I had a friend who lost 14 pounds recently and was really proud about it (as you might imagine). I jokingly asked her “what was your secret?”.

“It was simple”, she said, “I just stopped eating bread”.

This would normally surprise people because bread is considered sacred in our society. It is even closely associated with many cultures’ heritages and beliefs. Yet bread is not the best source of nutrients and it has been known for some time in the scientific community that bread makes you fat and is not among the best foods for weight loss.

Bread is wrongly placed at the bottom of our food pyramid which gets passed around all our schools despite many respected health professionals claiming bread and other sources of grains are unnecessary and potentially harmful. Here are some alarming facts about bread.


1. Whole Grain Bread Can Spike Blood Sugar Levels More Than A Snickers Bar

whole grain bread

Whole grain bread does not actually have whole grains in it. Flour is formed in a process where grains are broken down into a powder form like flour.  Since it is in a powder form, the body can rapidly digest the bread and let it enter the bloodstream as glucose. This raises the fat-producing hormone known as insulin. Whole grain bread even has a higher G.I (Glycemic Index) score than most candy bars such as snickers.[1]

When blood sugar goes up quickly, it can actually come crashing down just as fast causing us to get desperately hungry. This causes a perpetual cycle of eating, getting hungry then eating again.  This is the downside of an the high carbohydrate diet that many misinformed authorities try to peddle us.

As a resolution of this cycle, some scientists suggest eating a carb-restricted diet if a person suffers from diabetes or if they are overweight.[2]

Conclusion: Since the whole grains in the bread are broken down into a small refined powder, it is absorbed quickly by the body causing a spike in blood sugar levels. This why bread has such a high G.I score and it’s exactly why it scores higher than many candy bars.

2. Bread Has Lots of Gluten

gluten protein source

The main ingredient in bread is generally wheat (although there are variations of bread). Wheat contains a protein called gluten. You may have heard of people being “celiac” or having “gluten intolerance”. There is evidence to suggest that a significant percentage of the population is sensitive to gluten.[3]

Gluten has glue-like properties which gives it that elastic qualities which allow you to stretch the material when you are baking or kneading bread (perfect for making cupcakes!).

Although gluten can be great for baking, studies show there many adverse effects including bloating, stool inconsistency, damage to the wall of the intestinal tract and tiredness.

Even more alarming is that gluten has been linked with schizophrenia and can be addictive as certain opiates.[4]

Conclusion: Most bread contains gluten which can be harmful to your health. To find out if gluten is affecting you, simply remove it from your diet for 30 days and then reintroduce it. You should see a difference in your general mood. In many peoples’ experience, they report being less sluggish.  If you’d like to do this, see our gluten free bread recipes.

3. Bread Contains Other Harmful Substances

If you ever looked at the ingredients listed on the back of a packet of bread, you may wonder if you need a degree in chemistry to work out what is in it. Most bread contains sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

This sugar, the grains and the many other substances will send your pancreas into overdrive when you swallow them. A lot of these chemicals are preservatives that can stay lodged in your stomach for years.

Conclusion: Most bread has sugar in it which causes your blood sugar to spike even higher. When your blood sugar goes up, your body has to compensate by storing that extra energy in the form of fat.

4. Bread is Low in Essential Nutrients

gluten protein source

Even if we turn a blind eye to the problems with bread and focus on the nutrition, we are left disappointed. Bread is not as nutritious as other sources of food such as fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs or meat.

Even whole wheat grain bread is disappointing on the nutrition front. Not only is it low in nutrients, it also reduces the absorption of other real food. It does this for two reasons. First, the phytic acid found in whole wheat blocks minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium from being absorbed.[5] Secondly, since gluten damages the intestinal lining, less nutrients are absorbed.

Grains do not even have all the essential amino acids that humans need for muscle building and maintenance (unlike bananas which are an excellent source of amino acids).

Conclusion: Bread was traditionally a poor man’s food and is not as nutritious as it is made out to be. In fact, the grains in bread block nutrient absorption in the body. Instead of focusing on bread for your primary meal, it would be more efficient to eat other foods.

5. Whole Wheat Raises Bad Cholesterol

In many studies, whole wheat bread has been found to increase the small dense LDL cholesterol by 60% over a 12 week period (Small dense LDL has been associated with heart disease).

Cholesterol is a controversial topic because of the myths surrounding fat. We are led to believe it is fat that causes “bad” cholesterol (another debatable topic) when in fact the culprit could well be wheat.

Conclusion: Wheat has been found to raise LDL cholesterol and most breads contain wheat.[6]

Bottom Line:

Bread is one of the most consumed products in the western world. It is everywhere you look. It is in burgers, sandwiches, wraps and bread rolls. We are often told that whole grain bread is the healthiest part of the day but this could not be further from the truth. Bread in general is just a poor source of nutrients when compared to fresh vegetables, fruit, meat and fish.

The main problem with bread is the fact that wheat has undergone such a change in the last 50 years and our bodies have not adapted to it. Even though bread dominates whole shopping cart aisles, there are many good reasons not to pick it up at all.

William Kennedy

About William Kennedy

Tagline I was the fastest sperm to the egg and I have been on a winning streak ever since. Introduction I love lots of things like lifehacks, android, soccer and strangely I like to learn as well. Bragging rights Every sales job I have worked at I have been in the top 10 nationally(each company had 100+ salespeople). I don't know why but people just enjoy buying stuff from me.

21 thoughts on “5 reasons bread is the enemy of good health

    1. Hello Joel. Any kind of refinement process increases the speed the flour will be absorbed and hence can spike your blood sugar which is not good. However if you are sensitive to gluten oat flour certainly makes more sense than wheat flour. If you like oats then just eat porridge 🙂

  1. All of your examples were on processed, sliced bread… Fresh baked bread should only have few ingredients.

    I’m frankly tired of the whole “bread is bad” argument. It’s been a staple for thousands of years, saved countless of lives from starving and when made right, couldn’t be a healthier option for a quick ‘pick me up’ meal.
    It’s easy to see how people lose weight when they cut bread out too. They don’t replace it with any other similar grains, people just simply cut a chunk of food from their diet. Not the same as if they cut starches and replaced it with other alternatives.
    And why isn’t processed pasta in this article? Oh probably because you haven’t been told it’s particularly bad…

    1. Thanks for your comment Vicente. Whilst most people would agree whole grains are inappropriate for everyone of us, an important point covered above is that many breads claiming to be whole grain are not because the whole grains are ground up. It’s this processing that makes the bread fast to digest and more likely to spike blood sugar.

      I’m not the author and personally I find it difficult to live totally without bread, although I know very well if I eat it every day weight gain is sure to follow!

        1. No, as the article states, breaking whole foods into small and small parts in the refining process reduces its nutritional properties. Fiber is the indigestible material in food that slows the absorption of its carbohydrates. Removing that fiber or grinding it into microscopic particles takes away that natural buffer. White bread hits the bloodstream like straight sugar. Whole wheat slightly less so. But it is still not great on the GI index. If you must eat grains, eat them as unrefined as possible. Even the heat generated from grounding them destroys vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Steel cut oats and oat bran are the only true grains I accept in my diet because they are mostly unprocessed and contain an amazing amount of protein, fiber and phytonutrients. Most bread is full of empty calories, and like other junk food is highly addictive. It is hard giving up bread for a reason.

  2. I’ve given up bread for about 6 months (and other wheat products) and my digestive system is starting to function better. I’m less bloated, less tired, I have better mental clarity and have lost weight. The tip is to replace all wheat products with rice products – you’ll notice the difference!

  3. I have not eaten bread for 10 days now. Whilst it is tempting to eat it my digestive system is a whole lot better. I have lost a little weight and have more energy. I am going through menopause so this has to be a good thing as well.
    Best of all I am not getting indigestion any more. I still eat yougurt and mashed spuds though

  4. Gosh! It really wouldn’t b easy 2 stop eating bread cz dat bn d best part of my meal for ages…
    Ain’t there some oda supplement dat sorta tastes like bread or something I cud go wt… It wnt b easy 2 avoid d craving buh I’ll try!

  5. Please guys let’s not eat bread too much (Reduce eating bread), and please guys let’s do exercise regularly.

  6. As a Dietitian I can say that this is absolutely ridiculous. WHOLE GRAINS are so good for you. They supply a good amount of your vitamins and minerals, and the fiber in them is good for your digestive tract. The way it’s metabolized is useful in prevention of cancer, along with preventing high cholesterol. I’m not sure where these “facts” came from, but the biochemistry just doesn’t support these claims. If you feel better without wheat, there are SO many different reasons for that, but it’s probably because wheat isn’t the only thing you’ve become aware of in your diet. White bread is no better for you than a snickers, that’s probably true. But whole grains are essential.

  7. Ummm… many of those whole wheat breads have added vitamins and nutrients because the cooking process along destroys much of the good. Just like in pasteurized milk and orange juice.

    You may be a dietitian, but you, much like many medical professionals, are using conventional knowledge which isn’t necessarily correct – you could site any number of food guides and look back at their former versions, ten years, twenty even, and see really significant changes.

    I’d say eating limited amounts of bread is a good idea – the article touched on some of the reasons to avoid the stuff already including the nutrient blocking (which is significant).

    Bread is conventient, delicious, but should not be confused as healthy food. There is a plethora of other options out there (thank you to the person who mentioned oatmeal) which will take care of the whole grains you’re worried about – except they’re actually whole grains, not steamed, bleached, and ground to a fine dust like bread flour.

    I gave up breads on all but special occasions just over a year ago – I dropped from 215 to 175-180, have more energy, never get heart burn or indigestion, and a lovely skin condition named psoriasis has completely disappeared from my body. And no, I haven’t increased the amount of exercise I do.

    If you think about just about anything you could replace bread with – more meat, REAL whole grains, vegetables etc, your intake of vital nutrients and minerals will increase.

    Take a poop on bread. It only pleases your taste buds.

  8. i have been eating bread thinking it will help to soak up gas in the stomach. I have been have rumbling of the stomach for months with serious belching. It is also accompanied with burning and biting sensation all over my body

  9. I am a nurse with some health issues, hyperthyroid and hypertension. I am not overweight actually skinny. My labs show normal thyroid levels due to supplements I take but still on BP med.

    My goal is to reduce or stop BP meds. Food can heal and food can promote disease. I stopped eating bread 2 weeks ago already feeling better. This makes me much more aware of the foods I choose. Almost all fast foods are gone because they all serve something on a bun. I not using most foods with flour so no cookies cakes or other baked snacks with flour.

    I am eating much healthier and foods from other cultures that I would not have tried if I didn’t change the way I eat. I am also researching Leaky Gut.

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