Which is Better For Your Health: Bread or Sugar?

Which is Better For Your Health: Bread or Sugar?

Which one is better for your health,
sugar or bread? The official dietary guidelines say that
both are perfectly okay as long as you limit your sugar to less than 10% of
calories and half of the bread you eat is whole-grain. But then there are others
who say that that’s not true that complex carbs like bread is just another
form of sugar. So which one is it? Today we’re going to talk about all the
different factors that you need to understand to make better decisions
about sugar and bread, whether it’s white or whole-grain so that you can safely
navigate in the oceans of myths and misinformation. Coming right up. Hey I’m Dr. Ekberg. I’m a holistic doctor
and a former Olympic decathlete and if you want to truly master health by
understanding how the body really works make sure you subscribe and hit that
notification bell so that you don’t miss anything. So the first thing a lot of
people think of and people say that carbohydrates are essential because of
blood sugar that the body needs blood sugar for energy and when the blood
sugar is low the fastest way to bring it up is to eat something sugary so let’s
talk about blood sugar there’s something called glycemic index and a lot of
people say that well sugar has a high glycemic index it raises blood sugar
quickly but complex carbs are different that bread especially whole-grain bread
is very different it’s much much slower so let’s look at the numbers the
glycemic index of table sugar of sucrose is 65 and the glycemic index of white
bread is 75 so white bread is actually a lot higher than sugar
well how about whole-grain that’s supposed to be slower right well whole
wheat bread is 74 so there’s one point difference between white and wheat
and they’re both about 10 points higher than sugar so they raise blood sugar
faster than pure sugar and these are numbers from a place called health.
harvard.edu you’re gonna get different numbers they’re gonna be up or down five
or ten points depending on whose study you look at and we also want to
understand about glycemic index that it’s a very rough estimate because it
depends on the person it depends on their insulin resistance it depends on
their age on their activity level and it depends on what else you ate together
with it okay most people don’t eat these things by themselves but it still gives
us a really good idea about how this works so how can a complex carb have a
higher glycemic index how does that work so we need to understand just a little
bit about how these look at as a molecule so table sugar sucrose is a
disaccharide it has two sugars two monosaccharides two rings of sugar
hooked together one is called glucose and one is called fructose and the
glucose has a glycemic index of a hundred that’s how they define glycemic
index the hundred is the baseline so to speak both fructose is much much slower
it’s only 15 so it takes a little bit of time to split this up and then you sort
of take the average roughly so that’s just a ballpark to give you an idea of
how the body ends up responding at about a level of 65
even though starches are complex they are much much longer chain
it doesn’t take the body very long to start breaking it up and the breakdown
of starch starch consists of amylose and amylopectin and the breakdown of these
start already in the mouth we have something called salivary amylase and
that’s an enzyme in the mouth that starts breaking down carbohydrates
starches in the mouth even before we have swallowed anything
so the breakdown starts very very quickly and then once these long chains
these complex carbs are broken down which happens in minutes then they’re
broken off in little pieces of – they’re broken down in disaccharides the sugar
is called maltose – glucoses fit together is called maltose and then from
there it doesn’t take very long before an enzyme called maltase is going to
break up that disaccharide and now we have two glucose molecules each which
has a glycemic index of a hundred so the response is not going to be a hundred
because it’s going to take a few minutes to break this up and start the process
but in the end that is why because it’s so fast to break these up that in the
end the total result the glycemic index of complex carbs can be higher than that
of pure sugar so from a blood sugar perspective both of these are disastrous
because they raise blood sugar very very quickly and when blood sugar goes up
very very quickly it’s gonna come down very quickly so you’re creating a blood
sugar rollercoaster and the result is very often hypoglycemia and this is when
you feel weak and unfocused and irritated and lack of energy and you get
cravings and now of course you hear that blood sugar is a good thing we gotta
raise blood sugar and you go eat something sugary or you go have a piece
of bread and now you’re back on that roller coaster the next factor I would
want to look at is about GMOs that both sugar and bread today are very very
unnatural cane sugar is okay it’s not a GMO but most other sugar which is the
majority of sugar and high fructose corn syrup in the world come from beet sugar
and corn and those are both GMOs so most of the sugars are going to be GMO today
and even though we per se isn’t officially classified as
GMO it’s only because they didn’t have the sophistication of gene splicing of
inserting individual genetic traits and genetic sequences into the molecule so
back when they were hybridizing when they were developing wheat in the second
half of the 1900s they didn’t have that technology but the end result is pretty
much the same because what they did is they hybridized them they combined
different species of wheat different strains of wheat and now they ended up
with new products with new strains and why is that important because thousands
of years ago there was only one type of wheat and by the time the Egyptians came
around there were two types of wheat and then it took thousands of years before
they had anything more they were called Emmer and Einkorn but then when they
started hybridizing these things so humans had thousands of years to get
used to a very very limited number of wheats
where the proteins were the same over and over and over and over it was the
same type of food we were exposed to but then from 1950 and on they hybridized it
thousands of times and each time they hybridize it they bring in the parent
strains and they create a new strain then the offspring can have 5% of the
proteins that neither of the parents had so for every generation of hybridization
we can get 5% new proteins and in one study they found 14 new kinds of gluten
proteins from a single hybridization and have they done this thousands of times
and that means that the protein types have virtually nothing in common with
the grains with the wheats that humans have been exposed to for
thousands of years so whether those were okay or not they have virtually
nothing in common with the type of wheat that we’re eating today today the wheat
has about 12% protein whereas the ancient wheats like Einkorn had about
28% so we’ve changed they’ve hybridized it to make white bread to make fluffy
bread to give it shelf stability and to increase the yield and one of the
greatest reasons that they’ve worked so hard on hybridizing was that it was a
staple for a starving world so they have indeed solved a lot of feeding the world
problems by developing wheats with a higher yield but it came at the
cost of not ever testing to see if this was safe and doing it at breakneck
speeds and developing all these different proteins that we don’t really
know how humans react to and today what we see is that one of the most common
allergies that there is in mankind is that two wheat so both sugar and wheat
are very very foreign to what was on the planet thousands of years ago and we
don’t really know yet we we know that people get sick quite a bit but we
really have no idea how far-reaching these effects are next is vitamins and
sugar is a pure crystallized form of carbohydrate it has nothing else in
there it is 100% carbohydrate crystals which means it has no B vitamins it has
no minerals and vitamins and minerals are necessary for us to metabolize these
okay so when you eat sugar you get calories in order for you to convert
that sugar into energy it requires B vitamins and minerals and if it doesn’t
come with the sugar that you eat the body has to borrow it it has to steal it
from someplace else so you have a little bit of B vitamins and you have some
minerals in the body from a time when you ate some real food
and you have a little bit of reserves but every time that you eat sugar you
steal from those reserves and you’re depleting yourself so this is one of the
primary mechanisms for nutritional deficiencies much the same thing holds
true for bread but here is one of the main differences that bread is not as
bad as sugar when it comes to vitamins and minerals because bread
does have some now in white bread they pretty much strip all the nutrients away
but then they add some of them back they do what’s called fortified and one way
of thinking about that is like if you give me a dollar and then I give you a
penny back then I have fortified you so that’s kind of what they do they take
away hundreds of nutrients and they put back a few and the once they put back
our synthetic they’re isolated forms they’re not the complex versions that
nature put there in the first place so even if it’s fortified it’s still going
to be deficient and here’s also the primary difference between whole wheat
and white bread because even if white flour is a little bit better than sugar
whole wheat flour is a lot better than white flour because it does have not
just the starchy portion but it has the fiber and it has the germ which contains
some good essential fatty acids some natural complex E vitamins and some
minerals and so forth the next factor we want to look at is how does it affect
immune function so both sugar and bread both sugar and starch because starch
breaks down very quickly into sugar they both feed all the enemies in your body
so anything that you don’t want in your digestive tract such as yeast fungus
bacteria and parasites they live primarily off sugar they don’t do nearly
as well on protein and fat so when you eat sugar or starches then you’re
selectively feeding the bacteria all life-forms that you don’t want and that
starts upsetting your biome your gut flora the population of bacteria in your
gut and when that gets imbalanced now you’re more likely to get gas and
bloating and leaky gut and allergies and so forth and then there’s the issue of
immune reactions to the food itself so technically it’s basically impossible to
have an immune reaction to the sugar itself so in that sense the sugar is
better than the wheat but you can still have immune reactions to the enemies
that you feed when it comes to wheat however it is one of the most common
allergens so not only are you feeding the things that you don’t want but
you’re also getting allergies and sensitivities primarily from the gluten
but there are other components in there it’s not just the celiacs there’s today
there’s hundreds of different kinds of gluten and celiacs is just one of those
so even if you don’t get the severity of a celiacs reaction you can still have an
immune reaction to all those different types of gluten and here is also where
there’s a big difference between white and wheat sugar of course has no fiber
white bread has no fiber but whole wheat bread does have some fiber and this
fiber can actually be beneficial in helping to balance because it doesn’t
just feed the the pathogenic bacteria it also helps feed the beneficial bacteria
and maintain some kind of balance there so what about toxicity the sugar in
itself isn’t toxic high doses of sugar makes it toxic but of course if we eat
organic sugar then there is no toxin in itself because it is a natural molecule
it’s just a concentration that makes it toxic we still have to be concerned with
pesticides if we don’t eat organic and of course like we talked about the GMO
but when it comes to bread now there’s many many many things that make it not
so great first of all it’s grown with pesticides
things like glyphosate but then in order to make it whiter to make it more
luxurious and appealing they bleach it and that also improves the texture of
the flour and the baking properties but then they go further and they add dough
conditioners because they want the dough really really sticky and elastic kind of
rubbery because that makes for very very fluffy bread so then they add the bleach
and the dough conditioners and there’s a number of chemicals like benzoyl peroxide and calcium peroxide, calcium bromate potassium peroxide, potassium
bromate and the list goes on and on and on and all or most of these chemicals
are banned in most other countries virtually the entire Southeast Asia and
the European Union as well as many other countries have banned these substances
but in the United States we still use them because we like fluffy bread so
much and when we talk about the dose we also have to understand insulin
resistance and while there are many many different facets insulin resistance is
probably the greatest single factor that we have to be concerned with and there’s
two different ways that you can promote insulin resistance with these foods the
first one is the glycemic index anytime that you raise blood sugar dramatically
then you’re gonna have a strong insulin response and over time if you keep
adding sugar after you keep having high insulin responses when you don’t have a
famine period over the winter when you keep having these foods 365 days a year
three meals a day or more then you develop insulin resistance so the blood
sugar the high frequent blood sugar promotes insulin and will drive insulin
resistance but the other way is that fructose like we talked about here it’s
50% glucose and 50% fructose and the fructose can
only be metabolized by the liver so if you eat the even just if you eat the
recommended amount of 10% of calories from sugar you’re still getting 25 grams
of fructose on top of all the other stuff that you’re eating and fructose
can only be metabolized by the liver so it’s like force feeding the liver it’s
like over stuffing the liver and when we talk about the dose then in small
amounts if you eat organic sugar and especially
if you eat fruit sugar fructose in very small amounts if you kept that under 5
or 10 grams then it would be a healthy food because it wouldn’t overwhelm
liver and those are the kind of doses that we would get just by eating
seasonal vegetables and fruits but today we change the rules when we concentrate
them when we refine the foods now we’re getting many many many times more of
that fructose and that’s why fructose which is sort of a natural thing does become a poison and this is also why sugar seems to be the straw that
breaks the camel’s back when it comes to developing insulin resistance and
diabetes because the blood sugar itself while it is a strong factor in
developing insulin resistance and diabetes it’s not as strong as the fact
that fructose clogs up the liver because even though the glycemic index of grains
is higher than that of sugar this by itself
grains by itself is not as strong a promoter of diabetes a lot of
populations will eat grains and rice and bread until and they’ll be fine until
they introduce sugar and that kind of tips the scale and they get insulin
resistance and diabetes so there’s two factors and if you are instantly
resistant we need to limit both sugar if your insulin sensitive could be
alright in very small doses if you ate a teaspoon or two a day
then you would probably be alright I occasionally have one or two pieces of
dark chocolates but I eat it somewhere around 80% so I get about one gram of
sugar per piece and if I have one or two a day then that is not enough to really
do any damage it’s not enough to create insulin resistance or to feed any
enemies because it gets absorbed even before it gets down there when it comes
to wheat however then the dose sometimes doesn’t matter because if you are
sensitive which more and more and more people are then even one bite could set
off an immune reaction a sensitivity that promotes more inflammation that
perpetuates the gut imbalances and the leaky gut and the inflammation so sugar
could be okay in small doses but if you’re sensitive
then wheat is not okay in any amount so these are the things that we need to
understand when we talk about if sugar or bread is good or bad because it’s
different for different people it’s it depends are you overweight are you
insulin resistance how active are you and do you have a sensitivity do you
have a gut imbalance so it’s not as simple as just looking at the weight and
the calories and the glycemic index we need to understand a little bit more and
then we need to put it into practice and start noticing what’s happening in our
own bodies personally I don’t eat wheat I eat very
very little sugar but if I were to go back to eating bread at some point and
if you decided to I would say if you are insulin sensitive and if you know that
you have a strong digestion that you don’t have a sensitivity to wheat then I
would find some ancient wheats I would go back and find some Emmer
wheat and then I would find it organic I would grind it myself I would bake it
myself and I would eat the bread fresh I would freeze the leftovers and I would
avoid any of these pesticides and and any of these issues that we have talked
about if you enjoy this video you’re probably going to get a lot out of that
one thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you in the next video

About the author


  1. Learn more about what is the best for your health: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3PWgMcoh7U&list=PLpTTF6wMDLR5tjNfMLc-5RpRzxK5D0yqH

  2. Which is better for you sugar or bread? Well, is it better to get hit with a F150 truck or Silverado Truck? Does it matter in the hospital?

  3. Lol I can answer this question right away without a 20 min long video. Processed sugar and white bread are bad. Whole wheat/complex carbs are better. There.

  4. Hey, Dr Eckberg! That was great! I was wondering if you could talk about what would be a safe amount of fruit… my daughter really loves fruit and I understand the need to control her portions, but I have no idea of the negative impact that a papaya or a banana effectivelly has. Thanks!!!

  5. Thank you Dr Ekberg this is brilliant. Personally I was told and read that both aren’t good so yet again you have debunked clearly defined !!

  6. If I take a multivitamin am I still fasting? Do vitamins have calories? A lot of people have this question and nobody really talks about it.

  7. Dr. Eades has said that the Egyptians had a very heavy bread based diet and that Egyptian mummies showed signs of atherosclerosis due to their heavy bread based diet. So you have to question how healthy even ancient wheat was when heavily consumed.

  8. i like to buy a bread that contains of mix of rye, wheat and corn at my local bakery. it is very condensed/compact and somewhat yellowish in color. i don't want to die healthy :p

  9. so happy to see your effort for helping people can you do video for keto diet and type 1DM

  10. Tack för dina videos, hur är det med surdegsbröd? Jag har gått över till 23:1, men älskar att baka och saknar mina underbart goda surdegsbröd (Äter oftast ”normalt” en dag i veckan så äter det då.

  11. Hi dr.ekberg I have a question:
    Does the body in the low carb diet ( 50-100 carbs) run on fats or it runs on glucose? So can we eat a meal with protein higher than fat or a meal with just protein, without worrying about body converting protein into sugar and use it for energy instead of fat like in keto?
    Thanks, you are the best.

  12. Bread is definitely better. Why? What do you eat with a lollypop? Nothing. What do you eat with bread? Meat, lettuce, cheese, etc. In other words, you are eating food when you eat bread. Sugar is just a bunch of empty calories. I eat bread, beans, rice, noodles, and I lost 40 lbs eating them, along with lean meat, vegetables, and fruit. I can't do that eating lollipops. You can go low fat or low carb. Either one will lose weight, but you do have to eliminate sugar because it's an empty calorie. So is fat, but a keto diet burns it. I'd rather eat the carbs. You can also make your own sourdough bread which has a much lower glycemic index.

  13. Well done. Everyone should be aware that wheat germ agglutination (WGA) indirectly causes arthritis. WGA binds to joint cartilage. When the immune system attacks the WGA, joint cartilage is destroyed by friendly fire. Wheat should be a no go.

  14. Dr. Ekberg, you did not say anything on using dark unrefined cane sugar. Would this sugar have the same effects as white sugar?

  15. Thank you for this video. I’ve been buying whole organic grain, grinding the grains, and baking the bread myself. Whole wheat, flax & barley. I haven’t tried Einkorn, but will give it a try. I use this bread as a special treat, but not every day. I have been curious to know the reality of the health benefits. Thank you

  16. When I was little, as a quick snack my mother would give me a "Bread Butter and Sugar" sandwich (white bread of course.) Then to make it healthier, she cut out the butter and substituted margarine.

    I think mom was trying to kill me.

  17. Hi doctor, can you make a video about leaky gut please? (my dad believes protein causes it and I need proof that he is wrong 🙂

  18. Great information, in The Netherlands we can buy bread with low carbs, so one meal is about 20 grams of carbs. Is that ok to eat every day with cheese? Best regards from the Netherlands

  19. I don't eat either, either. 🤗 Thank you for sharing this important information with us all, & take care of yourself to. ❤🙂🐶

  20. Thanks Dr Sten my wife and i have been following your guidelines and recommendations regarding diet change we are 61m & 49ish F.

    We have both within a couple of weeks LOST weight which was so hard for us to shift that lard, SLEEP longer and better & more regular in the plumbing dept, now feeling after many years on the RIGHT track. Thank-you so much for your posts and now just sit on a copier & press 1,000,000 so we can get more of you around this sick planet. Cheers from OZ.
    Can you answer how long a women stays 49ish please.

  21. I have a question for you, what are your thoughts on the wasa sourdough rye crisp bread? I believe it's a product of Sweden. Could that be a much better option than breads?

  22. I would say this is one of your best videos, Dr. Ekberg. Appreciate the immense effort you put in to mine and compile information. All your lectures are so exploratory.

  23. i still eat oatmeal bio version, and add honey or stevia to make it sweeter, i know warm honey above 37 grades celcius is not affective , but i eat regular raw honey too, and oatmeal i still do twice a week,

  24. My wife has type 1 diabetes. When she's hypo, sugar is her friend. She stopped eating gluten and her essential tremor completely disappeared.

  25. Can you do a presentation on vegan meat and cheese substitutes? Their constituents seem to be more harmful than the real things. Are there any concerns that you have?

  26. Can you do a video on different weathers and what’s best for you? Like monk fruit, swerve, xylitol, etc? I’d trust your science!

  27. Oddly, I feel not as bad, and bounce back faster if I just eat something sugary, like candy, than something with grain, like a cookie, a sandwich, pizza, or something with grain or wheat. maybe it's just me, both are bad, but I feel worse with the whole grains, or grain in general.

  28. Gee doc, as far as it is with me, that question pretty much comes down to “pick your poison” 😅 I’m the type where, despite how much I like them, if I so much as smell either one, I can feel my jeans getting tighter haha. To my understanding, carbs are not essential as sugars can be easily produced via gluconeogenesis from protein. And hybridization/cultivation of grains are just the beginning, according to what I’ve read; pretty much every fruit and vegetable you can find in the produce section has been manipulated much the same way and that these modified forms of plants are not even original to planet earth. In some cases, if you were to see the plant’s original form (such as carrots), you may not even be able to recognize it! Many fruits have been manipulated into having a more pleasing taste (I.e. sweeter, like berries and apples, which were originally tart and much smaller), and to bear more yield (originally avocados had very little flesh and was nearly all pit, for example) And broccoli is basically a man made invention haha.
    Sugar as it occurs in nature are usually small amounts that should be inconsequential to the body. Problem is, manufacturers have amplified sugar to near narcotic levels of concentration, seems like an exaggeration but it’s really not. And unfortunately, with the way fruits have been manipulated by hybridization/cultivation, they’re simply a lesser evil. While nutrients may have been stripped from the bread, don’t the antinutrients remain (such as lectins and phytates) that do more to strip you of your own nutrient stores just to process? 🤔

    12:57 also the production of AGE’s too, right? Glycation is one of the end products that makes one age in turbo, correct?

    The nutrients that bread manufacturers do replace are of a cheaper quality and are in their isolated form? For the same reasons, I avoid/minimize as much as I can, partaking in “industrial nutrient pellets” (aka “supplements”) haha. It’s kind of funny how vegans talk about how close to nature and how nutritionally complete their diet is, yet have developed into unwitting industrial nutrient pellet junkies: Want to ruin a vegan’s day? The next time you see one holding a bottle of supplement, simply ask them which tree those were picked off of 🤣 Thank you for another great, thought provoking video, Doctor Ekberg 💜

  29. I enjoy pumpernickel bread (European- not made with wheat) It is fermented in the first step, so I was wondering about your opinion on this. It breaks down to pentosans(five ring sugars) – not glucose. I am planning to check the response shortly using my glucosemeter for interest sake.

  30. Hi Dr. Ekberg! Thank you very much for this insightful video. I am doing intermittent fasting 36/12 but on days that I eat, I eat a lot of carbs and occasionally some sugary treats but I do avoid sugary drinks. My main diet is mostly rice and side dishes that contain proteins and vegetables. What interested me about this video is when you talked about "feeding the enemies" and I wonder if intermittent fasting can balance my gut flora despite me eating the foods that can feed the bad bacteria.

  31. Dr.Ekberg, is it true that making the body depends on glucose as fuel, easier and faster from making it depends on fat? (technically).

  32. Thanks for the great VDO again Dr. Ekberg!! Maybe a next VDO: Which is Better For Your Health: Fruit (e.g. Banana) or Sugar?

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