is weighing you down somehow.

Here’s a link from the gubmint regarding wheat facts in response to the accusations in the book Wheat Belly and other sources. FWIW. link

janbb's avatar

I’m a big believer in “everything in moderation” so I don’t believe in severely limiting one’s diet unless you have known problems that might be addressed. Why not just look for good organic or bakery whole grain bread and enjoy that in moderation? I see gluten-free eating as a fad which has caught on although of course, there are people who do need to avoid wheat. Remember all the low-fat foods that were found to be high in calorie because of added sugar?

Smashley's avatar

While I could go on about wheat bread being only mildly more nutritious than white (at least do whole grain!), or how the “health benefits” of wheat bread are simply the health benefits of better nutrition choices over worse ones, I’d rather help in a more useful way.

I suggest you do the easier and more enlightening thing and re-read everything you have about “new engineered gluten” (whatever that means), and this time use your critical thinking skills, and look around for dissenting opinions. It sounds like your sources are taking two of the most fashionable health crazes and jamming them together. Voila! And it sounds like you bought into it.

Without reading your sources, I can only go by my gut and past experience. Gluten-free is a vaguely scientifically supported fad based around two conditions – one that exists and can be tested for – and another cannot be tested for, has varied and non-specific symptoms, and may not exist at all.

“Engineered” I assume refers to something you read about GMO, the fear of which is infinitely less scientifically supported than Celiac or Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.

Whatever you read that has put you in this funk is probably garbage.

livelaughlove21's avatar

What @janbb said. I don’t believe in cutting anything completely out of your diet. Gluten, sugar, fats, and carbs are not evil foods. I wish people would stop demonizing them. I manage to eat white bread, regular pasta (whole grain pasta is disgusting), burgers, tacos, fro-yo – you name it – and I’m steadily losing weight. These are the same foods I ate before I tried losing weight, just not in the huge portion sizes I used to eat.

White bread, wheat bread, multigrain bread – just eat what you like in moderation! I personally can’t stand any bread that’s not really soft unless it’s something that should be flaky like a baguette or something, so that means white bread for the most part. If I buy whole grain bread, half of it will end up in the trash.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Actually, sugar is an evil for those with Diabetes, they know this for a FACT.

ibstubro's avatar

And gluten is evil for those with Celiac, @Dan_Lyons.

ibstubro's avatar

Maybe it would be better in your case to go Certified Organic to avoid the engineered gluten, @pleiades?

janbb's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Nobody said it isn’t or that gluten isn’t bad for those with celiac disease. That’s not being argued here.

ibstubro's avatar

I think we were addressing the specific comment, “Gluten, sugar, fats, and carbs are not evil foods.” @janbb. Certain foods can be evil to certain people. I share @pleiades concerns about engineered foods. While I also agree to an extent with @livelaughlove21‘s “food fads”, I also see them as valuable to the portion of the population effected. In just a few years gluten free has gone from health food store cardboard to mainstream.

Personally, I agree with you, to the point that I accidentally echoed you on the ‘organic’ point, @janbb.

Silence04's avatar

“I mean I was told it was healthy so I believed it.”

So now you were told it wasn’t healthy and you believed it.

Everything is fine in moderation. The gluten free push is companies trying to amp up sales by riding on the coattails of celiacs disease awareness. Just because wheat is bad for some people doesn’t mean it’s bad for everyone.

longgone's avatar

Instead of cutting gluten, why not turn to organic bread? Much less trouble.

@livelaughlove21 “I manage to eat white bread, regular pasta (whole grain pasta is disgusting), burgers, tacos, fro-yo – you name it – and I’m steadily losing weight.”

I think you know quite a bit about nutrition, so I was surprised to read this…you’re not suggesting that healthy food – per definition – makes people lose weight, are you?

livelaughlove21's avatar

@Dan_Lyons Ok, I should’ve added, “unless there’s a medical condition to consider.” I thought saying “what @janbb said” covered that.

@longgone Of course not. Eating at a caloric deficit makes people lose weight. If I need 1500 calories per day to lose 1 lb per week, I’ll lose 1 lb per week even if those 1500 calories all consisted of fast food and sugary treats. What I’m saying is that the whole “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” food thing is thrown out of proportion. Sure, eating oatmeal with brown sugar and almond milk (my signature breakfast) is a smarter choice than eating a big jelly donut. However, if I eat a jelly donut for breakfast every now and then, I’m not going to go into a diabetic coma and die. Everything in moderation. You don’t have to cut out carbs, sugars, gluten, etc. in order to be healthy. Eating only foods with the word “organic” on it doesn’t necessarily make you healthier than someone that doesn’t. The reason I said that I’m losing weight is because, after listing things like pasta and burgers, I expected someone to read it and think, “okay, but you’re probably fat.” I’m not. I just don’t understand people without a relevant medical condition that say things like, “I can’t eat ______.” Uh yeah, you certainly can.

longgone's avatar

@livelaughlove21 Okay, so the weight loss was just additional info. Thank you for clarifying.

Clarifying my post now: A registered “Organic” label alone will protect you from eating weird chemicals. To eat more healthily, you also need to have that organic bread be whole-grain.

Silence04's avatar

@longgone “A registered “Organic” label alone will protect you from eating weird chemicals”

Not to completely derail this thread, but this statement is largely misleading. What exactly is a “weird chemical?”

longgone's avatar

@Silence04 To be honest, I’m out of my depth. You probably know what I mean – I’m talking about engineered wheat, for example. I realize there are no “weird” chemicals. I shouldn’t be Fluthering while falling asleep.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m going out on a limb and guess you were told wheat bread is healthier than white bread. That is different than saying wheat bread is healthy. There are healthy properties in wheat as mentioned above, protien, fiber, and some minerals and vitamins. The Kelloggs brothers certainly would argue wheat is a wonderful food and good for your health. You can get the healthy properties of wheat from other sources though.

I find often people hear something and don’t realize it is being touted as good compared to a specific alternative. I’ll give you an example that is not food related. Most people think paying a mortgage is better than rent. If the mortgage is the same monthly fee as the rent, you come out ahead, because you get a tax write-off on the mortgage, you build equaity in the house, and one day you will own the house outright. So, rent vs. mortgage, mortgage looks “cheaper.” But, if you compare mortgage to no mortgage, meaning owning the house outright, that is a completely different equation. Wheat bread is the mortgage, rent is the white bread, and then there is a third option, other foods. Like all analogies they fall apart a little if you analyze them too hard, but I think you get what I am saying.

I still eat white bread half the time for what it’s worth, and I am renting right now. LOL.

dappled_leaves's avatar

Gluten-free eating is simply a recent diet fad. There is a small proportion of the population which reacts badly to gluten. If you were one of these people, you would probably know it – or at the very least, you would be actively trying to get a diagnosis for your symptoms. Businesses have cashed in on the gluten-free craze, but you are late to this party. Even those who sell the products acknowledge that eventually, sales will shrink to the “appropriate market” – in the gluten-free case, those with celiac disease. Those who don’t have celiac disease will eventually realize they miss real bread, and buy back in.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Sugar is evil for everybody. The only thing in your body that’s made of sugar is dental plaque (to be honest it was my dentist that told me this so it may be a little biased).

janbb's avatar

@Lightlyseared maybe the devil isn’t in the details – maybe he’s in sugar?

Lightlyseared's avatar

@janbb well hes got to be somewhere

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Why do you want to eliminate gluten from your diet? There’s nothing wrong with gluten unless you have a sensitivity and react badly to it. Some people can’t tolerate gluten; they experience abdominal distress. For the rest of us, gluten’s loaded with healthful protein. If you wash wheat flour and remove its starchy granules, you’re left with gluten that can be cooked as a meat substitute (it’s marketed as seitan). Gluten isn’t the “bad guy” here.

If your goal is to stop eating the white devil – refined, bleached flour, stripped of all its natural nutrients – be sure to read ingredients. “Wheat flour” is just another name for white flour, and “wheat bread” is white bread that’s been colored with molasses or caramel. You need to search for “whole wheat flour.”

RocketGuy's avatar

Check out WebMD on gluten:

Maybe you just need to eat less of it.

ibstubro's avatar

@RocketGuy gets “Best in Show” for the WebMD link. Spot-on information for @pleiades, plus it’s interesting and informative.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@jca “Hearing a lot about” something doesn’t mean that something is worth listening about. It’s pretty sure to match people blog post for blog post on any pseudoscience topic. Not worth the time.

Judi's avatar

I heard that the GMO wheat they use in the US is missing an amino acid you need to digest it. That’s why bugs don’t eat it. That’s also why there has been a spike in gluten intolerance.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Judi That sounds unlikely. Source?

Judi's avatar

Not the greatest sourest as it can’t be confirmed. It was a scientist my nephew sat next to on a plane. It makes since though as I know more than one person who can eat bread in Canada but not in the US.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Judi I don’t know, it seems to me as if part of the intention is to get more amino acids into GM wheat. Anyway, wheat would not even grow in Canada without substantial GM efforts. It was a huge technological breakthrough for us when a wheat suitable for our climate (Marquis wheat) was developed.

Cupcake's avatar

If you want to cut out gluten but are looking for more direction, read Wheat Belly.

You can get enough fiber and minerals from vegetables. Eat ½ of your plate-worth of vegetables at every meal. Make sure to eat a variety of colors of food.

I felt much better when I didn’t eat gluten, but it is difficult to stick with. I would encourage you to avoid the “gluten-free” aisle in the grocery store. You don’t need to replace bread with corn or other grain-derived foods. Plus, the “gluten-free” foods are expensive. Just eat natural foods – lean (preferably local grass-fed) meats or rice/beans, lots of vegetables, fruits/nuts in moderation. Dairy (preferably local grass-fed) if you can tolerate it .

jca's avatar

@dappled_leaves: Apparently @Cupcake heard of the Wheat Belly thing, too.

ibstubro's avatar

Why is Jello gelatin still packaged in paper, only? Bugs and mice and other critters are not interested in it as a food source.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro As far as I know, flour has always been packaged in paper only.

ibstubro's avatar

I thought flour now had a laminate lining, @dappled_leaves, but I’m not 100%. White flour may not need it for the same reasons as gelatin?

dappled_leaves's avatar

@ibstubro Or maybe it’s to deter coyotes. I guess we’ll never know if we rely on hearsay and imagination.

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