How Bad Is Bread for Your Diet? 5 Reasons to Avoid

Medically Reviewed on 5/24/2022
How Bad Is Bread for Your Diet
In general, bread is high in carbohydrates and relatively low in nutrients such as fiber and protein

Bread is a staple food worldwide and an integral part of many meals, available in several varieties such as white bread, whole wheat bread, multigrain bread, and sourdough bread.

When it comes to the question of whether bread is bad for your diet, the answer depends on the variety of bread you choose, how much you eat, and what you eat it with. In general, bread is high in carbohydrates and relatively low in nutrients such as fiber and protein.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourage eating whole grain bread that is made with the wheat kernel intake, which retains fiber and important nutrients such as iron, zinc, and B vitamins.

5 reasons why bread may be bad for your diet

  1. High in carbs: On average, a single slice of white bread contains about 13 grams of carbs. Simple carbs are notorious for keeping you full for very long, leading to increased hunger and a higher risk of overeating.
  2. Low in nutritional value: Bread is relatively low in important nutrients such as protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to fruits and vegetables.
  3. Spikes blood sugar: According to Harvard Health, bread has a significant amount of added sugar and a high glycemic index. Simple carbs in refined grains are absorbed into the bloodstream much more quickly than the complex carbs in whole grain foods, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, in turn increasing the risk of type II diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
  4. Weight gain: Experts have found that refined and processed foods, such as white bread and white rice, result in a greater accumulation of abdominal fat. White bread is high in carbs and calories, which your body is not able to use as efficiently for fuel.
  5. Disrupts gut microbiome: If you are consistently eating more white bread than whole grains or other fiber-rich foods, it can negatively affect the colony of bacteria in the gut. Research has shown that a diet low in whole grains is associated with imbalances in the microbiome, which is linked to irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases.

Can bread be good for your diet?

Although white bread does not offer the same nutrition as 100% whole wheat bread, bread can still be a part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation. For example whole wheat bread is higher in fiber, protein, and micronutrients such as selenium and manganese than white bread, making it a better choice than bread made from refined flour.

Whole grain bread may also have the following health benefits:

  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals:
    • Most bread producers enrich breads with nutrients lost during the refining process by fortifying their products with folic acid and iron
    • Folic acid is especially critical for pregnant women to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in newborns.
    • Iron-fortified foods help maintain optimal oxygen delivery to the tissues and organs and protect against iron deficiency anemia.
  • Fuel for the brain:
    • Despite their bad reputation, carbohydrates are not an enemy to health. These macronutrients are the body's preferred energy source, providing fuel to trillions of cells.
    • For example your brain primarily functions on glucose, a simplified form of carbohydrates. Since bread is high in carbs, eating it in moderation can provide your brain with the fuel it needs to function normally.
  • Increases serotonin levels:
    • Eating whole grain bread helps increase serotonin levels in the brain, which play a role in improving mood, suppressing cravings, and making you feel content.


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What is the nutritional composition of bread?

Nutrition facts for various types of bread vary based on the grain used and the addition of products such as bran, milk, seeds, black cumin, sesame, chickpeas, or olive oil.

Table. Nutritional value of white vs. whole wheat bread
Macronutrients White bread (1 slice = 25 grams) Whole wheat bread (1 slice = 33 grams)
Calories 67 kcal 92 kcal
Carbs 13 grams 17 grams
Fats 1 gram 2 grams
Protein 2 grams 3 grams
Fiber 0.6 grams 2 grams

Can I eat bread and still lose weight?

Whole grain bread made from wheat, oats, barley, and rye are high in nutrients and fiber, which can help you lose weight

However, since bread is higher in calories than other foods such as fruits and vegetables, it is important to keep track of your consumption to make sure you are eating the right amount. The rule of thumb for weight loss is to consume fewer calories than you burn.

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Medically Reviewed on 5/24/2022
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