One Major Side Effect of Eating Too Much Bread, Says Science
From toast at breakfast to rolls with dinner, bread is an essential component of many people's meals. And while many people associate consuming bread with weight gain, an expanding waistline isn't the only potential side effect of eating too much bread. (Related: The Biggest Danger Sign You're Eating Too Much Bread, Say Experts.)
According to a 2018 study published in the journal Nutrients, frequent bread consumption is also associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure.
To conduct their research, researchers from the National Institute of Cardiology Ignacio Chávez and the National Council of Science and Technology followed a group of 2,011 adult participants with an average age of 37.1 years. The study subjects who consumed one piece of bolillo or telera—two types of white bread—one or more times a week had a 1.39 times greater risk of elevated blood pressure than those who consumed bread three or fewer times per month. However, researchers found that consumption of whole-grain bread was not associated with an increased risk of elevated blood pressure.
Researchers surmised that the sodium in the white bread was likely a contributing factor to study subjects' elevated blood pressure, a reasonable assumption, given that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' "What We Eat in America" report found that bread was the largest source of sodium in Americans' diets.
However, that may not be the only way bread consumption increases your risk of hypertension. A 2014 study published in BMC Public Health found that consuming two or more portions of white bread per day significantly increased study subjects' risk of becoming overweight or obese, two physical states both linked to increased blood pressure.
So, if you're struggling with high blood pressure—or if you want to prevent a diagnosis of hypertension in the future—scaling back on white bread might be a good place to start.
To make healthier choices in the bread aisle, check out The Healthiest Breads to Eat for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians, and for the latest health news delivered to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.