Why Eating Bread Isn't Good For You

Consuming white bread can be as harmful as excess sugar, so if you don't want to stop eating it, you should opt for healthier alternatives.
Why Eating Bread Isn't Good For You

Last update: 25 May, 2021

In recent years, warnings about eating bread regularly have increased. Although eating bread has been part of the human diet since ancient times, today there are many reasons to avoid it.

The basic recipe is made with refined wheat flour, water and salt. This, added to the preservatives added by some industries, means it’s not the best option at a nutritional level. In fact, due to its high carbohydrate content, it’s not recommended as part of your diet, especially if your goal is to lose weight. Eating bread every day can make you overweight and can cause other metabolic diseases.

Are there more reasons to limit bread consumption? Of course! While it may be harmless to eat it in small portions, excessive bread consumption can cause several negative reactions in the body. Find out why!

Reasons not to eat bread

A woman saying no to bread.

Below, we’re going to give you a series of reasons why including bread in your regular diet can be counterproductive.

Bread and its low nutritional quality

Bread, especially the industrial white kind, is not a nutritious food. The refining process removes the wheat germ and bran, which means bread loses many of its nutritional properties.

The result is a product with a low level of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that, due to its high concentration of starch, can hinder digestion and metabolism.

While it is not right to eliminate all carbohydrates from food, sources of flour such as bread are probably the worst option.

It contains a lot of sodium

Excessive sodium consumption can lead to some health complications, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension. What’s more, more than 77% of the amount we ingest comes from processed foods, among which we can include bread.

This refined food can come with added phosphate and sodium bicarbonate, which in excess can cause fluid retention and arterial hypertension.

  • Industrial white bread can contain up to 19 grams of salt per kilo, which is around 4.7 grams per 250-gram piece.
  • The maximum dose of salt, according to the data from the World Health Organization (WHO), is 5 grams per person per day.

It has a high glycemic index

A basket of bread rolls.

White bread is a fast-burning food with a high glycemic index. This means that because it’s not being used properly as a source of energy, it reduces insulin and produces high peaks of blood sugar.

Its effects on the body are compared with those produced by white sugar: It elevates glucose, affects the functions of the pancreas, affects metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus, and can cause you to become overweight. In addition, studies have shown that increasing blood glucose levels on a regular basis leads to insulin resistance, which is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.

It contains a lot of gluten

The wheat that bread is made with contains too much gluten. This mixture of proteins facilitates the fermentation of the food, making it more elastic, spongy, and appetizing.

The problem is that many people have a sensitive digestive system that can’t properly process gluten.

  • Gluten intolerance or celiac disease causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, gastroesophageal reflux, and inflammatory conditions. This is evidenced by a study published in Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift

How can you reduce your bread consumption?

Cutting out bread can be difficult for those who usually incorporate it in multiple ways in their regular diet. However, considering the risks involved, it’s good to start taking some measures to minimize consumption.

Replace bread

Even healthy bread sold in the supermarket can be a significant source of calories if you don’t moderate your consumption. For this reason, it is best to look for other sources of carbohydrates to replace breads in your diet.

  • There are many alternative recipes to avoid refined flours in traditional recipes. Wrapping sandwiches with green vegetables or making pizzas with cauliflower dough are some examples.

Look for options with 100% wholewheat

Homemade wholegrain bread.
Whole grain products include whole cereal parts in their production, which increases the content of healthy carbohydrates.

Breads made with wholewheat contain more properties and nutrients than white bread can provide. While it is usually a bit more expensive, it’s a healthy option regularly include in your diet. But be careful… there are some breads that are not 100% wholewheat. It’s important to check the labels to determine if they have this property in its entirety or if they contain a combination of whole grain and refined flour.

Avoid the breadbasket

There are many restaurants that serve bread baskets as an accompaniment to their meals. In order to avoid eating bread, an ideal option would be to ask the waiter not to leave it on the table.

Reduce bread consumption to improve health

How often do you consume bread? What variety do you choose? Now that you know the negative effects, try to find other healthier foods to replace it.

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  • Chmielewski J., Carmody JB., Dietary sodium, dietary potassium, and systolic blood pressure in US adolesecents. J Clin Hypertens, 2017. 19 (9): 904-909.
  • Softic S., Gupta MK., Wang GX., Fujisaka S., et al., Divergent effects of glucose and fructose on hepatic lipogenesis and insulin signaling. J Clin Invest, 2017. 127 (11): 4059-4079.
  • Schumann M., Lebenheim L., Celiac disease. Dtsch Med Wochennschr, 2016. 141 (20): 1474-1477.