People who eat too much white bread have larger waistlines than their friends who eat whole grains instead, according to a new study from Tufts University in Boston. That plushy white bread goes straight to your gut and then hangs out as belly fat, reports The Associated Press. In fact, white bread was a larger contributor to a bulging waistline than alcohol, sweets, or meat and potatoes.

"Waist circumference was very much associated with this high-refined-grains pattern," lead study author Katherine Tucker, an associate professor of nutritional epidemiology at Tufts, told AP. Tucker's team examined 459 healthy, middle-age people in Baltimore, Maryland who had a variety of eating habits. Specifically, they examined five different diets where one type of food was prominent: healthy food, white bread, alcohol, sweets, or meat and potatoes. And the people who ate the most white bread were also the fattest.

The Tufts researchers found that calories from refined grains settle at the waistline, which translates into a half-inch a year for people who just had to have their white bread. At the end of the study, those who indulged in white bread had three times the gain in the gut as did their peers who ate whole grains. This is serious stuff. People who have bigger waists have a higher risk of heart disease than those who weigh the same but don't carry the extra weight around the belly. Why? That has doctors stumped. The study findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.