The best and worse breads for people with diabetes

Let’s face it – bread is everywhere. Unfortunately, this common food poses a health risk for people with diabetes.

Despite the risk, bread can be one of the hardest foods to give up.

Before we get into the breads, lets understand the two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 diabetes: Your body has difficulty producing insulin, which is a hormone that “captures” blood sugar (or glucose) and transfers it into cells. Glucose is the preferred energy source for cells.

Type 2 diabetes: It is the most common form of diabetes and also the easier form to prevent and manage with lifestyle changes and medication.

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Carbohydrate is essential to human health, however, it also raises blood sugar and can reduce effective diabetes control.

Carbohydrates break down into blood sugar which is not good for diabetics and unfortunately for diabetic bread-lovers, bread products tend to be high in carbohydrates.

What you need to do is to choose food items that contain quality carbohydrates, those that rate low or medium on the glycemic index.


Worse breads for diabetes

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Commercial bread found at most grocery stores is usually made with white flour which lacks fibre and can send blood sugar skyrocketing.

They also considered refined starches which act a lot like sugar once the body starts to digest them.


Before you buy, watch out for these common “traps”

These deceptive forms of advertising that can lead many people with diabetes to choose the wrong bread for their health concerns:

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1. Bread marketed as “wheat bread” may be made with refined wheat and not whole grain.

2. Some brands label their bread as “seven grain” or “nine grain” but only use those grains on the crust while the majority of the bread is still made with refined white flour.


According to Medical News Today, these four types of breads that, along with an overall healthy lifestyle, may be healthier options for diabetes control:

1. Fiber-enriched whole-grain bread
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It keeps bowels regular and assists in promoting a feeling of fullness. Fiber is also a significant nutrient that helps control blood sugar.

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Studies have shown that soluble fiber can slow the rate of digestion and reduce the rise in blood sugar after eating. This is why fiber is said to lower the glycemic index of a food.

Breads with soluble fiber added to them may be a helpful way to manage blood sugar via the diet.

People should keep in mind that fiber-enriched whole-grain breads are still relatively high in carbohydrates. Eating these products in moderation is important.

2. Multi-grain sandwich bread
While high in carbohydrates, a multi-grain bread is typically made with whole, unrefined grains. These grains are generally high in naturally occurring fiber (not enriched), an important ingredient for lessening the impact that carbohydrates have on blood sugar.

When choosing whole-grain bread, people should find one that includes ingredients like oats, quinoa, buckwheat, whole-grain wheat, brown rice, bran, and barley.

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In addition to being lower on the glycemic index (compared with wheat flour), many whole grains offer a number of other nutrients, like zinc, vitamin E, and protein.

3. A pile of tortillas with a garnish
Low-carbohydrate tortillas make a flexible alternative to bread.Low-carbohydrate tortillas
Sandwich bread isn’t the only option. Tortillas can provide a tasty, versatile, and sometimes healthier choice for sandwiches.

As the diabetes epidemic continues to escalate worldwide, companies are pushing out a wider range of low-carbohydrate tortillas to appeal to health-conscious consumers.

Many of the low-carbohydrate tortillas available on the market have added fiber to reduce the carbohydrate count. Some tortillas are simply made with low-carbohydrate ingredients, like whey and soy protein powders.

People can use low-carbohydrate tortillas as they would use bread, wrapping their favorite sandwich ingredients in the tortilla. Tortillas can also be used for mini pizzas, homemade burritos, and tacos.

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4. Grain-free bread
Perhaps the best choice for diabetes-friendly bread is one made without flour or grains. While flourless sprouted-grain breads are available and are a good source of fiber, they are still rich in carbohydrates.

Grain-free breads made with ingredients like almond flour, coconut flour, and flaxseed meal can be found in specialty health food stores. Check the nutrition facts, since they may also be higher in calories.

Make your own bread

There are also many recipes for making grain-free bread on the Internet. A search term like “grain-free bread recipe” will bring up some low-carbohydrate bread recipes. These breads tend to be more expensive to make and purchase and often yield a smaller amount compared with traditional bread recipes, but could be better for you.

Which bread to you like best?