“Whole grains control the level of blood glucose and help to reduce fat deposits. Whole grains have low calories, their glycemic index is low; they protect people from obesity as they provide the feeling of fullness through having volume inside the stomach and requiring much mastication. At least three to four servings of whole grain per day reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, certain cancers and heart diseases. Instead of keeping away from bread, it is important to make quality bread, to make breads rich in whole grains, to consume the right amount and not to waste. Fermented-breads should be preferred. Whole grains should be consumed at every meal if possible. Those who consume three portions and whole grains a day are 20-30 percent less likely to have heart disease than those who do not.”
Selahattin Dönmez, Clinical Nutrition Expert, Dietitian
All foods made with white bread, white rice, white pasta, and white flour do not have place at a healthy diet. Then, where do humans obtain a glucose source required for brain, blood cells, protection of kidneys and cells to continue their lives? The only solution is that we must absolutely consume these unrefined whole grain varieties of bread and other grains with whole grains because of its health protective importance. Also, researches have shown that a meal rich with refined grains increased depression, caused obesity by turning into fat in the body, create a critical danger for diabetes, and provides poor nutrition with empty-calorie that lacks antioxidant, which whole grains have.
The State Planning Organization and the World Health Organization report that the bread and grain products in our country are the main food group receiving the first order in our daily diet. Wheat, a source of mineral that is extremely important for our nutrition, is rich in terms of minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc and particularly phosphor and it contains plenty of group B vitamins as well. When we say whole grains, we must perceive these as breads that consist of bulgur, fragmented wheat, spelt wheat, and whole wheat flour. In addition, brown rice and wild rice are also found in other whole grain cereals.
Published in 2015, Turkey’s Nutrition Guide emphasized on proportional consumption of milk and milk products, meat and meat products, legumes, oil seeds, fresh vegetables and fruits in addition to whole grain breads and meals consisting of whole grains. All researches talked about the importance of consuming bread having whole grains; thus, it goes against science to claim that bread consumption is the biggest enemy of health and obesity. The initial results of Turkey’s Nutrition and Health Research, which was originally carried out in 2010 for the first time, conducted in 2017 showed clearly that there is no link between consumption of bread and obesity. In our country, obesity is linked with consuming too much calorie and lack of activity.
Then, what are the benefits of eating wheat and other unrefined grains regularly in terms of health? In the light of all scientific data, there are six important reasons for consuming unrefined grains on a regular basis.
SOURCE OF HEALTH DIET FIBER
There is high percentage of diet fiber in wheat. A thin slice of whole wheat bread is about 25 grams and that slice has 1.6 grams of dietary fiber while white bread has 0.6 grams of fiber. The dietary fiber called inulin, which remains undigested in the digestive system, found in wheat fiber, is a kind of carbohydrate with prebiotic effect. Inulin increases the amount of short chain fatty acids in the intestine. It reduces the potential of cancer cells by lowering intestinal pH and protects the environment from harmful radical species. It is very important to eat wheat and whole wheat bread to prevent colon cancer. Consuming sufficient amounts of products containing wheat products reduces the activity of the enzyme beta-glucuronidase, which acts as a disease-causing agent in the body, by about 30 percent. This reduces the risk of suffering from many chronic illnesses. Dietary fiber is a very important nutrient in terms of heart, diabetes, and cancer and colon health.
The study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people who consumed 3 or more whole grains a day had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who never consumed bread. A survey of 43,757 people aged between 40 and 75, which was published in the Journal of the Medical Association, showed that people who adopt a diet that does not contain whole grains have elevated levels of steatotic cholesterol and a steady transition of homocysteine levels to the early phase of heart disease. And research suggests that up to ten grams of consumption per day of whole grains – at least 3-4 thin slices of whole wheat bran or 6 tablespoon of bulgur – provides the definitive protection against heart disease.
CONTAINS UNIQUE ANTIOXIDANT
With a balanced diet containing whole wheat bread or whole grain, wheat-specific antioxidants and fibers work together to bind bile acids and reduce cholesterol synthesis in the liver. In the intestine, it breaks down short chain fatty acids and suppresses hepatic cholesterol synthesis. Wheat consumption also reduces the mechanisms of fatty acid synthesis and reduces serum homocysteine levels, thus contributing to cardiovascular health. Eating whole wheat bread at every meal is not harming one’s healthy; instead, its protective nature is obvious and clear.
Regular consumption of wheat and its products can concentrate interleukin 6 and C-reactive proteins that cause inflammation, which plays a key role for many diseases. And lutein is said to be as effective as medicine for the protection of eyesight through phenols called zeaxanthin.
LOW IN GLYCEMIC INDEX
Whole grain products and wheat have a very low glycemic index. Many studies show that a well-planned nutritional application of wheat and whole grains reduces the level of fasting insulin, glycosylated hemoglobin A1C and C-peptide levels according to daily individual privileges. Again, the idea of ‘I’m diabetic for eating bread’ is totally wrong. When whole wheat bread is consumed, type 2 insulin is protective against unwanted diabetes mellitus.
BALANCES HORMONES CAUSING OBESITY
Wheat and whole grains lengthen the food passage at intestine; thus enhancing the feeling of satiety by increasing gastric emptying. When whole grains are used in diets, it is defined as ideal nutrients because of the length of chewing gum, low calorie densities, causing volume at stomach. Wheat metabolites in the intestine make it easier to lose weight increasing the secretion of enterogastrones and avoiding an increase of secretion of insulin being absorbed slowly. Besides, wheat decreases the level of leptin and ensures being full for long hours. In weight-reducing diet, you must absolutely eat bread from different sources of whole grains. Whole wheat, oats and rye bread should be the preferred grain sources in weight-loss diets.