Blog Nutrition Does Bread Make You Fat? Here’s What You Need To Know About Food And Weight Gain

Does Bread Make You Fat? Here’s What You Need To Know About Food And Weight Gain

There’s almost nothing better than a slice of buttery bread straight out of the oven. You’re probably staring at one right now, feeling guilty about wanting it. Bread has gotten a bad rap in recent years, with most low-carb diets terming it the enemy of progress. Now you want to know – does bread make you fat?

No, bread isn’t responsible for round bellies that have people huffing and puffing on the treadmill. No food is single-handedly to blame for weight gain. Weight gain is caused by eating too much in general. When you eat more calories than your body uses, you accumulate a calorie surplus and gain pounds. 

Why has bread gotten such a bad reputation? Is it a healthy food choice? Let’s look at the arguments for and against bread consumption. 

The Nutritional Value of Different Types of Bread

When people say bread is bad for you, they probably mean white bread. White bread is made from refined wheat flour. The refining process takes away the bran and germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm. This is why white bread has lower nutritional value than whole-grain bread. While vitamins and minerals are usually added back into the flour after processing, fiber is not. 

White bread is quickly digested as it doesn’t have much fiber, and its carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream fairly quickly, particularly if the bread is eaten on its own and not as part of a balanced meal. This can cause a sugar spike soon after digestion. As white bread is digested fast, it is not filling in the long term (1). You may snack on it and end up overeating. That’s not to say you can’t eat white bread if you enjoy it. Try to balance it with foods rich in protein, healthy fats, and fiber to slow down digestion of the meal.

Healthier bread is made from whole or sprouted grains. It retains its essential nutrients such as protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Examples of such breads are whole-grain bread, Ezekiel bread, and rye bread (2).

Whole-wheat bread’s nutritional value makes it a healthy choice. As it contains the bran and germ, it’s healthier than the refined variety. The bran is the outer layer of wheat grains. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The germ is the core of the grain. It’s packed with vitamins, healthy fat, and phytochemicals.

How many calories are in white bread? Below is a comprehensive list of different bread types and their nutritional value per slice.

  • White bread – 72.9 calories, 13.4 g carbs, 2.57 g protein, 0.98 g fat (3).
  • Whole-wheat bread – 81.5 calories, 13.8 g carbs, 3.95 g protein, 1.14 g fat (4).
  • Sprouted grain (Ezekiel bread) – 48.9 calories, 8.81 g carbs, 3.43 g protein, 0g fat (5).
  • Sourdough – 45.9 calories, 72.1 g carbs, 15 g protein, 3.36 g fat (6).
  • Rye bread – 82.9 calories, 15.5 g carbs, 2.27 g protein, 1.06 g fat (7).
  • Multigrain bread – 95.4 calories, 15.6 g carbs, 4.82 g protein, 1.52 g fat (8).
  • Pumpernickel bread – 65 calories, 12.4 g carbs, 2.26 g protein, 0.806g fat (9).
  • Bagel (quantity 1) – 245 calories, 47.9 g carbs, 10 g protein, 1.5g fat (10).
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does bread make you fat

Does Bread Make You Fat? There’s More to it Than Extra Pounds

The calories in wheat bread alone don’t make you fat. This may come as a surprise to you, but calories in any food can make you fat; not just those in bread. 

Overconsumption of food in general creates a calorie surplus that contributes to weight gain (11). That being said, there’s more to the criticism against white bread than weight gain.

Those who are against eating weight bread take issue with its nutritional profile. While you should get a certain amount of carbs daily, there are better sources for it. Below are some of the reasons why white bread may not be good for you. 

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Low Nutritional Value

That buttery slice of bread may be tasty, but is it nourishing? White bread made with refined flour fails to meet the most important goal of eating – to supply nutrients. When a grain is refined, it is stripped of fiber, protein, and vitamins. Starch is left, which makes white bread a poor source of nutrition. Some of the important vitamins and minerals are added back into the flour, but the fiber and healthy fats are not. 

Why do white bread manufacturers strip wheat grains of all nutrients? The bran is stripped due to its fibrous content. Without it, the bread is soft and easy to chew. The germ is stripped off due to its high-fat content that would reduce bread shelf life. 

Refining wheat creates a light, fluffy flour that bakes soft pastries. While it may be good for your taste buds, it’s certainly not good for your nutritional needs (12). 

Blood Sugar Level Spikes

Due to the low fiber and protein content, white bread is broken down fast. If eaten alone, it can cause a spike in blood sugar. Soon after absorption, blood sugar then drops rapidly. Some people become moody due to erratic blood sugar levels. 

Others look for more carbs to energize them. If you tend to snack a lot after eating a white bread sandwich for lunch, erratic blood sugar levels may be to blame (12). If you’re going to eat white bread, you should pair it with other foods that are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats to balance your meal and slow down digestion and absorption. 

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Weight Gain

White bread cannot make you fat, but it can make you eat more than you should. Remember that white bread is digested almost immediately, particularly when eaten alone, which means you won’t feel full for long (1). 

Soon after eating bread, you’ll crave something else. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up eating more than you should. Increased daily caloric intake over a long period can cause weight gain. 

Read more: A Flatbread Recipe for Every Occasion

The Case for Bread: Whole Grains Are Beneficial 

Are you a bread-lover reading this and thinking you have to say goodbye to your buttery slices? All hope is not lost. Bread is good for you, especially when it’s made from whole grains. There are many benefits of eating whole-grain bread.

The next time you’re browsing through labels in the bread aisle, favor those marked “whole grain”. Be careful though, because “whole grain” does not always mean healthy, particularly when bread has too many undesirable additives. Essentially, you should choose the bread that is made of whole grains and has the fewest unwanted added ingredients.

Below are some benefits of consuming whole-grain bread. 

Reduced Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Replacing refined grains with whole grains can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Due to the fiber and protein content, digestion of whole-grain bread doesn’t cause sugar spikes (17). 

According to the Harvard Nurses Health Study, women who ate whole-grain products daily were less at risk of death from cardiovascular disease (18).

Improves Digestive Health

Pastries made from refined flour won’t help with constipation as they’re low in fiber (23). Without fiber to help with digestion, you may spend more time on the toilet than you should. Whole grains have high fiber content, which makes them crucial for your digestive health (17). 

Helps with Weight Loss

Whole-grain bread is satiating as it contains a good amount of fiber. When paired with proteins and healthy fats to form a balanced meal, it nourishes and keeps you full for long (24). 

You’re less likely to snack after eating whole-grain bread than white bread. So, including whole-wheat bread in your diet can help you reduce your overall calorie intake and lose weight.  does bread make you fat

If Carbs in White Bread Don’t Make You Fat, What Does?

On the basic level, your weight depends on how many calories you consume, how many of those calories your body uses for energy, and how many are left for storage (25). You could say that weight gain is simply a numbers game. However, there’s more to it than choosing how much to eat.

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Your calorie consumption and retention are determined by genetic and environmental factors. Here’s how each of these factors can make you fat, according to science:

  • Genes – some people are predisposed to obesity (26).
  • Habit – children who consume high-calorie, ultra-processed foods and are obese are more likely to be obese in adulthood (27).
  • Sleep – getting less sleep puts you at a higher risk of weight gain (28).
  • Stress levels – high stress levels increase the risk of weight gain (29).
  • Less opportunity for physical exercise – mechanization of house chores and more hours spent behind the wheel or at a desk means less opportunity for physical activity.
  • TV and sedentary snacking – spending more time in front of screens encourages snacking while burning fewer calories than physical activity (30). 

How to Make Bread Part of Your Healthy Diet

Making healthy food choices is the fastest way to lose weight. You should know that a healthy diet focuses on the quality and quantity of food you eat. Below are some smart ways of making bread part of your healthy diet. 

Practice Moderation

No matter how healthy whole-grain bread is, eating an entire loaf every day won’t do you any favors. Know the daily calorie intake that will help you achieve your weight goals. Take only as much bread as you need to meet your nutritional and energy needs. Variety is also important for a healthy diet. If you ate bread for lunch, choose a different carbohydrate for dinner. 

Pair Bread with Protein and Fat

Instead of snacking on plain bread, make it a whole meal. Pair it with a protein and some healthy fat. Doing so satiates you and keeps you energetic throughout the day. 

Choose Bread, Alcohol, or Dessert when Dining Out

On a night out, you’ll have to choose your poison. You cannot have one hand in the breadbasket, another on the stem of your wine glass, and hope for dessert later on. A healthy diet requires you to make some tough choices, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. 

If you choose to have bread with your starter, skip dessert. You can have low-calorie alcohol such as gin and tonic, or skip it altogether. You can always make up for missing dessert the next time you dine out. 

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Never Accompany Bread with Another Starch

The next time you order a burger with fries, think about how much carbs you’re consuming. The burger bun is a starch that doesn’t need to be accompanied by more starch. As always, healthy diets are about making good choices. Have a burger today, save the fries for another day when your calorie intake will allow it. Pair your burger with a side salad instead.

Bake Healthy Breads at Home

When creating a calorie deficit for weight loss, it’s always a good idea to cook at home. Homemade bread is often healthier than store-bought. When you know each ingredient used, you can accurately keep track of your daily calorie intake. Here are a few tricks to use when baking healthy bread at home. 

Use Gluten-Free Flour Instead of Regular Flour

Gluten is a protein in the wheat seed. Unfortunately, some people are intolerant to it. Severe sensitivities cause stomach discomfort. There’s no connection between gluten and weight loss. However, if you’re avoiding bread due to a sensitivity, gluten-free flour may be worth experimenting with.

Substitute a Portion of Flour With Oatmeal

When combined with wheat flour, oat flour is a great ingredient for healthy bread. Most recipes use a 1:1 ratio for substitution. Although this doesn’t eliminate wheat, it reduces your consumption of it. Oatmeal is lower in carbs and high in fiber. 

Use Ground Flaxseed Meal for Low-Carb Bread

When it comes to baking, flaxseed is a powerhouse. It can substitute oil in a bread recipe using a 3:1 ratio. It can also substitute eggs. Although it has a lot of oil, flaxseed meal can be used to make bread batter. The result is healthy, low-carb bread that is more filling and rich in healthy fats. 

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Three Healthy Bread Recipes You Should Try Today

You can eat bread and stick to a healthy diet. Eating healthy bread in moderation does your body a lot of good. If you’re willing to get a little creative, here are a few bread recipes that are worth trying at home. 

Almond-Flour Zucchini Bread (170 calories per serving)

Almond flour is an excellent substitute for wheat. It gives this bread a much-needed protein boost. Zucchini bread is gluten-free, which is great for people with sensitivities. 

Excess moisture from the zucchini should be squeezed out or else your bread will be soggy. If you want to indulge your sweet tooth, add dark chocolate chips to the mix. 


  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 ¼ cups almond flour
  • ¼ cup coconut flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips 
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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 6 by 3-inch loaf pans.
  2. Wring excess moisture out of the shredded zucchini using a kitchen towel and set aside. 
  3. Whisk eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and oil.
  4. Stir the zucchini into the wet ingredients. 
  5. Whisk almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  8. Divide batter into 2 pans and bake for 40 minutes. 

Banana Coconut Bread (150 calories per serving)

This combination is low in sugar. It makes use of overripe bananas and is easy to make. 


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (2 medium-sized)
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar 
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened coconut milk 
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • ¼ cup chopped sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease an 8 by 4 by 2-inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix the mashed bananas, brown sugar, coconut milk, oil, and egg. 
  4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients to form a lumpy batter. 
  5. Pour into the pan, sprinkle with sliced almonds and coconut
  6. Bake for 50 minutes.

Pumpkin Spice Bread (161 calories per serving)

This bread contains pumpkin puree and maple syrup, which make it sweet and serve as an alternative to table sugar. The puree also makes the bread moist. 


  • 1 ¾ cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ginger powder
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet mixture, and mix well.
  5. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 50 minutes.

Read more: Gluten Free Bread Recipe: Light, Fluffy & Delicious Breads
does bread make you fat


  • Is it OK to eat bread every day?

It’s okay to eat bread every day, provided you eat it in moderation and as part of a well-balanced diet. Bread is a staple food for many people all over the world, and for good reason – it’s affordable, versatile, and can be made from a variety of grains.

However, as with any other food, too much bread can have negative health effects. It’s important to understand what types of bread are healthier and how much is considered a healthy amount to consume.

Check out our guide on 3 Meals a Day, where we share tips on how to maintain a well-balanced and healthy diet.

Types of Bread

Not all bread is created equal. Some types of bread are more nutritious and healthier than others. When choosing bread, opt for whole-grain or whole-wheat varieties over white or refined bread. Whole-grain and whole-wheat breads contain more fiber and other nutrients than their refined counterparts (31).

In a previous blog, Why Am I Not Hungry in the Morning? we discussed the importance of starting your day with a nutritious breakfast, and whole-grain or whole-wheat bread can be a great option for a healthy breakfast meal.

In addition, look out for added ingredients such as preservatives, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. These can add unnecessary calories to your bread (32, 33, 34).

Portion Control

While bread can be a nutritious part of a balanced diet, it’s important to practice portion control. The amount of bread you should eat in a day depends on your energy needs, which are influenced by various factors such as age, sex, and activity level. 

A good general guideline is to aim for 6 servings of grains per day, with at least half coming from whole-grain sources (35).

One serving of bread is typically considered to be one slice or one ounce. You should keep in mind that sandwich bread slices are often larger than the standard one-ounce serving size, so be aware of how much you’re consuming.

Other Considerations

If you have any health conditions or dietary restrictions, it’s important to consult your doctor or a registered dietitian before you make significant changes to your bread consumption. For example, individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should opt for gluten-free bread options.

It’s also important to vary your sources of carbohydrates and not rely solely on bread for your daily intake. Incorporate starchy vegetables and other whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats into your diet to ensure a diverse range of nutrients (31).

  • Is pasta better than bread?

Pasta tends to have a higher protein content than bread, which makes it a good option for vegetarians or those who are looking to increase their protein intake. If you’re concerned about gluten or wheat sensitivity, pasta also offers a gluten-free option.

However, as with bread, it’s important to choose whole-grain or whole-wheat options for maximum nutritional value. In addition, portion control is key when it comes to weight loss (36). Stick to recommended serving sizes and balance your meal with plenty of vegetables and lean protein sources.

  • Can I eat bread on a diet?

You can eat bread on a diet that doesn’t restrict carbohydrates, as long as you practice portion control and consider choosing healthy, whole-grain options. In fact, incorporating bread into your diet can help provide sustained energy and keep you feeling full.

However, if you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, bread may not be the best option for weight loss as it could spike blood sugar levels and lead to cravings for more carbs. It will certainly kick you out of ketosis.

In this case, there are alternative bread options made from ingredients such as almond flour or coconut flour that may better suit your dietary needs.

In a previous blog on Salt-Free Snacks, we discussed the importance of being mindful about what we put into our bodies. This applies to bread too – make sure to read the ingredients list and choose wisely. As with any food, moderation is the key to a healthy and balanced diet.

The Bottom Line

Eating too much of any food will make you gain weight. Bread doesn’t make you fat – excess calorie intake does. However, some types of bread are healthier than others. White bread has low nutritional value and is less filling, while whole-grain bread is packed with nutrients. As with any other food, you should consume whole-grain bread in moderation as part of a healthy diet. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


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