With bread being such a staple of many diets I often get asked “Can I eat bread when I quit sugar?” Well the short answer is yes. And no. Let me explain…
A sugar detox is designed to rid the body of all types of sugar, so that you can break any sugar addiction cycles and free yourself from sugar cravings. These cravings are in part due to the dopamine released when we eat sugar, making it feel good to eat it, and also in part due to blood sugar level fluctuations causes by foods with high sugar content.
It’s this second reason where bread comes in.
As a rule, most breads are generally low in sugar content - although you’d be surprised just how many innocent looking loaves actually contain sugar.
But it’s not necessarily the sugar as such that can cause problems, it’s more likely to be the type of flour that the bread is made from. White bread is made from processed flour with none of the wholegrain, making it a ‘simple carb’.
These types of carbs are very quickly converted into glucose when you eat them, causing a blood sugar spike in the same way that sugary foods might. Insulin is released to level out the blood sugar levels, but overcompensates, resulting in a low blood sugar level.
When this happens, the brain sends signals get get the blood sugar levels back up, which we experience as cravings. Your brain is desperate for another quick source of glucose for the bloodstream and what could be quicker that something sweet?
In contrast, if you eat brown, wholemeal bread that uses the whole grain, there is no sudden rise in blood sugar levels. Wholegrain is a ‘complex’ carbohydrate and takes far longer to digest and thus convert into glucose, resulting in a steady, even blood sugar level. And without the rollercoaster rise and fall, you won’t experience cravings.
So can you eat bread on a sugar detox?
During a sugar cleanse I always suggest that you cut out all white grains, so that means no white breads, pastas or pastries. Eat healthier breads instead which won’t spike your blood sugars and
What are the different types of bread you should eat on a sugar detox?
Wholemeal - as this uses the whole grain it retains the nutrients and healthy compounds found in the the grain.
Sourdough - this is made from fermented dough which studies have shown is beneficial to blood sugar levels,
Spelt - this bread is made from an ancient grain. It is a close relative to wheat, but with more of a nutty flavour, which people with IBS and gluten sensitivities find easier to digest.
Rye - this keeps most of the germ and the bran from the rye grain giving it a higher fibre content than other breads. It is also a good source of protein and minerals such as magnesium.
Paleo - these breads are usually grain free made from nut meal or coconut flour and eggs.
Sprouted Breads - these loaves are made from what kernels that have been left to sprout before being ground into flour which results in them retaining more of their nutrients.
Check the nutrition label for the ‘Carbohydrate of which sugars’ and make sure it’s less than 5g per 100g. And also check the list of ingredients, especially on breads that claim to be wholemeal. It is often the case the a 'brown' loaf is still made from normal flour and not wholemeal flour. The first ingredient should be flour, and if wholemeal or whole flour are not the first ingredients on a bread claiming to be wholemeal then put it back!
So why should you do a sugar detox?
If you suffer from constant sugar cravings and feel that they might be affecting your diet them a sugar cleanse can break the sugar addiction cycle allowing you to make sensible food choices that are not dictated by cravings.
There are so many health benefits to cutting excessive sugar from your diet, including weight loss, clearer skin, increased energy, better sleep and far less risk of developing lots of diseases. You can read about all of these benefits in my blog post 17 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar.
If you would like to break your sugar habit and try out a 21 day sugar detox, then you can sign up for my program here.