Bread is a staple food item in most kitchens across the globe. But did you ever link this common go-to breakfast or snack item with reduced belly fat? Well, according to recent research, whole-grain wheat bread may be linked to a reduction in belly fat or visceral fat obesity. A study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, carried out a randomised controlled trial on 50 Japanese people to investigate the effect of the consumption of bread. “It was investigated whether a diet in which refined wheat bread (RW diet) was substituted by whole grain wheat bread (WW diet) would reduce visceral fat obesity in Japanese subjects,” stated the abstract of the study.
The Body Mass Index of the 50 participants was over the normal 23.5kg per metre square range, and they were divided into two groups. While one group of subjects was asked to consume refined wheat bread, the others had to take whole-grain wheat bread. After 3 months, the scholars found that visceral fat or belly fat had reduced significantly in the whole wheat bread group.
The results, thus, indicated that the consumption of whole wheat bread could be helpful for those watching their weight. “WW diet led to significant and safe reductions in VFA in subjects with BMI greater than or equal to 23 kg/m2. WW diet may contribute to preventing visceral fat obesity,” read the study.
How does whole wheat bread help in the reduction of visceral fat?
Before answering that question, let’s understand what exactly visceral fat is. According to experts, it is the fat that surrounds the internal organs and is linked to an increased risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Commenting on the study, Sameena Ansari – Senior Dietitian and Nutritionist, CARE Hospitals, Hi-Tec City, Hyderabad, said, “Soluble fibre, like the one found in whole grain wheat bread, can help reduce visceral fat by binding to bile acids in the gut and preventing their reabsorption. This leads to the liver having to produce more bile acids which, in turn, uses up more cholesterol and ultimately leads to a reduction in overall cholesterol levels. Eating whole-grain wheat bread can also help you avoid highly processed and refined foods, which can contribute to weight gain and increased visceral fat. Whole grains are a good source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals, which are essential for overall health and well-being. In addition, choosing whole grain foods can also help regulate blood sugar levels, which is important for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes”.
She, however, added that reducing visceral fat requires a combination of healthy habits, including eating a balanced diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, while also engaging in regular exercise and managing stress levels.
“It’s important to note that simply adding whole grain wheat bread to your diet may not be enough to achieve significant results and that it’s crucial to adopt an overall healthy lifestyle to effectively reduce visceral fat,” she told indianexpress.com.
Not everyone can opt for whole wheat bread
While whole wheat bread can aid weight loss, it might not be advised for everyone. Ansari explained, “People who need a low-fiber or low-carbohydrate diet may need to limit whole wheat bread. While it is by no means an unhealthy food, it may not be compatible with these special diets, especially in large quantities. People with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity will also need to keep whole wheat bread off the menu, since wheat contains gluten”.