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Side Effects of Giving up Bread, According to Science

Is it really that bad to have bread in your diet? We take a look at the evidence.

Whether you're simply giving up bread and settling for healthier complex carbohydrates, or you're looking to cut out all bread-like products in the future, there are quite a few side effects to know about when giving up bread for good. While bread is mostly portrayed as an "unhealthy" food, it's likely misconstrued that giving up bread could be all positive things for your body. Yet there are, in fact, a few negative side effects of giving up bread.

Here's the science—both the good and the bad—if you plan on giving up bread in the future. And for even more healthy eating tips, be sure to read up on our list of the 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.

1

You may see a decrease in energy.

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There's a reason why sports teams always host pasta dinners before the big game. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy due to the breakdown of sugars within the carbohydrate. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), when sugar levels rise in your body, insulin is released to move sugar within your body and use it as a source of energy.

Regardless of the type of bread, bread can be used for energy. By giving up bread, you're giving up a decent source of energy within your diet that you will have to find elsewhere. So make sure to turn to these 30 Best Foods That Give You All-Day Energy, According to Experts.

2

You'll lose some weight.

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If you're constantly eating bread or bread-like products and start to swap them with non-starchy veggies or protein sources, there's no denying that you'll see a significant difference in your weight (hence why diets such as keto have become so popular). Not only will your diet become healthier, but you'll also see a difference thanks to the decreased water weight in your body due to the carbohydrates. According to Medical News Today, every gram of carbs you consume comes with 3 grams of water attached to it, hence the term "water weight." By decreasing the carbs in your diet, you will see a decrease in water weight.

3

You may have a hard time in the bathroom.

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This will depend on the type of bread you consume. If you're giving up regular ol' white bread, this may not be much of a problem for you. But if you plan on giving up whole-grain bread or sprouted bread that's still full of the original fiber from the wheat, going to the bathroom may be an issue for you.

Fiber is helpful for your digestive system and keeping you regular in the bathroom, and fiber-rich bread products can be an easy way to increase your fiber intake to the recommended 25 to 30 grams a day, according to the AHA. One slice of whole-grain bread could have anywhere from 2 to 4 grams of fiber per slice (sometimes more), so a sandwich can give you almost 8 grams of fiber before you even fill it.

If you still plan on giving up bread, be sure to replace that fiber source with something else. Here's a list of 43 Best High-Fiber Foods For a Healthy Diet that will also help in the bathroom.

4

Your mood may change.

sliced bread with milk
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Did you know eating carbs can release a hormone that makes you feel good? It's true! According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), eating carbs releases serotonin, a chemical that elevates your mood and suppresses your appetite. According to Psychology Today, serotonin is a natural appetite suppressant in the body that can help curb those cravings.

This means by giving your body some of the foods you like every now and then—like bread—you'll see an improvement in your mood and your hunger. As long as you are following this Secret Formula to Always Feeling Full, According to a Dietitian when eating bread, you can still keep your meals healthy while enjoying the foods you love.

However, if you are still determined in giving up bread, be sure to add in these 50 Foods That Boost Your Mood.

5

Your risk of disease goes down.

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Vicky Ng/ Unsplash

Weight loss is likely a significant reason people decide to give up bread, but the risk of disease is also another significant reason to cut down on your bread intake. One study published by PLOS One showed how refined carbohydrates (white bread products that have been stripped of their natural nutrients, including fiber) can drive up the fatty acid levels in a person's body, which raises the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. So giving up processed, refined white bread may be wise.

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Kiersten Hickman
Kiersten Hickman is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, specializing in recipe development, food, and diet coverage. Read more
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