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The Worst Side Effect of Not Eating Bread, New Study Suggests

It will likely surprise you.

It may seem a little tricky at times to find healthy bread options that please your palate. However, if you're not eating enough bread, then you also might not be getting the proper amount of refined grains and, in turn, enough nutrients, according to a study published by Frontiers in Nutrition.

After looking at information that was collected by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the study noted that some adults in the United States were being hit with a 10% drop in energy levels due to the fact that they were staying away from refined grains which resulted in their diets lacking in necessary nutrients such as dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron.

 The Best & Worst Sprouted Bread—Ranked!

"Bread, grains, and carbohydrates, in general, have a bad reputation in our society. However, carbohydrates are your body's best source of fuel and the brain's preferred energy source," Sarah Williams, RD, a registered dietitian, owner, and Founder of Sweet Balance Nutrition told Eat This, Not That!

She notes that she's worked with many clients who have seen a boost in energy levels when they ensure that they're getting enough carbohydrates. "In a healthy, balanced diet, anywhere from 40-60% of calories should come from carbohydrates, and that can include bread and grains," she says.

sprouted grain bread

Kacie Barnes, MCN, RD, creator of Mama Knows Nutrition, concurs.

"Carbohydrates in moderation is a good thing—it helps give your body energy, especially if you're planning to do any physical activity throughout the day," she says, adding that it's not necessary to completely rid your diet of bread or other grains.

In fact, as the reduced levels of energy in the survey's participants show, "anytime you eliminate an entire food group, you have to be intentional about what you are replacing it with," says Barnes. Otherwise, you may suffer from unfortunate (and sometimes unhealthy) outcomes.

In this case, Barnes explains that if you're just removing bread and grains, and not supplementing that deficit in calories with other carbohydrates, there's potential you'll come up short in calories for the day and feel fatigued.

If you want to make sure that you're getting the required amount of grain-related nutrients in your daily diet, Barnes suggests opting for whole wheat and sprouted grain bread as well as brown rice, barley, oats, rye, whole grain cereals, and crackers. Williams also suggests eating more whole wheat pasta and quinoa.

"Including these foods regularly [in your diet] will help you get enough fiber, iron, folate, and magnesium, and help you feel satisfied and energized," she says. "Remember that foods are not good and bad, it's all just food, and all foods can fit. … It's about learning how to balance healthy and fun foods and eating the portions that are best for your body and goals."

For more healthy eating tips, be sure to read 7 Clean Eating Habits for Weight Loss, According to Dietitians. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter!

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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