Why is Bread Bad For You? The Shocking Truth

Woman Eating Bread“The Whiter The Bread, The Sooner You’re Dead.”

It has been known for a long time that white bread and refined grains in general aren’t particularly nutritious.

Nutritionists and dietitians all around the world have encouraged us to eat whole grains instead.

But grains, especially gluten grains like wheat, have been under intense scrutiny in recent years.

Many respected health professionals now claim that bread and other sources of gluten grains are unnecessary at best and potentially harmful.

Bread is High in Carbs and Can Spike Blood Sugar Levels

Even whole grain bread usually isn’t made out of actual “whole” grains.

They are grains that have been pulverized into very fine flour. Even though this process reserves the nutrients, it causes these products to be digested rapidly.

The starches in bread get broken down quickly in the digestive tract and enter the bloodstream as glucose. This causes a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Even whole wheat bread spikes blood sugar faster than many candy bars (1).

When blood sugar goes up rapidly, it tends to go down just as quickly. When blood sugar goes down, we become hungry.

This is the blood sugar roller coaster that is familiar to people on high carb diets. Soon after eating, they become hungry again, which calls for another high-carb snack.

Elevated blood sugars can also cause glycation at the cellular level when the blood sugars react with proteins in the body. This is one of the components of ageing (2).

Studies on carb restricted diets (which eliminate/reduce starches and sugars) suggest that individuals who are diabetic or need to lose weight should avoid ALL grains (3, 4, 5).

Bottom Line: Most breads are made of pulverized wheat. They are easily digested and rapidly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to the notorious blood sugar “roller coaster” and stimulate overeating.

Bread Contains a Lot of Gluten

Boy Eating a Sandwich

Wheat contains a large amount of a protein called gluten.

This protein has glue-like properties (hence the name gluten) responsible for dough’s viscoelastic properties.

Evidence is mounting that a significant percentage of the population is sensitive to gluten (6, 7, 8).

When we eat bread that contains gluten (wheat, spelt, rye and barley), the immune system in our digestive tract “attacks” the gluten proteins (9).

Controlled trials in people without celiac disease show that gluten damages the wall of the digestive tract, causing pain, bloating, stool inconsistency and tiredness (10, 11).

Gluten sensitivity is also associated with some cases of schizophrenia (12, 13) and cerebellar ataxia (14, 15) – both serious disorders of the brain.

Gluten is probably harmful for most people, not just those with diagnosed celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

The only way to really know if you’re gluten sensitive is to remove gluten from your diet for 30 days and then reintroduce it and see whether it affects you.

Bottom Line: Most breads are made of gluten grains. Gluten causes an immune response in the digestive tract of susceptible individuals. This can cause digestive issues, pain, bloating, tiredness and other symptoms.

Bread Contains Other Harmful Substances

Bread Caution

Most commercial types of bread contain sugar or high fructose corn syrup, just like other processed foods.

Sugar causes many adverse effects and eating processed foods that contain it is likely to have detrimental effects on health.

Most grains also include the “anti nutrient” phytic acid.

Phytic acid is a molecule that strongly binds essential minerals like calcium, iron and zinc, preventing them from being absorbed (16).

Soaking grains before baking can degrade the phytic acid, which should improve the availability of minerals.

Bottom Line: Most breads contain sugar, which is extremely bad for you. They also contain “anti nutrients” that block the absorption of minerals like calcium, iron and zinc.

Bread is Low in Essential Nutrients

Bread

There is NO nutrient in bread that you can’t get from other foods in even greater amounts.

Even whole wheat bread isn’t as nutritious as you may think.

Not only is it low in nutrients compared to other real foods, it literally reduces the absorption of nutrients from other foods.

  • Calorie for calorie, whole grain breads contain a low amount of nutrients compared to real foods like vegetables.
  • The phytic acid blocks absorption of minerals like iron, zinc and calcium (17).
  • By damaging the intestinal lining, gluten decreases the absorption of all nutrients (18).
  • Grains do not contain all the essential amino acids and are therefore poor sources of protein for humans (19).
  • Wheat fiber may cause your body to burn through its Vitamin D stores much faster and contribute to vitamin d deficiency (20), which is associated with cancer, diabetes and death (21, 22, 23).

Bottom Line: Most breads aren’t very nutritious and the proteins in them aren’t of much use. A damaged intestinal lining along with phytic acid reduces availability of nutrients. Wheat may also exacerbate vitamin d deficiency.

Whole Wheat Raises The Bad Cholesterol

Doctor Thumbs Down

In one study, 36 men were randomized into two groups.

They were instructed to eat either whole oat cereal or whole wheat cereal (24).

After 12 weeks, the researchers measured blood lipid levels in both groups.

The oat cereal decreased LDL cholesterol and small, dense LDL. Basically, whole oats significantly improved the blood lipid profile.

However, the whole wheat cereal increased total LDL cholesterol by 8% and small, dense LDL by a whopping 60%.

Small, dense LDL is the type of cholesterol that is strongly associated with heart disease (25, 26).

What this means is that whole wheat significantly harms blood lipids and may drastically raise your risk of heart disease.

Yes, that slice of “heart-healthy” whole wheat bread may be killing you.

Bottom Line: Eating not-so-”heart healthy” whole wheat may raise small, dense LDL cholesterol by a whopping 60%. This type of cholesterol is strongly associated with heart disease.

Whole Wheat is Just “Less Bad” Than Refined Wheat

It is true that whole grain breads are better for you than breads made with refined grains. They contain more nutrients and fiber.

Wheat Field

However, they’re just the lesser of two evils. It’s like comparing unfiltered cigarettes to filtered cigarettes. Filtered cigarettes are less harmful, but that does not make them healthy.

If you really must include bread in your life, then there are some options that aren’t quite as bad.

Bread made with soaked and sprouted grains may be less bad for you than regular bread. Preparing it this way reduces the amount of phytic acid.

Ezekiel bread, for example, is made of sprouted grains. This probably makes it less unhealthy than other breads. Gluten-free breads may also be healthier than those made with gluten grains like wheat, spelt, rye and barley.

Bottom Line: Whole grain breads are better for you than breads made with refined grains, but the best option is no bread at all. Breads made with soaked and sprouted grains may be less unhealthy.

Take Home Message

Anyone who needs to lose weight, has digestive issues or is somehow affected by the western diet should eliminate bread and other sources of gluten grains.

If a damaged intestinal wall, blood sugar roller coaster, bloating, tiredness and a 60% increase in small, dense LDL isn’t a good enough reasons to quit eating bread, then I don’t know what is.

125 Comments

  1. Holmfridur Gestsdottir says:

    Thanks Kristjan. I can totally relate to the symptoms you talk about. So much so that I felt like you were speaking to me personally! I have been trying to eat as little wheat as possible but it has been sneaking in from time to time, usually when I’m not at home. I just need to quit, simple as that. So I am wondering, how long time is it going to take for the digestive tract to heal and to become symptom free, do you think?

  2. Heya Kris, I like the article: it’s especially good how you explain the gluten issue so even non experts can fully grasp and understand…who knows, maybe you’re even saving some lives? :)
    Mark

  3. Pall Gestsson says:

    Hi Kris.

    What about “Hrokkbraud”?

  4. I think it will be easier said than done. It’s something that needs to be done for myself, but what about my children? How do I cut bread out of their diet without feeding them something that tastes like cardboard? Any suggestions?

    • Cortney Matz says:

      Regina, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to eat cardboard either! I’m about a month in to this adventure, and I’ve found there are some wonderful pioneers who have gone before us and invented amazing wheat-free, gluten-free products and recipes. I just made pancakes out of almond flour, honey and eggs, and they are DELICIOUS. Paleo blogs like Maria’s health blog ( http://www.mariahealth.blogspot.com ) are a great source for products you can purchase online or recipes.
      Be patient with yourself, but definitely invest some time in looking for carb-less options. It’s worth it!

      • I totally agree! Maria`s blog is a great source, and I recommend her books as well. Great read and so many alternative recipes.

      • There are many more gluten-free options available in markets now, though some of the big chains are slower to adopt. Luckily, I can shop at Mollie Stone or Whole Foods to get gluten-free options (like pasta, bread, etc.) but you still have to be careful when eating out, especially if you suffer from celiac.

    • Google “paleo recipes” or “gluten free recipes” – there’s an entire world of free info on this online.

    • Bread isn’t a seasoning. In what way would the removal of bread make the rest of the meal taste like cardboard?

  5. Bread is everywhere. It’s hard to give up. It’s just not practical to have eggs and veggies for lunch in the office. Plus I cannot get full without bread at lunch, even if have chicken salads etc its not enough for a 32 year old man. Are wraps better for you? Plus all I think about is food when not full where bread helps.

    • Add more fat to your chicken salad. Bacon or an avocado (or both) will fill you up and keep you full longer than bread will. If you feel like you need more carbs, then have a piece of fruit or pop a sweet potato in the microwave if you have one available. It’s actually easy to not eat bread, it just takes awhile to develop new habits and learn what you like and what makes you feel good and satisfied.

    • Before I gave up bread and all grains, all I could think of was food too. I was constantly planning my next wheat filled meal, even when I wasn’t hungry. I was addicted. Replace grains with salad, meat, good fats. If you’re hungry you are doing it wrong! I use romaine lettuce leaves as a sort of wrap or taco shell and fill them with lunch meat, etc. Hard boiled eggs travel well. I use our crock pot to make pot roast and take leftovers, same with chicken. Google ‘paleo lunch ideas’. If hunger is the issue though, eat more butter and coconut oil. You won’t be sorry. Remember, blood sugar crashes after eating all that bread is probably why you feel hungry all the time.

      • Yes I agree when I eat bread/grain/pasta etc I am addicted and crave another slice of pizza or burger. Energy and mood go down, I start eating ice cream by the pint, candy and soda creep in, chips, crackers… cut it out, cravings for a few days then feeling better again.

    • But the bread doesn’t add anything of value. Bring more fruits and veggies. Have some every couple of hours. Bring protein, nuts, meat (I often bring chicken breasts or summer sausage). Your body will adjust to the missing bread at lunch. It’s tough, but if we think outside the box long enough sooner or later we’ll finally realize it’s time to actually move outside the box and make a life there.

  6. I’ve recently bought Amaranth cereal from the health shop. I’ve read that it is high in protein and very good for one, and contains no gluten. Can one substitute it for bread in one’s diet?
    There are lots of recipes on the internet and it’s now being proclaimed as the new wonder food.
    Thanks!

  7. l thought we could make bread from Einkorn flour or flour made from wheat grown the traditional way if you can tolerate gluten?

    • It’s possible, but I really don’t know. According to Dr. Davis, author of the book Wheat Belly, modern wheat is the worst. He says the old varieties (like Einkorn) are better for you.

      • Donna Paige says:

        Thank you Kris for mentioning the Einkorn wheat. I am also going to try very hard to go low carb, but I am planning on having one day a month when I can eat something I love and miss. I have the einkorn wheat, and I am hopeful it will be a better choice. I would love to know of others who have tried it and see if it gave them spikes in blood glucose, or brought back cravings.

  8. Bread is bad yes, but one thing with you is you really care for other peoples lives. Remain blessed.

  9. Agreed with this article. I feel better now that I am off bread. Even whole wheat rotis are not good. Steer clear of wheat.

  10. Instead of bread, I make pancakes (drop scones) from coconut flour, milled flax seeds and eggs for my packed lunch every day. They are so quick and easy to make:

    1 tablespoon of coconut flour
    2 tablespoons of milled flax seeds
    1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    pinch of salt
    2 -3 eggs (depending on size)

    Mix coconut flour, flax seeds, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl and mix with the melted coconut oil. Add to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. This takes a few minutes of stirring as the coconut flour is very dry and absorbent. If the mixture seems to thick and dry, add another egg and mix thoroughly. The final batter should be a thick dropping consistency.

    Place spoonfuls of the mixture on to a frying pan on a medium heat with some melted coconut oil and fry until bubbles appear on the surface on the pancakes. Flip and cook for another minute or so on the other side.

    Split and spread thickly with butter!

  11. Rafael B., PhD says:

    Excellent article on bread and the consecuences of eating a bread-based diet! Thanks.

  12. Is Ezekiel sprouted grain bread good for you or is just as bad?

    • It is less bad for you than regular bread, but it’s still bread.

      The processing method reduces the phytic acid which should increase mineral availability. If there’s no sugar added then it will definitely be a much better option than regular commercial bread. There’s still gluten in it, so avoid it if you’re gluten sensitive.

  13. Omg…bread. It’s hard to give up but worth it. My sister and I had gastritis as children frm bread eating. The doctor didn’t explain, only commanded to stop bread eating. For the first time I know why.

    It’s important to find good and sustainable substitutes least you fall back to wheat. Thanks for the article :)

  14. Matt Timmers says:

    are there any benifits to eating flax seeds?

  15. Wow I felt like the article was speaking about me. I get extremely bloated after having bread and I get bad stomach cramps. Thing is bread is everywhere, is there anything I can substitute bread with in the mean time till I am able to quit it permanently?

    • You can check out the meal plan here: http://authoritynutrition.com/low-carb-diet-meal-plan-and-menu/

      You can also google “paleo bread substitues” and see if you find anything. Diane posted a pretty great recipe in another comment above here.

      • Bernadette C says:

        You can actually get a number of very good gluten free bread mixes – I’ve found King Arthur to have one that’s a nice substitution for wheat bread. Also, try Authentic Foods. If you have a bread maker, it’s very easy to make.

        The good thing about this is, if you have to make it yourself you’re a lot less likely to eat a lot of it. It’s very tasty and has an excellent texture. Betty Crocker has also come out with a number of gluten free mixes. I’d recommend weaning yourself off all breads and sweets, but if you need a little something once in awhile, they’re very good.

        Also, they work well if you need to take something special to a party or cookout. I just pop in a batch of brownies and don’t have to worry about feeling deprived when everyone else is having birthday cake or desert. I’d also recommend Betty Hagman’s cookbooks for those who need to be gluten free. They’re worth their weight in gold.

  16. Vic Oilsteems says:

    I’ve been eating 100% wheat and whole grain bread my whole life, not eating it during a dinner meal leaves me hungry. I have never had any digestive problems of any kind. Why does the food pyramid and doctors say to eat wheat and whole grains, I don’t have a weight problem. One day somethings good for you the next day it’s not. I don’t know what to eat or drink anymore.

    • If you’re not overweight and don’t have any digestive issues then this probably doesn’t apply to you.

      “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.”

    • Also, the food pyramid was created by the USDA – US Department of AGRICULTURE. Its true agenda is to promote agriculture. Not health. The movie Fat Head (available on Netflix) talks a bit about the political agenda behind the pyramid.

  17. I would love to avoid bread and pasta. For many years I ate a high carb diet and I’ve been very sick with swelling infected skin eruptions and probably a mood disorder. It would be nice if there is a solution.

  18. Benjamin Buensuceso says:

    There are a few inaccuracies in the article I want to point out:

    “Bottom Line: Most breads are made of pulverized wheat. They are easily digested and rapidly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which can lead to the notorious blood sugar “roller coaster” and stimulate overeating.”

    Blood sugar spikes and glycemic load are highly individual, as they’re simply averaged numbers of the glycemic response of test subjects and done on fasted individuals, and they only eat that specific carbohydrate. That makes things highly individual, and people should see if it works for themselves. This is from the glycemic index website:

    “The GI value of a food is determined by feeding 10 or more healthy people a portion of the food containing 50 grams of digestible (available) carbohydrate and then measuring the effect on their blood glucose levels over the next two hours.”

    “Gluten sensitivity is also strongly associated with schizophrenia (12, 13) and cerebellar ataxia (14, 15) – both serious disorders of the brain.”

    The gluten study that you cited was locked, but I found an article that talked about the scientists in question:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/highlands_and_islands/8009930.stm

    “Researchers believe gluten-rich foods could help trigger schizophrenia in people with a genetic predisposition to the mental condition.”

    You conveniently left the part about the requirement for a genetic predisposition out. Someone less informed could think that they could get schizophrenia from simply eating gluten.

    “Most breads contain sugar, which is extremely bad for you.”

    Why is sugar bad? The research I’ve seen says that excess fructose is the only thing that’s been observed to be directly harmful to people relative to other carbohydrates, and that it all depends on context and dosage.

    “However, the whole wheat cereal increased total LDL cholesterol by 8% and small, dense LDL by a whopping 60%.”

    I saw the study and it looked interesting, but it seemed to be looking at the effects of soluble fiber in oats on LDL levels rather than looking at the negative effects of whole wheat bread, and they didn’t measure the HDL, which could have risen and have been unobserved. Know any other studies about this?

    “Grains do not contain all the essential amino acids and are therefore poor sources of protein for humans (19).”

    This can be said for almost any plant protein source. And if you eat a balanced diet, and get complete protein from meat and fish, and other incomplete proteins, it balances out.

    “Wheat fiber may cause your body to burn through its Vitamin D stores much faster and contribute to vitamin d deficiency (20), which is associated with cancer, diabetes and death (21, 22, 23).”

    The study you cited did not say anything about wheat fiber, it just said that a diet with excess fiber causes Vitamin D malabsorption.

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I just want people to get accurate information.

    • “Why is sugar bad? The research I’ve seen says that excess fructose is the only thing that’s been observed to be directly harmful to people relative to other carbohydrates, and that it all depends on context and dosage.”

      That’s kind of my point, fructose from added sugars. I’ve written other articles about this on the site.

      “I saw the study and it looked interesting, but it seemed to be looking at the effects of soluble fiber in oats on LDL levels rather than looking at the negative effects of whole wheat bread…”

      Well, but one of their findings were elevated small LDL for the wheat group, even though that’s not what they were looking for.

      “The study you cited did not say anything about wheat fiber, it just said that a diet with excess fiber causes Vitamin D malabsorption.”

      I looked it up and they used wheat bran in the study.

    • The point you make on schizophrenia is valid. I have changed the wording from:

      “Gluten sensitivity is also strongly associated with schizophrenia…” to “Gluten sensitivity is also associated with some cases of schizophrenia…”

      I didn’t conveniently leave anything out about a genetic component. Most diseases have a genetic component, not just schizophrenia.

      Thanks for the comment btw.

  19. Martha Demers says:

    Wow, now that you all have us thoroughly befuddled on what not to eat ….

    I guess moderation and individual affects are the keys to eating gluten, right??

    Loved this expression of concern for us.
    Thanks so much!

  20. Two weeks ago I cut wheat out of my diet (and other grains too). I also stopped eating sugar (except for raw honey). Since then I have had dizziness, headaches, vertigo and overall brain fogginess, my right eye has swelled up too. I was reading about gluten/wheat withdrawal symptoms and this seems to be my problem. Do you have any comments about the withdrawals some people have? Have you read about the opiate effect that sugar and wheat have on the brain? And, lastly, do you have any suggestions for lowering the effects of the withdrawals? Thanks so much! Totally on board with NO WHEAT! Woot!

    • Yes, I’ve heard of people experiencing withdrawal symptoms when removing wheat. Haven’t seen any studies on it though.

      I don’t know why your eye is swelling up though. Perhaps you should see a doctor just to make sure.

  21. What about blackbread which I believe is made from oats? Or Swedish Knaekebroe? Sandwiches without some sort of bread are hard to make and carry.

  22. It will be extremely helpful if, every time a food is deemed unhealthy, healthier options are presented.

  23. I love all these studies. Each one contradicting the last.
    Let me add some information:
    Germans eat MASSES of bread ( I have to add: it contains SALT, but no sugar).
    Obesity grew proportional with the availability of JUNK FOOD (I’m not loving it).

    In France (Italy, Spain, Turkey, Arabian countries) they eat white bread only.
    They drink (red) wine and love olive oil.
    The Chinese eat soy bean products in MASSES.

    And these are the most healthy people!

    just my 0.02 :-)

  24. I think it’s odd that you write that whole grain is better than white bread. I always thought it was the other way around, since the white bread is mostly just the starch of the grain, while the whole grain bread has all the anti-nutrients and toxins and what-have-you from the, well… whole grain. Just like how white rice is a safe food to eat, while brown rice has the bran with all its bad stuff in it go along with the food…

  25. I got hooked on breads originally by the food pyramid that showed I should eat 12 servings a day of grains.

  26. Rohit M. says:

    Is it the same for Oatmeal? Is it just as bad?

    Thanks

  27. What about wheat gluten meat replacements?

  28. I gave up bread months ago. At first it was hard, I found myself craving it. Sometimes I would give in but then after NOT eating it for a few days it would give me tummy aches so I stopped eating it.

    I get real full eating protein! I don’t care for chicken or ground beef but I do like pork. I buy a pork loin and season it with mrs. dash, please say mrs. dash is ok.

    Anyway, since mrs. dash has no salt I prefer it because I tend to swell up with too much salt.

    Anyway… I get full on protein and i also eat a lot of veggies and fruits. I cook collard greens in coconut oil with garlic and a bit of salt. Yum yum and also i love kale.

    I love smoothies also with a lot of fruit and orange juice, I do add yogurt also. I’m trying to become paleo but I do enjoy yogurt and on paleo you are supposed to stay dairy free. Hope this comment helps.

  29. I went on the Paleo Diet at the beginning of April hoping to slim down. Before, I was eating oatmeal every morning, two granola bars throughout the day, cheezits and wheat thins for lunch and a lot of Special K cereal when I got home and a normal dinner.

    I was not gaining any weight, despite not working out ever, but I could still lose some weight. On the diet I had 2 scrambled eggs and prosciutto for breakfast. Carrots, green bell peppers, salad, etc and deli meat (by itself) for lunch, healthier snacks and eating a better dinner.

    I even worked out a few times. I lost 2 pounds. Didn’t slim down a bit. In fact, I even think I gained weight in my legs. I think my middrift is slightly smaller, but that wasn’t what I wanted.

    The only good thing I got from the Paleo diet is that my stomach growled much less frequently. The no grain diet definitely isn’t for everyone.

  30. My husband is a truck driver and tries to eat as healthy as can be while on the road. Lucky for him he has me and I make him a lunch every morning. But he doesn’t eat meat, so he eats 2 sandwiches, one for lunch and one for supper. I buy Whole Grain bread. but reading this now I wonder if I’m hurting him. He does have high LDL. What could I make him for lunch instead of the sandwiches? I’m going to look up homemade soup.

    • Here’s what I do for lunch – I make up a little box with salad leaves, cucumber, olives, celery, maybe a few cherry tomatoes. Then I have another box filled with something like hard boiled eggs or cooked chicken, or cooked beef sometimes tinned fish in tomato sauce (with no added sugar). I also usually have a coconut flour pancake spread with butter as well. (the recipe is further up this page in the comments)

    • Try using romaine lettuce leaves instead of bread. I think it tastes best with chicken/tuna salad. You can also use a large romaine leaf as a wrap instead of a tortilla.

      • Donna Paige says:

        Tuna or chicken salad also tastes great in a half of a red bell pepper, uncooked. Nice and crunchy and holds the stuff inside better than a lettuce leaf. Just a little FYI.

  31. If bread is bad for me, then what on earth is good for me? I’d rather die at 70 eating and living the way I like than die at 80 or 90 with an extremely regimented lifestyle. Of course, that’s a personal decision and not right for everyone.

  32. Europeans eat everything and they are healthy. I lived myself 26 years in Spain and very healthy, as soon as I got here just four months later got high cholesterol. Every now and then I return back to Spain for a year at times, and guess what, my cholesterol goes to normal levels eating whatever I want.

    It’s all the stuff put in foods, everything is done and put on foods even stuff that does not belong in foods or is not supposed to be in foods. It is in the government’s best interest for people to have circulatory problems, that way drugs will be sold. In Europe drugs are covered by governments. So it is in their best interest for people to be healthy. Here doctors are just trained to prescribe drugs as you noticed.

    • Mina, You are so right. There are so many chemicals in the food we eat. The Gov’t doesn’t want you healthy, they want you to be sick so you have to buy the drug companies’ expensive drugs. Some of these drugs that the FDA approves cause heart, stomach problems, and even cancer. Yes, people in Europe can eat anything because the food is not loaded with chemicals.

      • Donna Paige says:

        Also I am thinking that many of the European countries do not allow GMO foods. You probably get more locally grown foods too, stuff that is fresher and not processed so much. People here stuff themselves on hamburgers and french fries.

  33. Bread has a whole lot of sugar added which takes away from any other benefit it may provide. It also contains a substance called phytic acid which interferes with the absorption of minerals like iron, zinc and calcium. Most breads contain pulverized wheat that is easily digested by the body, causing a spike in blood sugar levels followed by a sudden crash. This plays havoc with the body’s metabolism process and triggers hunger that leads to even further overeating. Cutting bread from your diet completely can be a difficult task for many due to the convenience factor of having it ready and waiting when needed but if you can manage it then you will notice the benefits almost immediately.

    For those who cannot bear the thought of eliminating bread from their diet, a healthier option would be bread having a lower glycaemic index as it not only maintains stable blood sugar levels in the body but are also rich in fibre and other nutrients as well. For more on how to use this staple food judiciously please visit my blog post http://lovefitnesseducation.com/2013/05/30/bread-a-staple-food-or-a-health-hazard/

    • Bryan Eastwood says:

      The only word we need to consider here is “balanced” – it’s not about what you eat, it’s about what you do with what you eat. Nothing in excess is good for you, even vegetables. Exercise off what you eat. Fat people need to eat less and exercise more and skinny people need to eat more and exercise accordingly. Time would be better spent condemning smoking, driving too fast and concentrating on being happy.

      • Chrystal says:

        Wow. Highly incorrect and misinformed. It is exactly about WHAT YOU EAT. No one eats excess amounts of vegetables, so you’ll never see a study about a fat person who ate nothing but spinach for a month. It would never happen. But try a person who eats grains at every single meal, as well as their grain based processed food snacks, and THAT is where you’ll see a fat person.

  34. What about soya/linseed bread? Surely that’s ok in moderation? It’s low GI and keeps me full for a long time.

  35. First, I like the article as it describes the bad effects of eating bread.

    Second and lastly, I believe it is not true that eating bread is bad for you. Why? Bread is used to hold other foods within that contains more nutrients, like bacon, tomatoes, beef slices, lettuce, butter and whatnot.

    Bread will only be really bad for your health if you only and only if you eat bread alone, without anything to go with it. There is somehow truth to the saying “No man lives by bread alone”.

    If not convinced, try eating just bread for a year. We can guess from here what will be the result.

    • It is quite easy to eat foods such as bacon, tomatoes, beef slices, lettuce and butter without adding bread!!! It is also much healthier! The bread is not needed.

  36. Concerning the person talking about the world’s “healthiest” countries, you’re just plain wrong. There is rampant disease in every industrialized nation. The truly healthiest people are indigenous hunter gatherer tribes which consume no dairy, sugar, additives, grains, etc. There has never been a recorded case of cancer, neurological disorders, and other diseases within peoples such as these, now that’s what I call healthy.

  37. Melissa says:

    Bacon isn’t healthy, lol.

  38. HI Kris,

    Thanks for the article. Can someone tell me how bad the bread is for digestion and why. For example; if you eat a salad without bread you will take some amounts of vitamins, minerals and other substances.

    What will be the difference eating some salad with bread, how much of the useful substances will not be absorbed by the digestive tract because they are mixed with bread, and WHY?

    Thanks.

    Regards, G.

  39. The freshly baked bread we eat in Northern Europe is much more healthy than the white bread you eat in other parts of the world.

    No sugar added, and whole grain, I think if you buy a bread baking machine you can choose your own ingredients and make the best healthy bread.

    We eat bread for breakfast and lunch. My dad lived until he was 95 and loved bread.

    • Omnistalgic says:

      @Bard; good post… I think the issue is important, and people do need to check their diets, but IMO, the focus should be on trying your best to make your own food. This is a challenge, but a highly beneficial one. That’s truly the best advice I can give anyone because I know I’ve been up and down different failing diets.

      If you can’t make your own bread, I recommend Ezekiel bread. It stays in the freezer because it has no preservatives or gluten. It is not quite like making your own bread from scratch, but it is a realistic alternative to white/wheat bread you buy in the supermarket.

      Balance people. If you eat a lot of vegetables, workout some, drink mostly water/green tea you’ll be fine. I get that discussions like this needs to happen, but people also need to read between the lines. Bread won’t kill you. But truly start thinking about what you are putting into your mouth every day.

  40. Your article definitely gave me some insight and awareness about how breads can be so unhealthy for us but I am a vegetarian and an Indian and we have been eating chapati (made out of wheat and has gluten) for quite a few generations.

    I also saw a documentary called forks over knives (available on Netflix) which claims that plant based products are healthier than animal based products which includes dairy products and of course one should get rid of all kind of meats. So, my question here is what exactly should I eat specially being a vegetarian and now knowing that whole grain which has gluten not being good for us either?

  41. What will be the best replacement for bread? You don’t make any suggestions.

  42. Hello

    I would like to ask about Brown Rice? Is that good for you… because I love it, whilst I have given up bread in the past and even become vegan I do love rice! But of course could give that up as well, it’s all about experimenting.

    Also, are porridge oats okay? I do feel tired generally, but do love my winter porridge fix? I do use a sugar free raspberry jam which has apple juice in it.

    Thanks for your help, my dad is diabetic so I do need to plan ahead and eat better.

  43. This is sad. Year by year, I have fewer types of foods to eat. First, I cannot eat too much chicken or meat. Then, no rice. Then, no soya products and now no bread?

    So, at the end of the day, what should I eat then? More fruits and vegetables. I am sure somebody has already written an article on the dangers of eating too many fruits/vegetables!

  44. Is bran cereal and weet-bix cereal (australian blocks of wheat) also bad? From my understanding, they haven’t been ‘pulverized’.

  45. Read this article. A heart surgeon of 25 years experience exposes the truth about Heart Disease. It is caused by inflammation of the arteries. The inflammation is directly caused by wheat and sugar and even omega 6 oils. Get rid the of inflammation and the cholesterol can flow through the arteries.

    We need to spread the message.

    http://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-surgeon-speaks-out-on-what-really-causes-heart-disease

  46. OK. I’ve found breads made with rye flour. Will this be alright? I gotta be able to make sandwiches.

  47. Kris, At the beginning of this post you state, “Many respected health professionals now claim that bread and other sources of gluten grains are unnecessary at best and potentially harmful.” Can you tell me what “respected health professionals” are making this claim?

    My research doesn’t support this at all. I know someone with Celiac disease & eliminating gluten is a must for her. Other than that, the gluten issue seems pretty much mythical and hype.

    • Hey Jen. A few names… Dr. Stephan Guyenet, Dr. Amy Myers, Dr. William Davis, Dr. David Perlmutter. There are a lot more where that came from.

      I wrote about gluten in more detail here, there are a lot more references in this post: http://authoritynutrition.com/6-shocking-reasons-why-gluten-is-bad/

      There is no evidence that gluten is bad for everyone, but gluten sensitivity is common enough that, in my opinion, everyone should at least consider the fact possibility that it may apply to them, especially those with digestive issues or any mysterious health issues.

      • Dr Mercola has a lot to say about wheat and gluten too:

        http://search.mercola.com/search/pages/Results.aspx?k=gluten

      • Thanks for the link Kris! That is a much more thorough article on gluten & I would recommend it to anyone considering eliminating gluten… so they understand WHY and what to look for to find out if that is a beneficial change for them. My concern is with the generalizations in this article, simply because people hear “gluten is bad” and “bread is bad” and they just blindly accept it and make radical changes to their diet without having a clue as to why or make wrong assumptions about the reasons.

        I was talking to a woman about a packaged, processed food (I don’t recall exactly what) & she proclaimed with excitement, “oh, it’s gluten free” as if that automatically made it healthy. Scary! BTW, I am with you on the highly processed “food” and the high fructose corn syrup. Thanks for the reply!

  48. Reg Trotman says:

    Interesting article and comments, but I’m amazed at the amount of bashing of whole grains, wheat, flour (spelt, rye included) and breads, but the seemingly general approval of “bacon, butter, beef, pork and chicken”, full of unfriendly, heart clogging animal fats.

    Yes, there are some side effects to bread and wheat, but everything in moderation and temperance in everything, hand in hand with knowledge about the product, will be the sensible application to its use. I also found some of the alternatives offered quite informative and stimulating.

  49. Sasha Flores says:

    What is a good alternative to bread then? I read somewhere once that the only good bread would be sourdough made the old fashioned way… and you mentioned soaking grains… it was along those lines.

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