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Will a piece of toast in the morning put me in an early grave?

The good news is I try to avoid the national brands and stick with local/regional purveyors. Here in the Chicago area, I'll generally go with Natural Ovens of Manitowac, Today's Temptation's here in Chicago, or Healthy Life out of Indiana- I usually go for whole grain or rye. Nothing like a toasted slice of bread in the AM with a little melted cheese on it...

A couple of things I've heard lately have me behooved!!!

1) Once a slice of bread has been toasted, it raises the glycemic index considerably
2) The delicious burnt parts are carcinogenic!!!

Say it ain't so!!!!!

It also took me many years to figure out that my little slice of toast with a slice of muenster or havarti is essentially like eating a slice of pizza without the sauce ( well, the sauce in this case is butter!!) ...I do use Smart Balance, but on the weekends i splurge for BUTTER!!!!

oh, and what about those little crumbs of toast that end up in the butter container..Yukko!!!..I wonder if they can cause any collateral damage after lingering in the container over time

...and why are the toaster ovens almost the size of my microwave, and take forever to toast!!! I miss my 2 slice toastmaster

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  1. "Your toast" may enable you to reach your actuarial expectancy of 78.3 years (depending on your present age)
    "You're toast" may mean you have wandered into a dangerous part of town, and you have about 6 seconds to go...:)

    1. I really don't think you need to worry about your morning toast, one slice of toast for breakfast with good cheese sounds like moderation to me. If you're really worried about the burnt parts then scrape them off. Breakfast is the most important part of the day it increase the rate of your metabolism over the day by giving it a kick start, this helps to keep peoples weight down which in turn prolongs your life span.

      If you're really worried only melt cheese on your toast every other day, or just on weekends.

      1. A lack of toast and butter would have me yearning for an early grave. Actually, a good bit of butter - or, better yet, FRYING the bread - would probably reduce that glycemic index, for the same reason that a fried potato is less HG than a baked potato. Throw a couple of eggs in there and save the rabbit food for lunch.

        1. If you ate that way all the time, perhaps. I had a heavenly piece of toasted seven grain bread with peanut butter and California blood orange marmalade on it for breakfast yesterday. I hate boring cereal as a steady diet. Sometimes I have to whip up some eggs and bacon.
          I'd be more paranoid about choking on the toast!

          1. Well, if you eat fruit you might get pesticides; vegetables, various scary microrganisms; meat, saturated fat and carcinogens from frying; ground meat, e. coli; poultry and eggs, salmonella ... The only safe course is to simply not eat.

            1. What's wrong with a higher glycemic index? It's BREAKFAST! Or didn't you want your breakfast to give you energy until after lunch?

              Carcinogenic, yeah. Fact: your body is cabable of dealing quite well with small amounts of common carcinogens. Eat four loaves of toasted bread every day for 10 years and you may double your chance of cancer, however 4 slices a day won't have a measurable effect on cancer rates.

              If you want a really screwy fact, get this: Oxygen causes cancer too. Yes, seriously.

              9 Replies
              1. re: ThreeGigs

                You misunderstand, the glycemic index is measuring the spike of blood sugar not the overall amount of energy given by a food. Higher GI numbers in food increase the risk of diabetes as well as being less useful at keeping you feeling full. Though in general the whole GI and glycemic load craze is overblown, eating sensible portions of less processed food is about all you really need to attempt.

                1. re: rockfish42

                  I'm not misunderstanding at all. The spike, and especially the *timing* of the spike is the whole point of that part of the post. It's breakfast, and the body has had no significant input for 8-12 hours, so you *want* somewhat high GI food (in moderation) for breakfast.

                  And please, PLEASE do your own research and reading up on all the studies done on high GI foods and diabetes links. Especially read up on the studies of South American populations who have a very high GI diet, and yet don't have higher instances of diabetes. In a nutshell, it's genetic, and if you aren't predisposed, then high GI foods won't affect your chances of getting diabetes.

                  1. re: ThreeGigs

                    Unless you are predisposed and then they will. In general I'm really only advocating avoiding sugary foods, feel free to eat as many potatoes or bowls of white rice as you want. You will be hungrier faster if you eat something with a high GI compared to something with a low GI. A lower glycemic response is often thought to equate to a lower insulin demand, better long-term blood glucose control and a reduction in blood lipids. The only time a high GI food is really necessary is when you're recovering from a bought of hypoglycemia. As far as South America, the high consumption of legumes in South America and fresh fruit and vegetables in Asia likely lowers the glycemic effect in these individuals. The mixing of high and low GI carbohydrates produces moderate GI values. For what I assume are US readers, eating high GI foods with a possible northern european ancestry coupled with a sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for diabetes.

                    1. re: rockfish42

                      "In general I'm really only advocating avoiding sugary foods" Okay, but.... "feel free to eat as many potatoes or bowls of white rice as you want."

                      I'm not exactly sure what you're advocating. Plain table sugar doesn't have a high GI index. It's medium. White rice has a bit of a range, but in general white rice has a GI that's the same or higher than sugar, depending on how it's cooked. And baked potatoes have a GI about 20 points higher than table sugar.

                      And don't forget, serving size *is* important. Twice as much of a low GI food will still spike just as much as half as much of a high GI food (caveat: up to a point). So "as many as you want" doesn't work well for avoiding glucose spikes either.

                    2. re: ThreeGigs

                      "In a nutshell, it's genetic, and if you aren't predisposed, then high GI foods won't affect your chances of getting diabetes."

                      I think that statement is way too doctrinaire. About 25% of people age 60 and over in the US today have full-blown diabetes. And more than a third have impaired fasting glucose (or "prediabetes"). So are you arguing that more than half of the population of older adults in the US has diabetes or prediabetes simply due to genetic predisposition (ie, as opposed to maintaining suboptimal dietary habits, setting aside any discussion of the specific contributions of high GI foods)?

                      Having said that, I do believe that genetics plays a fundamental role in longevity. And I tend to ignore the constant flow of studies reporting that eating or drinking this or that affects longevity. (We're told something different every few years, it seems.)

                      My grandmother and her large family of siblings ate large breakfasts, with toast or biscuits, plenty of butter, eggs, bacon or fried sausage, juice, and very sweet and creamy coffee for decades (followed each day by lunch and a substantial dinner with dessert). Most of them died in their late 80's or their 90's. They were relatively free of major cancers and premature coronary artery disease and stroke (although a few of them did eventually get mild diabetes), but their later years were affected by complications of Alzheimer's disease. And none of them were wine drinkers.

                      Still, they ate much less processed food over the years than most of us are eating today. High-fructose corn syrup just wasn't something that anybody was ingesting back in those days.

                      1. re: racer x

                        "About 25% of people age 60 and over in the US today have full-blown diabetes."

                        That statistic can be interpreted two ways.
                        1. People in the US born before 1948 experienced some sort of environmental influence (such as eating habits in the 1950's) that caused 25% of them to develop diabetes.
                        2. People over 60 have wrinkles, arthritis, reduced flexibility, calcium deficiencies, liver and age spots, and..increased incidence of diabetes.

                        Since you don't mention statistics for 45-60 year olds, I can't compare them to 60+, so I don't know if it's "something they ate in the 1950's" that caused the diabetes. So maybe interpretation #1 is valid. Interpretation #2 basically says "As you get older, your body doesn't work as well as it used to". Which is... true. Bodies wear out and become less tolerant to sudden changes.

                        So that's a nice statistic, that 25% of age 60+ with diabetes, but it's essentially meaningless without a bunch of other data, and I'm not sure what you're trying to say with it. Someone else might read what you said and be swayed, but I'm remembering the old "lies, damned lies, and statistics" adage.

                        "So are you arguing that more than half of the population of older adults in the US has diabetes or prediabetes simply due to genetic predisposition " -- Yes, that's pretty much about right. Genetic predisposition for diabetes plays a huge role in how well a person's body can cope with blood glucose levels.

                        Aside from genetics, there are other "risk factors" involved in diabetes. They include obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and (drumroll please) aging.
                        "The risk of developing type 2 diabetes begins to rise significantly at about age 45 years, and rises considerably after age 65 years."

                        Now, one more thing. Your words seem to indicate you believe that high GI foods *cause* diabetes. Not true. If you think it is true, can you direct me to whatever source it is you used for that info? Excess blood glucose doesn't need high GI to occur. More commonly it occurs from simply eating too much, and *that* is *supposedly* what causes the insulin resistance form of Type II. However, that remains unproven (as far as I know, feel free to direct me to new results). A high *fat* diet (not a high GI food diet) has been linked to increased diabetes rates though.

                        1. re: ThreeGigs

                          I referred to the prevalence of diabetes in older adults simply because the numbers are so impressive among the elderly. But don't focus too much on the age issue. Yes, diabetes, like arthritis and coronary artery disease, is especially common in the elderly, but an astronomical increase in rates of diabetes (specifically, non-insulin dependent, obesity-associated diabetes) and prediabetes have been documented in younger people (even children) in the US and other wealthy countries in recent years, as well.

                          As for a link between high GI foods and diabetes risk, I did not intend to offer any opinion. I was merely responding to your statement which seemed to attribute nearly all the risk for diabetes to genetics independent of lifestyle and dietary choices.

                          1. re: ThreeGigs

                            3. The bar for what constitutes "full-blown diabetes" is continually lowered by doctors and pharmaceutical companies. That is, it wasn't diagnosed as often before 1948 because the levels associated with diabetes were different then.
                            4. People didn't live as long, expect to live as long, or go to a doctor as often as they do now so they didn't develop diabetes or weren't diagnosed.

                            All this fretting over a piece of toast. Do you know what else causes diabetes because it releases insulin and leads to insulin resistance? Stress.

                      2. re: rockfish42

                        You're right, however, toasting the bread has little affect on you. Some may say that it very slightly alters the GI, but not enough to have an adverse affect on your BS. I see no difference between when I eat bread vs. toast. Certainly not enough to require me to take an extra unit of insulin. I'm a type 1 diabetic and I eat a piece of whole wheat toast (or rye) w/ butter AND peanut butter on it every morning. As for the OP, the cheese and butter will actually slow your bodies' absorption of the carbs from the toast. So, it's a good balance for breakfast b/c it's your first meal of the day (empty stomach).

                        *** I also wanted to point out that when racer x said "full blown diabetes" he must have meant Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1. T1's have no insulin production, whereas T2's are insulin resistant, but the'r pancreas still produces insulin. Just FYI.

                    3. Enjoy life, eat what you want (in reasonable quantity).

                      1. "early" assumes a baseline. will you live as long as you might if you lived on a near starvation diet? probably not. is it healthy by normal ppl standards? yes, very.

                        whole grain bread with cheese is even considered a healthy breakfast for many diabetics, actually. so unless you're supposed to be on a very, very low carb, low fat, low calorie (or wheat free / lactose free) diet, you're on solid ground.

                        1. LOL! Your toast likely has no impact, one way or another, on your longevity UNLESS you follow it with a cigarette, or some other seriously life damaging habit. Look, EVERYBODY dies from something. I've never seen any research projects that prove that those who avoid all of the things we are told to avoid live any longer than the rest of us. Well, unless you're talking about being warned not to pet poisonous critters or advice such as that. But toast?

                          Toast has a lot of lies associated with it. My mother used to burn toast with some regularity, then con me into eating it by promising it would make my straight hair curly. The only way it did that was when I ate it in a beauty salon while getting a perm.

                          Enjoy your toast!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Actually it might if that toast is white and you don't accompany it with some sort of vegetable/fruit or good amount of fats

                            1. re: rockfish42

                              Toast without butter is just dead bread.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Don't forget jams, jellies, cheeses, and meats. I think those things keep toast alive pretty well too=)

                          2. Enjoy your toast. It's not like you're eating a loaf a day, is it? Lately, my favorite is wholegrain rye with peanut butter and jam or marmalade. But I also love butter and marmite. Mmm.

                            And really sorry, but I have to do this: http://dictionary.reference.com/brows.... Can't help it; I'm a former editor/proofreader!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Kagey

                              I bought Betternpeanutbutter at Whole Foods the other day and now have it on my toast in the a.m. It is soooo good!

                              1. re: Linda VH

                                To each his or her own...I tried that and found it grossly misnamed. Icky sweet and awful. Some folks like sweet, the sweeter the better; we on the other hand find Trader Joe's Organic PB almost too sweet, and it doesn't have any sweetener added at all.

                            2. jfood agrees. Analyzing the fact that having a piece of bread with a little butter will place you in an early grave because you are not enjoying life to its fullest, worrying too much and not concentrating on smiling.

                              Eat anything you want in moderation if you like it, avoid walking in front of moving trains, give up cigarettes if you smoke and never call a really big guy with a knife a nasty name at 2 in the morning in an alley.

                              Other than that, hug you family, go out with friends, tell stories and enjoy. As mrs jfood would say, "don't sweat the small stuff."

                              1. I'm with jfood. We're all headed to the same place but very few of us got an accelerated deal because we had a piece of toast and cheese for breakfast. Look around you at people who smoke, or drink to excess, or never stop to think about what they eat, eat tons of junk and/or processed food and/or weigh a jillion pounds. Now those kinds of things constitute an engraved invite to the man with the scythe. But a piece of toast and cheese for breakfast . . . I say enjoy. Btw, I eat pretty much the same thing, except instead of using butter I melt the cheese (in the toaster oven. I love mine :-)

                                1. If you have a legitimate concern about getting a spike in carbohydrate intake (for example, you are prediabetic or in early stages of diabetes) it will help if you a) use a whole-grain bread since fiber will retard carbohydrate metabolism; 2) skip adding extra sugar in the form of jam or honey etc; 3) add some protein to your meal---save the last half of a chicken breast from last night's dinner, or put some tuna salad on your toast, or have an egg; 4) don't add other carbohydrate to the meal (fruit, fruit juice, a refined grain cereal like puffed rice or Cream of Wheat).

                                  1. You could always discuss these concerns with a professional dietitian/nutritionist, someone licensed in your state or province. Dietitians are likely to put your concerns in perspective. In the ideal world, a balanced meal, which consists of more than just a portion of food from each food group, is what you're aiming for. Mix it up: one day whole grain rye (pumpernickel) with melted cheese, a fresh whole fruit, probiotic yogurt with a couple of tablespoons of chopped walnuts and almonds - is an example.

                                    1. You're worrying too much...without having enough info.

                                      The glycemic index of toast is lowered when you add butter. The fat delays the emptying of the stomach and the processing of the carbs. Add an egg or piece of cheese and the protein and fat from them causes the GI to drop even lower. If you don't have a problem with cholesterol or calories, have at it.

                                      If you're worried that the burnt toast pieces will increase your risk of cancer, set your mind at rest about that too. Those little burnt parts contain acyrlamide, and it was a big deal a few years back in regards to potato chips and French fries. But the link between acrylamide and cancer was flimsy at best. The medical studies (just checked with the National Library of Medicine a minute ago) have never found an increased incidence of cancer in humans, only lab animals that ingested an enormous amount of the suspected substance. Go the NCI or NCBI if you want to learn more. BTW, there's much more acyrlamide in peanut butter, soup mixes and -- the big whopper -- prune juice, than there is in toast.

                                      Relax. Worry about more important things, or use all that mental energy for something

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: maria lorraine

                                        >>If you're worried that the burnt toast pieces will increase your risk of cancer,

                                        Walking down the street or sitting in traffic probably does the same thing.

                                        As someone once said, "it's always something".

                                        As someone here said, everything in moderation. Toast. Butter.

                                        Enjoy it. Life is too short even if you skip the toast.

                                        1. re: dolores

                                          I would like to have eggs with that toast.