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Eating Bread and Cholesterol

author image Chris Dinesen Rogers
Chris Dinesen Rogers has been online marketing for more than eight years. She has grown her own art business through SEO and social media and is a consultant specializing in SEO and website development. Her past work experience includes teaching pre-nursing students beginning biology, human anatomy and physiology. Rogers's more than 10 years in conservation makes her equally at home in the outdoors.
Eating Bread and Cholesterol
A loaf of whole grain bread on a cutting board with a knife. Photo Credit: Yulia_Mozes/iStock/Getty Images

High cholesterol presents a major risk factor for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that over 70 million Americans had high LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels. Over two-thirds of those individuals did not have their cholesterol under control. Diet plays a significant role in cholesterol, and some foods such as bread can offer healthy and unhealthy choices, depending upon the type and the ingredients.

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Nutritional Information

The primary benefits of bread and cholesterol are associated with its fiber content. A slice of white bread contains 66 calories and 0.6 g of dietary fiber. Whole wheat bread, on the other hand, contains the same number of calories yet 0.9 g of fiber. Both types of bread are low in saturated fat, containing less than 1 g each. However, bread varies widely in its overall nutritional value when you take into account other ingredients found in different types of bread and the toppings you enjoy on your bread.

Hold the Butter

Butter on your bread can increase your cholesterol.
Butter on your bread can increase your cholesterol.

What you put on your bread can affect your cholesterol intake and risk for high cholesterol. Butter and olive oil have the same amount of calories. However, the type of fat varies, affecting the overall health value of bread on cholesterol. Butter is a saturated fat. The American Heart Association strongly urges you to limit your consumption of saturated fats due to its effects on cholesterol. Rather, you should top your bread with a healthier alternative such as almond butter, which is a polyunsaturated fat and may improve your cholesterol.

Trans Fats and Cholesterol

When buying bread, you should study the label carefully for the presence of trans fats, a common ingredient in commercially-made products. Like saturated fats, trans fats can increase your LDL cholesterol. The risk of trans fats and saturated fats lies in its role in the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. A diet high in these fats cause a narrowing of the blood vessels due to plaque formation. If a portion of plaque should break free, it can clog blood vessels, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Whole Grains and Cholesterol

Oats contain soluble fiber for lowering cholesterol.
Oats contain soluble fiber for lowering cholesterol.

Your choice of bread can improve your cholesterol. Whole grains such as whole wheat bran and oatmeal can help your body eliminate excess cholesterol in the bloodstream. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble, depending upon the source. Soluble forms such as oats showed a greater effect on lowering LDL cholesterol as well as improving blood pressure and insulin response, explains a 2010 study by Pennsylvania State University. To best manage your cholesterol, you should stick with breads made with whole grains for optimal health benefits.

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