Have you ever wondered why bread makes us fat? It just seems that no matter what else we eat or how we fit the food into our diets, we instantly end up piling on the pounds.
It was something I wondered for a long time, so I delved into the research and the science behind bread. And I needed to know. The last thing I wanted to do was give up bread completely. It’s perfect for snacks and main meals.
Well, the good news is you don’t need to give it up completely. With this guide, you can find out why bread is making you fat and what you can do to stop it from happening. Yes, you can have the best of both worlds: thinness and bread in your stomach.
So it’s time to explore bread and why it leads to us getting bloated and fat. Here’s all you need to know about it.
It’s Not Fat but Bloating
The truth is we’re not exactly getting fat from eating the bread. It’s the food group within the bread that causes the problem: and mainly causes bloating. Bread is full of wheat and grains. While many of those food pyramids put these food groups at the bottom of that triangle—indicating that we need more—we’ve found that we can end up getting too much. Our bodies don’t quite handle the amount that we do get.
Sure there are fewer calories in carbohydrates than there are in fat, and bread is made up of carbohydrates. But there is a huge difference in the way that the body uses up the carbohydrates. There is also a huge difference in the way our bodies can handle all the individual ingredients.
Wheat, gluten, and starchy ingredients tend to be harder for the digestive system to push through. It takes longer to get rid of them, and that leads to us getting bloated. We feel fat, but we’re not necessarily gaining weight. In fact, the scales could tell us something completely different.
If we changed our diets slightly, by adding more proteins or healthy fats, we could see that our digestive systems appreciate it. There’s not as much pain or bloating. We start to feel thinner and accept the numbers on the scales. Our clothes fit us better.
We Eat More Bread
But there are links to eating bread and getting fat. This isn’t actually to do with the food but the amount that we eat the food. Bread just isn’t that filling. We have it for a snack but then an hour or so later we need something more substantial. Some people have a couple of slices of toast for breakfast but by 10:00 AM need something to keep them going until lunchtime.
It’s not satisfying enough throughout the day, and this is linked to the carbohydrates. There isn’t enough fibre in the bread to keep us going, and the carbohydrates break down extremely quickly and work their way through the body within hours. We end up with a sugar crash and more pangs of hunger.
And then just think about the type of food we put on the bread! We’re adding butter/margarine, chocolate spread, peanut butter, jams, and much more. All of these ingredients are full of unhealthy fats, sugars, and everything else that is bad for us. If we had some mashed banana or something with more fibre, there would be a chance that the bread would satisfy us more.
Then consider the amount that you eat in a sitting. Do you really only have one slice of bread? Chances are you’re like me and have three or four slices at a time. It doesn’t feel filling enough, so you get that need to eat more.
But then you start over-consuming your calories. It becomes harder to create a calorie deficit, so your body has to start storing the extra calories, and that is only done through fat. So, you end up gaining weight and all because you had that bread!
If you had something that had more fatty acids or more protein, you’d get a different response from your body. Your stomach would send a message to your brain sooner that you are full so you wouldn’t consume as many calories.
Think about it when you have a plate of different food groups. Let’s take a cooked breakfast, for example bacon, sausages, eggs, toast, beans, etc. When you start to feel full, you feel like you have room for the high-carb stuff but not for the items full of protein. This is because your mind knows deep down that you don’t need any other food but it’s easier to process the high-carb options. All you’re doing is adding extra calories that won’t help fuel your body, but you know that it is possible to break the carbs down.
If you actually listened to your body, you wouldn’t allow yourself to get overstuffed. This is much easier when it comes to protein and fibre foods because of the way the body breaks them down—or more importantly the speed at which they break down. Your body would then be able to start burning the calories that have been stored over time.
You Start to Crave More Bread
There’s also the issue of the cravings. When you start to eat bread, you just get this craving for more. This is especially the case when it’s just been baked, and it’s available in the store.
The reason for the cravings is linked to the carbohydrates and how they break down in the body. Remember when I said that they break down quickly? Well, the sugar in the body. You end up with a higher blood sugar level, and your body needs to react quickly to that. It does it by sending a message to the pancreas to release more insulin.
Your body can end up relying on the insulin too much. It also grows to resist it, so your blood sugar levels remain high. The pancreas needs to release more insulin, and you end up becoming more dependent on the high levels. This can lead to type II diabetes, which is also linked to weight gain and other health problems.
But your body starts to crave the sugar. It wants more from you, and this leads to you craving far more bread than you actually need. Of course, you end up consuming more calories than you need and you can’t create a calorie deficit to lose weight. Instead, you have an abundance of calories, and the body needs to store the extra somewhere.
The Insulin also helps the body store fat. Think about the diet of the sumo wrestler: it is rice. Sumo wrestlers gain fat by eating more carbohydrates because the insulin response encourages the fat storage and that helps with weight gain.
It doesn’t matter if there are already stored fats. Your body won’t get a chance to use them up as fuel. You can’t switch to the stored fat for energy, so your body just keeps storing for another day.
By changing the diet, the body learns how to use the fat better. It also learns how to store the food better, so you don’t end up with large amounts of weight gain. Your body overall functions a lot better when you cut down completely. You can still have bread, but try to make it once or twice a week instead of multiple times a day.
Doesn’t the Body Need Carbohydrates?
Sure, there is some need for carbohydrates. There’s a reason many scientists now recommend low-carb diets and not no-carb ones. However, it’s important to get the carbs form the right place. And you still need to make sure you’re adding some healthy fats to your diet. The carbs that you do need are small amounts to help fuel the body.
Foods that have some carbs but are also high in fibre are great. Vegetable sources of your carbohydrates are perfect, including potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, squash, carrots, peas, etc. You can also get them from the likes of wholegrain pasta and rice. These have more fibre in them, which helps to slow down the amount you eat.
And what about brown bread? It is better than its white counterpart, but can still make you fat. It still isn’t the most filling of options available, and you’ll need to restrain yourself on the amount that you do eat. There is also the issue of gluten in the bread, which can lead to issues with the digestive system.
Whole grain bread isn’t quite “whole grain.” Some of the grains have been pulverised into a flour form to make them extremely easy to digest. All that means is that your body can push them through quicker and they end up raising the blood sugar levels in a similar way to white bread. You still end up feeling like you’re not quite satisfied.
There are people out there who have cut out bread and other grain products. They’ve noticed some benefits, including weight loss. But it’s not just about that. They have also found that their insulin levels don’t spike as much and their digestive system works better. They find that bloating reduces, so they feel lighter and thinner.
It’s All About a Healthy and Balanced Diet
The truth is that cutting out bread and bread alone isn’t going to stop you from getting fat. Bread all on its own is not the reason you’re gaining weight. It’s all about a healthy and balanced diet. There’s no point demonising one type of food.
You can have some bread in moderation. It’s like you can have some chocolate, alcohol, or caffeine in moderation. That doesn’t stop you from focusing overall on a diet full of protein and fibre. You can still focus on getting most of your calories from grass-fed meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits.
There’s also the importance of getting the right type of bread. With wholegrain options, you stand a better chance of losing weight. You still get some of the carbohydrates that the body needs while getting more fibre. You can even help to support the digestive system with small amounts of this type of bread. But you only need a small amount, and this is instead of the white options out there.
There’s also exercise that works well to help avoid too much weight gain. You need to follow an exercise plan if you want to lose weight. This accounts for 20 percent of your efforts, so it’s definitely worth focusing on. Not only will you lose weight but you’ll be able to tone up.
It’s Time to Cut Down but Not Cut Out
Yes, bread can make you fat. It’s not just bread, but carbohydrate-high foods are linked to poor weight loss efforts. This is because of the way the body breaks down the carbohydrates.
It just seems that bread is the worst offender. The food doesn’t seem to give us the sustenance that we can get from the likes of pasta and rice. It’s often an option for snacks and quick, light meals on the go and that’s what makes it so bad. We don’t really need it, but we want it. And the more we tell ourselves no, the more we want to eat it.
Bread can make you fat, so you need to cut down on it rather than cut it down completely. You will see a benefit from this. Even if you make a switch to brown bread, make a conscious effort to cut down on the amount that you have. Your body doesn’t need half a loaf in a day and can’t cope with it!
If you have tried everything and still find that you’re gaining weight, try cutting bread out completely. There are better options out there for your carbohydrate intake, and you’ll soon find that you have more substantial meals. It could be the bread that is the cause of your problems. After all, many others have found this.