Why Is Bread So addictive?

This post talks about the addiction to bread and how to overcome it.

When I’m working with my clients, I often need to have one of two conversations with them. One is alcohol and the other is bread. These two things are triggers for many people and they never want to give them up. I hear things like, “Can’t I just have a little piece of bread with my eggs?” or “I can eat healthy, except I don’t think I can give up bread.”

I felt the same way when I was eating the SAD (standard American) diet. Every year, I looked forward to St. Patrick s Day because I could buy a loaf of Irish soda bread and eat it up with some soft butter. It felt comforting to me.

Bread is one of the hardest things for people to eliminate from their diet because they don’t want to give it up. It’s like an addiction.

Why is Bread So Addictive?

Bread is addictive because of the high starch content that makes it almost impossible to stop eating once you’ve started. You see many people go through a sort of chemical process that makes them want to eat more. The more you eat it, the more you want it.

The thing is most bread is made from “reminded white flour” which is highly processed. White bread is high in sugar so it can be very addictive. This is why most diet programs frown about eating bread. It raises insulin and makes it difficult to lose weight and get healthy.

Some signs of Bread Addiction is:

  • Cravings for bread or crackers. Also, cravings so cookies and cakes.
  • You would rather have these bread products than any other kind of food.
  • You can not stop eating even when you are full. Perhaps you keep going back for more.
  • Later on you feel guilty and frustrated. “Why can’t I stop eating bread?”
  • You must have bread products with every meal. No way will you have cheese without crackers or eggs without toast.

Does this sound familiar? If so, you may be addicted to bread. It did to me because I was addicted not only to bread, but any starch that was high in sugar. I also had terrible side effects… It made me fat. In fact, it was probably one of the main reasons I was so unhealthy.

The bottom line is, you are not alone with your struggles to give up bread. In fact 75% of obese people are addicted to carbs.

Bread Gives a Sugar High

Although bread isn’t sugar, it raises insulin which stimulates appetite which makes it really easy to over-eat and makes it difficult to stop eating. Bread sort of gives you a sugar high. It feels good emotionally to eat bread. And when you do stop, later on, you feel sluggish. Some people even refer to the need for a nap as a crash.

Eating too much bread can cause insulin resistance

Over time, the more you eat bread products, your body can develop insulin resistance which is not good. This means your body isn’t using insulin correctly and it causes too much in your blood. This is when doctors often warn people that they are “borderline” diabetes. Or pre-diabetic. Down the road this way of eating can cause Type 2 diabetes.

Bread is comfort food?

The other issue is the emotional side of eating bread. Many of us look at bread or cookies as comfort food. It is what many people reach for when they are feeling sad, stressed, bored etc. But of course even though at the time, it is enjoyable to eat. Emotional eating is often followed by regret.

I remember the frustration of feeling out of control.

If you want to take back control and eliminate bread from your diet, I highly suggest following a Low carb diet. There are many benefits. You will lose weight and feel better.

Here’s my Tips for Starting a low carb diet.

Are you addicted to bread? How do you deal with the struggles of carb addiction?

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38 thoughts on “Why Is Bread So addictive?”

  1. I never really thought much about the impact of bread on me, but I do find that when I go through a period of eating toast and sandwiches that I do get a sort of craving for more, particularly white bread! I usually try to go wholemeal since it’s supposed to be a bit better for you.

    My other big issue is I find that eating bread (and sugary content) ends up making me feel more lethargic in the long term, whereas now I try to have fruits with some plain cereal in the morning most days, and then weekends I usually try to have eggs in some form. It was a challenge initially, but now rather than a sandwich, I just put all the ingredients of the sandwich together to make a salad instead! Too easy!

    1. Hi Zak! If you feel a bit lethargic after eating bread then I suggest also staying away from other starches as well. I’m curious if the cereal does the same thing. For me I needed to cut out the carbs and the fruits. I feel so much better eating proteins, veggies and fats.

  2. I am an expat from the USA and I am addicted to bread. Not the variety that you see often in the USA (the SAD bread variety) that is made with bleached flour and a lot of sugar, but the whole wheat and less sugar variety that is found in the local bakeries in Germany.

    The smells that the rolls and bread give off starting very early in the morning and waft through the little town I live in makes it very hard to give up, even though I know too much is not good, even when the rolls and bread are made of whole wheat or other grains that are not bleached.

    Too much of something that is good for you is most of the time not good for you. Switching to a low carb diet can help a lot, but it does take time and determination. I know in the earlier days when I was a lean, mean, fighting machine the more complex carbs I could get the better. 

    These days, not so much. The low carb diet offers a way to keep some extra pounds off and also get away from my addiction. I miss the bread though, truth be told. Good post and forces me to face my addiction and be more resolved to get back to my protein and low carb diet. Thanks!

    1. I’m so proud of you Dave! I was the same was for a long time. I missed bread the most. Now after doing this for 4 years I don’t even give it another thought. I don’t miss it. It gets much easier.

  3. Great post.  Bread is such a staple in our society when it comes to food that most people do not realize that it is bad for you.  Might as well eat a few table spoons of sugar, it will do the same thing to your body.  Spike the insulin levels and everything you eat afterward for the next couple of hours gets converted to fat.  Wild!  

  4. Addiction is very dangerous thing but highly inevitable too. No matter how much you want to prevent yourself against addiction, it just doesn’t workout easily. I eat bread a lot and actually did not know one can be addicted to bread. But while reading through the post, it occurs to me that bread is actually an addiction for me because I do eat it irrespective of any diet plan I follow, I always make a way of fitting bread into the meal plan. Its rather strange to discover this. Thanks for this post

    1. You are welcome and thank you. For me my addiction is even deeper. I am addicted to sugar. The sugar in bread, starchy veggies and sweet fruits. I didn’t realize it either until I tried eliminating it from my diet. I kept having horrible cravings and kept finding myself want to cheat. Honestly, quitting sugar was more difficult than when I quit cigarettes back in the 80s.

  5. Bread can be addictive!!! 

    I guess I never thought of bread as having the addiction potential. But after reading your post I can understand that it is a possibility. It’s a great discovery for me.

    I will have to pay more attention to the amount of bread I take and the quality of the bread. I really do not want to indulge any unhealthy habit.


    1. You’re welcome. Many people have different struggles with their relationship with food. And when it comes to cutting out carbs we are all different. For me, cutting out bread and sweets was difficult. Others have difficulty with giving up sodas. 

  6. Hi, as I was reading your post I am.surprise that bread add to weight indirectly, following your article and making more research to confirm. I found out that it is true. This information is a great help for every readers health. But you don’t talk more about the alternative please from your experience what can you suggest as alternative for bread. Expanciate on the alternative 

  7. I think that this article is spot on.  As a North American, I see so many of my neighbours that eat some form of bread with every meal.  They just feel that a meal isn’t complete without it!  They seem to feel that it is absolutely required to sop up the juices on the plate or (for me) something to slather butter on!

    My ex-husband developed Type II Diabetes and after much research settled on the Atkins diet.  I am not promoting that diet but its major focus is on eliminating those empty carbs.  I went on the diet to be supportive.  I was absolutely AMAZED at how much better I felt when I cut out all of those carbs.  I also lost about 40 pounds without EVER feeling hungry.  Your observations about the sugar high and then the crash are spot on.

    We really need to observe what we eat and how it makes us feel.  As we get older, our unhealthy eating with empty carbs will have more and more of an effect on our over all health and, ultimately, our longevity.

    1. You are so right. The American diet isn’t healthy at all. I’m so glad you feel better after cutting the carbs. 

  8. A very truthful article and a great read! I felt extremely guilty though since I am a victim of craving and eating too much bread myself. I can see now why it is so addictive and I hadn’t realized that it’s all due to sugar! Thank you for taking the time to educate us about bread and why we eat so much of it! 

  9. Wow, after reading this article, I think I’m addicted to a bread.

    The most scary thing is that bread addiction results in insulin resistance.

    My father also liked eating bread. 

    Unfortunately, he is suffering from diabetes now.

    I think I have to get out of this bad habit.

    How could I cut this bread addiction?

    Do you have any suggestion for me??

    1. The best thing is to eliminate as many carbs from your diet as possible. I keep my carbs at 20% or less. So that means I don’t eat bread, pasta, potatoes, rice or sweets. I eat a lot of green veggies, meats cheese and I eat lots of olives and other fats.

  10. Wow, By reading your post there is no way for me except it quit eating too much bread(Whole wheat bread)
    To be told true, I have been eating all sort of bread so far.

    last year I was told to be careful of consuming amount of sugar by Doctor. In my normal daily life, I’d had more than 3 cups of coffee containing a lot of sugar. I could reduce amount of drinking coffee down to a cup of coffee in a day; but in terms of bread…? Nope !It was a bit tricky. But I need to do something from now on. By the way, I’ve also read your another informative post- Tips for Starting a low carb diet- All well-written and easy to understand. I’ve bookmarked for my family’s health and further reference.
    Thanks for your informative posts

  11. It’s hard to resist bread because it’s a household staple. Even the simplest combination of bread and butter is irresistible especially if it just came right out of the oven. Even my kids love cookies and milk for snacks. Most of us are guilty for eating too much bread. There was a time when I got addicted to bagel and cream cheese that I always reached for it at breakfast. 

    I guess the thought of bread giving energy and making us full is one of the reasons why we can’t help to grab a piece of it. But you were right, though it’s hard we have to get rid of sugar and carb based food. My father in law was diagnosed with diabetes and I’m afraid that my kids could easily acquire it. Just a matter of discipline and motivation will help to stay away from bread. Thanks again for all the health information. Till next time!  

  12. Seriously, bread is so good, but at the same moment it can also be bad for your health. My wife has hypo, and she can’t eat bread, well at least not the gluten bread, and it is kind of sad for her, but I think if you look to the long term, it is better. Now, I knew they make some things in the bread to make it addictive, but never know the components. Thanks to you I know now. 

    1. Yes it is better in the long run. I was sad too going off bread. My relationship with bread was very close. But now that I have eliminated allergies, joint pain and I have a clear mind. I am so happy and will not be eating bread again.

  13. Hello Wendy, this article is very helpful and informative. I stopped eating bread 1 year ago and it was so hard because I actually was addictive to this “venom”. I can’t describe how better I feel without consuming bread and I can’t understand people who say that bread is the main product on their tables. I also see many people eat bread with potatoes, vegetables, pastries, etc when all those food should be eaten without bread.

  14. Wait what? I’ve been eating that thing every morning (*maybe i’m depressed as well but sure doesn’t seem that way*), but i do have a gloomy roommate who seems to be on the downside of life and i think that he is someone who needs comfort(*maybe that’s why he is interested in breads*), that guy is someone who lived at the crunchy side of life and suddenly he went for bread routine.

    But i didn’t know that we can get our sugar levels high because of bread (*i really should stop cutting it now don’t I*)

    Thanks for such an amazing post, keep up the good work!


  15. Hello there!
    Good article indeed. So informative as well. Most of us have the bread addiction. I also have the same. But today I have came to know why bread is so addictive. And how it causes this. You have said that it is full of starch. So why not bread is a suger? will over eating of bread cause any problem as there like diabetes causes? Though it rises insulin level as you said.

    1. Our bodies process bread the same way it does sugar. So it raises our insulin. Too much sugar in our diet is not good as it can cause many inflammatory problems and eventually cause us to become overweight or obese. So it would make sense to simply stop eating it. But the problem is that bread is so addictive, it is hard to simply stop eating it.

  16. I can’t believe so many people actually eat this common food without knowing the negative effects it has on our body system. To be honest I have not really thought of bread as an unhealthy food until after reading this post. Seems my eyes has been opened to what I have been putting into my body.

    I love bread so much and no week can go by without me eating bread. I am seriously going to have to cut that down. I am really happy I came across this post as I am no longer ignorant of the negative effects of bread.

  17. Hi

    As they say everything is okay in moderation, and this is no different with bread. White bread is not the only bread out there and you can buy wholemeal and seeded bread, which are slower to be absorbed by your body. I do not eat much White bread but  I eat seeded wholemeal read frequently, and it has not done me any harm. As excessive carbs are bad for you, so is excessive meat and drinking.

    I am a great believer in eating as balance diet, where nothing is eliminated, as this will be easier to stick to. An interesting read but I like my bread too much.



    1. It’s really about not raising blood sugar. Actually everything in moderation isn’t true for everyone. Grains raise blood sugar and this can be a real problem for someone who is a type 2 diabetic or overweight. For someone who struggles with addiction to sugar, “moderation” doesn’t work because just a little bit of grain will trigger cravings for more. And this makes things much more difficult.

  18. I can definitely say that I am addicted to bread and bread-type products like crackers with cheese, which truthfully I am eating right now. The sad thing is that I should and do know better, but in addition the bread and associated products like crackers and cake, I am a big fan of cheese.

    When certain stress from things that affect me and/or my family that I have no control over, eating this unhealthy snacks is comfort food. Everyday I need a buttered roll with my coffee and get exposed to bread in so many ways like, sandwiches, pizza crust, bagels,… At least I do not go to Panera Bread.

    I truly must get back to eating healthier. I have done it before, so I know I can do it. I just need the guts to stop my bread addiction cold turkey. That cold turkey would sure taste good between some rye bread with some lettuce and tomato. Ys I have a bread problem and I am off to read your Tips for Starting a Low Carb Diet.

    1. Robert, you are not alone. Bread addiction really is a thing that many of us struggle with. For me, I had to totally eliminate. Let me know how it works out for you.

  19. Hi Wendy,

    Great article, I honestly did not realise that bread could be addictive?
    I rarely eat any bread as i have a gut issue which doesn’t allow me to consume lots of different items in the food category.
    I tend to eat it when i am in a flare up as then it doesnt upset the gut anymore than it is already!!
    Is sour dough the same story, does that have too much sugar, or addictive?
    or does it just refer to the white breads? 
    would like to hear your feedback, or if you have a recommendation on a bread that I could consume, as I have crohns disease my menu is very limited and I am always on the hunt for things to try.

    1. Hi Jan, I highly recommend you read the book Grain Brain as it goes into huge detail about how grains affect our brain but also how it affects our gut. I totally avoid all grains. Because once processed it turns to sugar and the sugar raises my insulin. When I eat grains I feel really bloated and gassy and the next morning I feel achy and almost hungover. Now looking back after being 4 years off grains, I realize that the grains played a role in my well being as well. I used to be very depressed and suffered from anxiety. This has gone away as well. And of course, there is the weight. No grain and I don’t have to think about the scale. As soon as I eat bread, the next day I’m up.

  20. OMG for me it’s the feeling of biting into soft white bread after squishing small pieces together! What is that about?!

    1. I was the same way. But just like anything it can become a habit. Sometimes we think we can’t live without something but we can. It is about developing new healthy habits.

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