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The Truth About Bread

Everything you need to know about the mother of all carbs.

Bread and Gluten Intolerance continued...

Some people cannot tolerate gluten because they have celiac disease. Their immune system mistakes gluten as dangerous, triggering a reaction that attacks the body. For people with celiac disease, avoiding any source of gluten -- found in many products besides bread -- is an absolute must.

Celiac disease is getting diagnosed more often these days. Many other people without celiac disease link their stomach upset and fatigue to gluten. This is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity, which is more common than celiac disease.

To find out if you have celiac disease, see your doctor. If you don't have celiac disease and want to give up gluten to see if it helps your tummy troubles, see a dietitian to help track your symptoms and make sure your gluten-free diet is healthy.

How Much Bread Is Too Much?

People on a 2,000-calorie eating plan need six servings a day (about 6 ounces) from the grain group. That includes all bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits. At least half of those should be whole grains

Keep portions in mind. A single bagel can pack 3 to 5 ounces of grain. That takes up much of your grain budget for the day, and if it wasn't a whole-grain bagel, it may be hard for you to meet healthy grain goals.

Bread-Buying Tips

Go with the whole grain. Choose breads that list "whole" grain as the first ingredient, such as whole wheat, white whole wheat, or whole oats. "Wheat bread" or "multi-grain" is not necessarily a whole-grain product.

Downsize. Trim portions and get more fiber with whole-grain English muffins, bagel thins, or sandwich thins. Also try 2-ounce sandwich and hamburger buns.

Don't shop by color. Many whole-grain breads are darker than white bread, but food manufacturers may add molasses and food coloring to give their refined bread products a darker hue. Always check the ingredient label.

Bulk up. Choose whole-grain bread products with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

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Reviewed on April 03, 2014

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