Is fruit better than bread?
Are potatoes bad for you?
All of these items consist mainly of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles. They also prevent protein (and muscle) from being used as an energy source and enable fat metabolism.
Carbohydrates are basically made up of sugar, starch, and fiber. Sugar and starch provide glucose, which is the preferred source of energy for the body (glycogen). It’s also the primary form of fuel used by your brain. Simple carbs such as fruits, and complex carbs such as grains, potatoes, beans, and vegetables are healthy carbohydrate sources because they combine starches with fiber, as well as promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, and a host of important phytonutrients. Fiber provides health benefits for the gut, helps to control cholesterol, and helps you to feel fuller longer.
Whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are well known for their nutrient content. Some are even considered superfoods because of it — and all of these leafy greens, berries, citruses, and apples are mainly carbs.
What about whole grains? A large study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found people eating the most whole grains had significantly higher amounts of fiber, energy, and polyunsaturated fats, as well as all micronutrients (except vitamin B12 and sodium). An additional study, published in 2014 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, found that whole grains contain antioxidants, which were previously thought to exist almost exclusively in fruits and vegetables.
During metabolisation all carbs break down into smaller units of sugar, such as glucose and fructose. The small intestine absorbs these smaller units, which then enter the bloodstream and travel to the liver. The liver converts all of these sugars into glucose, which is carried through the bloodstream — accompanied by insulin — and converted into energy for body functions and physical activity.
Whether we consume carbs in the form of sugar, grains, bread, candy, fruit, fructose, glucose, sucrose, galactose... does not matter if the goal is fat loss. Yes, various forms of carbs may have greater health or satiating properties than others, but in the end carbs are converted to simple sugar for use in the body as energy.
Studies have demonstrated this by having participants in a controlled caloric environment consume a huge portion of their diet in the form of fructose (a form of sugar often considered "bad" or associated with high fructose corn syrup, soda, etc). The results were no different for fat loss. Other people have demonstrated this by going on fat loss diets consisting of solely of ice cream, twinkies, snickers, mcdonalds, chipotle, etc. They still had huge weight loss and improved their blood markers. They also reported feeling terrible so I do not recommend this at all!
But I think it is pretty obvious to most people if something is "healthy." If most of your foods come from whole sources, there is nothing to fear from the occasional ice cream, candy, or treat.
The point is that what matters for weight loss first is calories. Controlling calories is paramount for fat loss. Bread simply being bread does not make us fat, neither do potatoes, or candy bars. Carbs do not make us gain weight in the presence of a calorie deficit. It is simply impossible.
So no, fruit is not "better" than bread. Potatoes are not bad for you. Potatoes, rice, fruit, and bread all can have a place in a healthy diet. Sorry, the boring answer is the right answer. There is no evil bread conspiracy from the government, the country is not getting more obese because of carbs or sugar. In fact we are eating less sugar and flour as a country and obesity continues to rise.
P.S. These statements apply to almost all, but people in disease states (diabetes, PCOS, etc) may be different.