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?

22 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.

    Thanks

    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
    ~Shirian

  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!  

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