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Bread & weight loss

We’ve all heard it, “cut out the bread” or the weight-loss story of “Mary down the road lost 2 stone, she cut out all bread”. Mary did lose weight but was this a result of removing the “evil” bread from her diet? No.

Mary didn’t replace the calories she was consuming when eating bread (and whatever else she had with it i.e butter, taytos (“crisps”), etc). This contributed to her consuming less calories, which placed her in a calorie deficit.

The principal of all weight-loss is a calorie deficit.

“But it’s just bread I’d cut out, I’d still have everything else”

A study by Loria-kohen et al, 2011 looked at this, 2 groups, both on the same calories and macros (Carbs, Fats, Proteins). 1 group wasn’t allowed to eat bread, the other was, both could still eat carbohydrate sources such as rice, pasta, potatoes. The results showed that the “NO-Bread group” had more slip ups (deviation of +150kcals from diet) and a higher dropout rate 21.3% (vs 6.6% in the bread group) with bread being a significant factor.

That type of diet, “no bread”, is very rigid/strict especially if you like eating bread. Mary could have achieved the same results by controlling her calorie intake which can still include foods she enjoyed, in this case bread. Maximise adherence to maximise results (Alhassan et al, 2005), the more consistent you are the better. It has been shown time and again Flexible dieting behaviour predicted greater weight-loss (Berg et al 2018).

References:

  • Alhassan, S & Kim, Soowon & Bersamin, Andrea & King, AC & Gardner, C. (2008). Dietary adherence and weight loss success among overweight women: Results from the A TO Z weight loss study. International journal of obesity (2005). 32. 985-91
  • Berg, Alison & Johnson, Kristen & Straight, Chad & Reed, Rachelle & O’Connor, Patrick & Evans, Ellen & Johnson, Mary. (2018). Flexible Eating Behavior Predicts Greater Weight Loss Following a Diet and Exercise b Intervention in Older Women. Journal of Nutrition in Gerontology and Geriatrics. 37. 1-16
  • Kohen, Viviana & Gomez-Candela, Carmen & Fernández-Fernández, Ceila & Pérez-Torres, Almudena & García-Puig, Juan & Bermejo, Laura. (2011). Evaluation of the usefulness of a low-calorie diet with or without bread in the treatment of overweight/obesity. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland). 31. 455-61.
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