Does bread have cholesterol? White bread, rye and more

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Bread does not generally contain cholesterol, but varieties that include animal products, such as milk and butter, do contain cholesterol. White bread and other types made from refined grains may raise a person’s cholesterol levels.

Bread is a staple food for many different cultures, and there are hundreds of unique types.

Some varieties of bread contain dietary cholesterol, while others may raise LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol levels in the blood. However, studies suggest dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol levels.

This article further explains bread and cholesterol, the role of whole grains in managing cholesterol, and how people can follow a healthy diet to lower the risk of heart disease.

The cholesterol content of bread depends on certain factors.

There are two types of cholesterol: one in the blood and another in food, known as dietary cholesterol.

Most bread is made with flour, water, and yeast and contains no cholesterol. But some types are made using animal products with high levels of saturated fats, which often contain cholesterol.

Additionally, bread made from white or refined grains can raise LDL cholesterol levels. We explore this in further detail below.

Saturated and trans fats

Some varieties of bread contain animal products such as milk, butter, or eggs, which contain saturated fat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), foods higher in saturated fats usually contain lots of cholesterol.

However, dietary cholesterol has little effect on a person’s blood cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats in foods have a greater effect on increasing a person’s cholesterol levels.

Learn more about types of fat.

Below is a table of the approximate cholesterol and saturated fat content of various types of bread.

White bread

White bread contains refined bread flour — a process that removes the bran and germ to give the flour a finer texture.

However, the process also removes essential nutrients such as:

Therefore, manufacturers add in vitamins by “enriching” refined flour but do not replace the fiber.

This lack of fiber means that white bread is less likely to make a person feel full and more likely to overeat. Refined grains, also known as refined carbohydrates, are also digested more quickly by the body, which can raise blood sugar levels.

A person with high blood sugar levels is more likely to have higher LDL cholesterol levels and lower HDL, or good, cholesterol.

Learn more about the difference between LDL and HDL cholesterol.

Types of white bread include:

  • ciabatta
  • white pitta bread
  • white baguettes
  • focaccia
  • white sourdough
  • white wheat tortillas
  • flatbread
  • white sandwich loaf

Whole grain bread contains all the nutrients and fiber from grains, making it a good dietary fiber source.

The CDC states that fiber prevents the body from taking in some fat and cholesterol. This can lower triglyceride levels — another type of fat in the blood — and cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.

A 2019 study also found that replacing white bread, which has a high glycemic index (GI) with wholemeal bread, which has a low GI, for breakfast slowed the body’s glycemic response. Research links higher blood sugar levels with high levels of LDL cholesterol.

Types of whole grain bread include those made with the following:

  • whole wheat
  • whole barley
  • brown rice
  • whole grain oats
  • rolled oats
  • sprouted grains
  • whole rye
  • multi whole grains

Learn more about what makes whole grains so healthy.

Here are some answers to common questions about bread and cholesterol.

Does rye bread have cholesterol?

Rye bread does not have dietary cholesterol, as it does not contain butter or other animal products.

Does gluten-free bread have cholesterol?

Gluten-free bread made with animal products, such as milk, butter, or eggs, may contain some cholesterol.

Learn more about the best gluten-free bread.

Bread is a staple of many people’s diets worldwide. While most types of bread do not contain dietary cholesterol, some may include animal products high in saturated fats. Foods that are high in saturated fats are usually high in dietary cholesterol.

However, studies have shown that dietary cholesterol has little effect on blood cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is more likely to increase LDL cholesterol levels in our blood, along with refined carbohydrates such as white bread.

People should try to increase their fiber intake, including eating more whole grain bread types, which can help to lower cholesterol levels. This can reduce a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack.

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