The No-Bread Diet: Common Sense or Fad?

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

2614-917179_the_cut_loaf_of_bread.jpgOver and over I hear people say that they are cutting out bread in order to lose weight.

But, what about all those other sources of carbohydrates? Don’t they matter too?

We can’t simply cut out bread and expect it to be the key to weight loss, can we?

Not exactly, there are plenty of other factors involved in losing weight.

Total Carbohydrate Intake

What you really should be thinking about is the total grams of carbohydrates you eat in a day. Recommended levels vary based on each individual’s calorie needs.

But, as a general recommendation, you should eat at least 120-130 grams of carbohydrates each day. This is likely the minimum that the brain needs to function.

Healthy Sources of Carbohydrates

If you cut out bread, but replace it with other processed carbohydrates or sugary treats, it will be counterproductive.

On the other hand, eliminating bread from the diet can help you focus on other healthy carbohydrate sources that you may not have been eating, like:2903-beans-legumes.jpg

  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans, Peas, and Legumes
  • Whole Barley
  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Fruits
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash

Why a “No Bread” Diet Can Work

If you normally eat processed white breads and doughy products, but then cut them out replacing them with healthier carbohydrate sources, you will likely lose weight.

In addition, most people end up eating fewer carbohydrates when they start a no bread diet because they may feel their choices are more limited.

Final Recommendations

Finding the perfect balance of carbohydrates can be tricky. You want to eat enough carbohydrates to properly fuel your body, but decrease the total amount slightly to help with weight loss.

For some people, I would recommend cutting down breads in order to explore other healthy carbohydrate options. For others, I would recommend just choosing a higher quality bread source like sprouted breads.

What do you think? Have you tried to cut out bread before?

16 Comments

  1. Dean

    I am a 64 year old male 6’1″ tall. I cut out bread entirely about 4 months ago and have dropped 8 lbs. now weighing in at about 180. Since I am quite active physically I did not stop other carbs such as pasta so I could keep my energy level up. My bread substitute is gluten free corn tortillas so I can still enjoy breakfast and faux sandwiches for lunch. I highly recommend it.

    Reply
  2. Jayne

    Um, in case anyone didn’t notice, there are masses of carb foods you can eat without resorting to bread. Think every type of vegetable, salads, fruit, nuts, dairy products, milk, ginger, herbs, spices, cocoa, dark chocolate – it’s all carbs, people. Good luck getting it below 130 grams! Just drink one glass of red wine and you’ve burned your entire carb allowance for the day!

    Reply
  3. Brianne

    As it turns out, glucose is the ONLY source of energy the brain uses. “The body breaks carbohydrates into glucose, which it uses to fuel brain activity. Proteins break down into glycogen, which can also be used for fuel by the brain, but not as efficiently as glucose.” says webMD. Glycogen breaks down into glucose much faster than protein. It is also easier on the body.
    My thoughts, the skinny little, pretty girls who starve themselves are not always the brightest. Why? They lack the fuel for the brain.
    Why are the nerd’s who reside in the basement and drink mountain dew as a stable so smart? They have carbs.
    It is shown in a study in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition that carb supplementation increase the cognitive function of elderly people. (http://www.ajcn.org/content/72/3/825.short)
    Carbs are great for the human body but do contain a lot of calories. Just keep most of your diet good, whole, and healthy. See nutrition labels to ensure they are whole grains.
    There is a great list of good things on this article. Use them!
    Bri

    Reply
  4. TheBumbler

    My brain is somehow still functioning and I hover between 50-80g per day. It also somehow magically supports the strength and conditioning training I do.

    Perhaps I am a mutant?

    Reply
  5. Ryan

    “you should eat at least 120-130 grams of carbohydrates each day. This is likely the minimum that the brain needs to function”
    Does anyone actually still believe this? Your brain works just fine on ketones if you go low/zero carb.

    That said, I grind spelt kernels into flour to make sourdough bread. It’s worked well as a staple for me.

    Reply
    • smartstart

      yup. Fats convert just nicely into energy.
      (I look at fats as “Stored” carbs)

      Reply
  6. T. Kallmyer

    I think that’s exactly what it is… 🙁

    Reply
  7. Lana

    It is not impractical to eat super healthy. Pouring boiling water over oat bran and flax takes like 5 seconds, and is ready to go in like 2 minutes. EASY! You sound like an advertisement for Usana supplements!

    Reply
  8. Philip Gould

    Hello, I’d like to comment about bread. Its ok to eat bread, in moderation. Whole grain and low glycemic is best. Natural and close to organic is best. I agree with Lana about oat bran. I have it every morning with flax seed meal and fresh fruit. Of course its ideal, but maybe a little impractical to always eat super healthy. Therefore, I take and recommend high quality Nutritional Supplements, such as the Usana Essentials and Biomega fish oil, taken with a meal. They give me energy, and help me digest and utilize all the nutrients in my food.

    Reply
  9. Kevin

    I switched from white bread to brown or whole grain bread. And it does help in keeping you full for a longer time and reducing weight.

    I now also eat oats, muesli and whole grain biscuits as a substitute to breads.

    Reply
  10. Lana

    I don’t eat much bread. I don’t find it filling. Even heavy whole grain/whole wheat breads I don’t find filling anymore. For carbs I will eat oats, oat bran, low sugar fruits, beans, and vegetables. Bread just seems like a waste to me. There are so many more nutritious sourcesof carbohydrates. Sprouted bread is totally different though! For example when I go to a restaurant like Subway, or Quiznos, I will get extra veggies and my sandwich wrapped in lettuce instead.

    Reply
  11. Dan

    I guess since I have counted calories I have become aware of how energy dense bread is. That means it has a lot of calories per weight volume. The other sources of carbs, such as oats, beans, rice, and corn etc. don’t have nearly so many calories per weight volume. I find these sources promote more satiety than the bread. I don’t eat too much bread now. I hardly ever eat sandwiches anymore. For instance, I mix my peanut butter with my oatmeal, rather than making a sandwich out of it. I don’t avoid bread altogether, but I do go easy on it.

    Reply
  12. Spectra

    I don’t eat bread for the most part. To me, it’s a waste of calories. I don’t eat many sandwiches, but when I do want a sandwich, I use whole grain bread and I only use one slice so I don’t get as many calories. My husband will eat slices of plain bread with dinner and I never understood that. He said that’s what his folks did when they were kids to make the food budget stretch. I think you could probably eat bread in moderation, but I do think that most Americans probably eat too much of it.

    Reply
    • StarAnna

      How about because its absolutely DELICIOUS ??????? What’s to understand about THAT . . . . . ? ?

      Reply
  13. Nicole

    Well said!

    Reply
  14. cmac611

    Neither common sense nor fad … it’s stupidity. The only thing that works is a ‘life style’ (intelligence) that recognizes excess calories eaten will translate into weight gain; that processed food with its excessive sugar and/or HFCS, unhealthy fats, and salt will translate into addiction; that sedentary behavior translate into not using any excess calories; and finally, that all of the above translate into early, preventable, and costly diseases.

    Reply