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What Do White Bread and White Sugar Do to the Body?

author image Owen Pearson
Owen Pearson is a freelance writer who began writing professionally in 2001, focusing on nutritional and health topics. After selling abstract art online for five years, Pearson published a nonfiction book detailing the process of building a successful online art business. Pearson obtained a bachelor's degree in art from the University of Rio Grande in 1997.
What Do White Bread and White Sugar Do to the Body?
White bread being toasted for breakfast. A person may eat white bread without thinking of the effects it may have on their health. Photo Credit: TongRo Images/TongRo Images/Getty Images

White bread is made through extensive processing of grains, typically wheat, to remove the bran and germs. White sugar is made through extracting sucrose from beets or sugar cane and filtering the sucrose through charred animal bones to remove impurities. Both white bread and white sugar may have several effects on your health.

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White breads and sugars are simple carbohydrates. Your body rapidly turns these nutrients into glucose, a sugar used for energy. Americans commonly use sugary foods and white breads to obtain quick boosts of energy. However, "crashes" quickly follow rapid glucose spikes, which produce fatigue. Blood sugar crashes can also impair mental function, inhibiting your ability to assimilate and recall information.

Diabetes Risk

Frequent consumption of white sugar and white bread will elevate glucose, perhaps increasing your risk of diabetes. Thus, your body either produces insufficient insulin or is no longer able to utilize it as efficiently. Insulin is a chemical responsible for neutralizing glucose and delivering it to the cells for energy. If you already have diabetes, white sugars and breads can increase symptoms such as headaches, appetite changes and fainting.

Weight Gain

Although blood glucose is necessary for energy, the unused portion not burned as fuel is stored as fat cells, perhaps leading to weight gain and obesity. Weight gain may increase your risk for stroke and heart disease. It may also place excess strain on your joints, particularly your knees.


Opt for whole grain breads, which are comprised of complex carbohydrates that turn into glucose at a much slower rate than simple carbohydrates. This may help alleviate blood glucose spikes and crashes and may help prevent weight gain. It may also help prevent diabetes and manage diabetes symptoms. Eliminate white sugars. If necessary, use natural sweeteners such as agave nectar or stevia, which have a less dramatic effect on blood glucose.

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