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Is Wheat Bread Good for Diabetes? Nutrition Facts and More
Diabetes

Is Wheat Bread Good for Diabetes? Nutrition Facts and More

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 24
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2 min

Blood sugar levels fluctuate depending on the foods you eat. It’s important to always consider healthier options within your meal plan to help you control diabetes. The nutritional content of bread differs, and it can be difficult to make a sensible choice. Here we explore whole-wheat bread and its effects on people with diabetes.

Is wheat bread good for diabetes
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For most people, bread is a staple food in the diet. It is one of the most versatile foods you can enjoy in various forms and with countless dishes, from soups to sandwiches. When you have diabetes, however, eating such foods can get a little tricky.

Bread, regardless of its flour source, is high in carbohydrates. Whether you eat white bread or whole-grain bread, you must consider the carb content and how it might affect your blood sugar levels. Some choices are better than others for improving diabetes and general health.

In this article, you can discover if whole-wheat bread makes a valuable addition to a diabetes diet.

Is Wheat Bread Good for Diabetes?

Wheat, or whole-wheat bread, is the healthier choice for individuals with diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends whole-grain or whole-wheat bread as it has more vitamins, minerals, protein, and dietary fiber. One slice of whole-wheat bread has 81.5 calories and 11.87 grams of net carbs. 

It can safely fit into your target carbohydrate goal for the day.

While bread doesn’t necessarily benefit those with diabetes, you can incorporate it into a controlled meal plan. Whole grains tend to cause a slower rise in blood glucose, unlike white bread, which is made from refined starches and has the highest GI rating of all the varieties.

This tasty food does have some health benefits. The high fiber content may support diabetes management in some ways. Dietary fiber and whole grains can improve glycemic control, blood lipids, weight management, and inflammation. It’s ultimately all about finding balance.

Does wheat bread raise blood sugar?

Although the whole wheat variety of bread has less influence on blood sugars than the more refined bread, it is still categorized as a high glycemic food. That means it can raise your blood sugar levels.

You do not need to condemn foods entirely if you have diabetes. While it impacts blood glucose, you can still enjoy eating this food as long as you moderate your portion size and check the product’s nutritional content.

Can Diabetes Patients Eat Whole-Wheat Bread?

The short answer is yes. However, you must only eat this food in moderation as it has a high glycemic index. Too much can cause significant blood sugar spikes and diabetes complications. Stick to small portions to keep your blood sugars within a healthy range.

How many slices of wheat bread can a person with diabetes eat per day?

It is likely safe to consume 1–3 slices of brown bread to stay within the healthy range of your daily carbohydrate intake. People with diabetes should generally stick to bread with under 100 calories and 15 grams of carbs per slice.

So, if you want to make a turkey sandwich with two slices, make sure you check the nutrition label.

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There is no magic number of carbs a person with diabetes should eat per day as intake depends on personal needs. Nutritional recommendations for individuals with diabetes suggest taking approximately half of their daily calories from carbs.

On a 1,800-calorie diet, that’s about 200–225 grams of carbs per day.

Wheat Bread Nutritional Value

Like most bread, the whole wheat variety has carbs, fats, protein, and plenty of dietary fiber. It is high in calories and does contain some sugar. Starchy foods can be a healthy part of a diabetes meal plan, but moderation and portion size are vital in maintaining balance.

A 100g serving of whole-wheat bread has the following nutritional content:

Net CarbsTotal CarbsFatsProtein
37.1g43.1g3.55g12.3g
CaloriesFiberSugarGlycemic Index
2546g4.41g71

Glycemic Index of Wheat Bread

Wheat bread has a glycemic index (GI) of 71. Foods with a GI score of 70 or more fall into the high category, which means they can cause rapid and significant blood sugar spikes. Therefore, it is considered a high glycemic food that can impact your blood sugar when consumed.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Healthy eating is non-negotiable when you have diabetes. You need to choose nutrient-dense foods that provide optimal health benefits while keeping your blood sugar steady. A typical diabetes diet includes plenty of whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and non-starchy vegetables.

Whole grains include whole-meal bread, brown rice, oats, and buckwheat. Complex carbohydrates like those found in beans, quinoa, barley, and many other plant foods, are also beneficial for diabetes management as they cause a more gradual rise in blood sugars.

Lean protein sources include eggs, fish, and poultry. You can also have plant-based proteins, as a plant-based diet and diabetes work well together. Protein helps you lose fat without losing muscle if you’re working out for weight loss and better blood sugar control.

A balanced diet supports glycemic control and weight management. Plus, it can help you lose weight if necessary. A registered dietitian can guide you with your diet to ensure you get the most out of your eating plan. They can inform you of foods to indulge in and those to avoid or limit.

If your goal is to lose weight, you might be better off opting for healthy pumpernickel or rye instead of wheat bread for weight loss. Losing excess weight can help with insulin sensitivity and improve glycemic control. It also reduces your risk of developing heart disease and cardiovascular events.

Conclusion

Whole-wheat bread – yes or no?

The answer is yes, but only in moderation! Whole-wheat bread is undoubtedly the better choice over highly-processed bread, but it can still raise your blood sugar if you eat too much. Try to incorporate it into your diet just enough to get the nutritional benefits without harming your health. 

If you’re not confident in choosing foods to match your diabetes diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about the best bread and other foods to support your overall health when managing diabetes.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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