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Eating White Bread Increases Obesity Risk

May 31, 2014 02:45 AM EDT

People who eat more than three slices of white bread per day have higher chances of developing obesity, a new research suggests.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Navarra, found that people who ate more than three or four slices of white bread per day have a 40 percent higher risk of becoming obese, The Independent reported.

"The issue is that white bread is made with highly refined flour which is rapidly absorbed as sugar," said Professor Martinez-Gonzalez, according to The Independent . "Essentially it is equivalent to a high consumption of sugar. The problem is similar to what we see with soft drinks, their sugars are rapidly transformed into fat an organism."

For the study, researchers distributed questionnaires among 9,267 Spanish university graduates and followed the participants for an average of five years, The Telegraph reported. Researchers looked at the amount of weight added by these students during the course of the study.

Researchers found that people who ate only white bread had 40 percent higher risk of becoming obese five years later when compared to other people.

The study found an association between white bread consumption and obesity and not a cause-and-effect relationship. Researchers said that people who ate whole wheat bread might have higher levels of fiber intake, which helped them lower their risk of obesity.

"A sensible recommendation would be to switch to wholegrain bread, especially for people who usually consume a lot of bread," Martinez-Gonzalez told The Independent.

The study findings were presented at the European Congress on Obesity.

Research has shown that white bread gives off smell that resembles that of corn chips, caramel and even flowers, while whole wheat bread smells earthy and malty. What's worse is that food manufacturers often mask the flavor of whole wheat bread with salt and sugar, which takes away the nutritional value of the product.

"It's completely counterintuitive to what you would expect," said Dr. Matthew Capehorn, the clinical director of the Rotherham Institute for Obesity in England New York Post reported. "Products that are lower in fat don't necessarily mean that you're going to be consuming fewer calories." The UK researchers also spoke at the Obesity conference at Bulgaria. 

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