Are Office Lunches Making You Fat? New Study Suggests White Bread Eaters More Likely to Be Obese

Posted by on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 with 2 Comments

When we think about eating healthy at the office, we tend to think about curbing our guilty pleasures: no more potato chips, avoid the birthday cupcakes, stop drinking so much soda. But a new study out of Spain suggests that a much more innocent-sounding culprit in your office lunches may be responsible for drastically increasing your likelihood of obesity… good, old-fashioned white bread. 

white bread loaf on cutting board

White bread may lead to higher levels of obesity.
Image source: Flickr user mitchenall

For five years, researchers monitored the eating habits of more than 9,000 college graduates through regular surveys. They found that people who ate three slices of white bread per day (not too outrageous – that would be a sandwich and a piece of toast!) were 40 percent more likely to become obese when compared to those who ate white bread once per week. However, not all bread showed the same effect: people who ate whole grain breads were not more likely to be obese.

The study, which was presented at the European Congress on Obesity, does leave a few questions… namely, is it specifically the white bread that makes people fat, or do people who eat three slices of white bread every day tend to have worse diets overall? There’s no direct cause-and-effect relationship established, but given what we know about the way refined carbohydrates (like those found in white bread) are rapidly digested and can lead to belly fat, it’s reasonable to assume that white bread shouldn’t be dietary staple for people who want to eat healthy.

giant sandwich on white bread

Tons of meat and cheese aren’t the only health risks at this office meal!
Image source: Flickr user incase

Instead, as the study’s lead author University of Navarra professor Miguel Martinez-Gonzalez suggests, go for fiber-rich whole grains: “When you use refined flour for making bread, you lose the bran and the germ, and you lose essential nutritious components for the diet, such as vitamins. [Fiber] slows the absorption of sugars, but refined bread is almost like a bomb of sugar.”

A sugar bomb in your sandwich? No, thank you! From the local deli or a mega-chain, it’s clear that choosing whole grain bread instead of white is a better choice for your waistline… and whole grains aren’t just good for you when it comes to preventing obesity. Thanks to their higher levels of vitamins and fiber, they can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

Of course, sandwich bread alone isn’t the only source of refined flours you’ll encounter during your typical office lunches. Here are five easy swaps you can make at office meals to up your intake of whole grains, and potentially reduce your risk of weight gain!

whole grain bread sandwich

Whole grains are a better choice for your waistline (and your heart).
Image source: Flickr user

1) Swap a whole-wheat tortilla for flour at the Mexican place (or get a tortilla-free burrito bowl instead)

2) Choose brown rice instead of white when you eat Chinese or order sushi

3) Opt for a bowl of oatmeal instead of a piece of white-bread toast at office breakfasts

4) Request whole-grain crust from an artisan pizzeria instead of the usual white-flour delivery option

5) Ask for whole-wheat pasta when you order Italian food (and skip the breadsticks!)

Incorporating whole grains into office lunches is easy when you have plenty of choices available — which is just one of the advantages to choosing! With abundant menus, stress-free online ordering, and our convenient Virtual Cafeteria Service, we can help make healthy, wholesome (and whole grain-rich) office meals a staple of your daily diet!

When it comes to feeding employees and coworkers, make your company's food program really count! If your workplace dining plan needs to take it up a notch — or if you don't have one at all — is here to help. From Virtual Cafeteria Service to diverse menus to local takeout & offers customizable dining solutions for every business and budget. Contact us today to get started!

2 responses to “Are Office Lunches Making You Fat? New Study Suggests White Bread Eaters More Likely to Be Obese”

  1. kKirk Daviski says:

    Healthy lunch choices can be difficult in the workplace given the time constraints. Definitely you need to avoid too many refined carbs like white bread. I love making big salads with lots of different ingredients. Very filling and good tasting as well as healthy.