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Are You a Bread Addict?
Bread has a combination of flavor, texture and high carbohydrate content that makes it so enjoyable that many people find it hard to stop eating it – especially when it’s fresh and hot from the oven. In fact, when you eat bread, a chemical process takes place inside the body that prompts you to eat more.
It’s no surprise that diets warn us about breads — especially white bread. White bread is made from refined white flour and although tasty, it is not good for trimming our body.
Can you have a bread addiction? Ask yourself these questions:
* Do you have a desire to eat bread products instead of other foods?
* Do you have a strong craving for bread, pastry, cakes and cookies?
* Do you often continue to eat bread even when your stomach is full?
* Do you relax after eating bread products?
* Shortly after eating, do you crave more bread products?
If that sounds familiar, you may be addicted to bread. It is not surprising that about 75% of all overweight people are addicted to bread and other carbohydrate-laden products.
Well…you might be a bread addict. Why is bread so irresistible and addictive? Bread is made from whole grain. It has healthy fiber… but not all carbs. It is made from all natural ingredients but why is it so addictive to so many people?
One answer is that, at least in North American and European societies, we grow up with bread. It is served with most meals and is definitely a comfort food. Toast, dinner rolls, sandwiches, hamburgers and hotdogs, brioche. Then of course there are pastries, croissants, muffins, pies and the over-the-top-in-carbs donut.
People handle bread differently. Some can take it or leave it. They can enjoy toast for breakfast and that’s it. But if you have a mid-morning danish, muffin or donut, a hamburger for lunch, afternoon cookies, a roll or two with dinner, and maybe a bedtime snack to quell a craving, you’re addicted! You may be eating more than necessary and finding it more difficult to fit into your clothes.
If you often think about your next snack or meal, you’re hooked! Bread is really addictive like a drug. The problem is that when you eat bread, your body releases insulin. Eat more bread and your body releases more insulin. This “hunger hormone” stimulates your appetite. Another problem is that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know you’re full, so your last 20 minutes of eating is actually overeating.
Over time, you may develop resistance to insulin and your body may stop producing insulin. This is abnormal and glucose, which normally feeds your internal organs, can get trapped in your bloodstream – causing parts of your body to malfunction and possibly lead to type 2 diabetes.
If you have high levels of glucose in your blood, it can cause hunger and you will crave foods with high levels of carbohydrates, such as bread. More bread = more insulin released. More insulin released = more insulin trapped in the bloodstream = more carb cravings. Talk about an unhealthy cycle!
Plus the comfort food feeling of well-being makes it easy to understand why bread is so easy to become addicted to. When people are bored, depressed, angry, lonely or sad, what happens? They eat! It’s usually high-carbohydrate comfort food that they crave because they’re looking for well-being and they believe that eating comfort food, much of which is bread, will help. Maybe so… but it’s short term. It is a form of self-medication like taking aspirin to treat a headache. It lasts for a while and then you need to take more aspirin. Similarly, breads offer quick but temporary relief, which can lead to bread binges.
Whole grain, multigrain and rye breads are not addictive for most people. When the body eats white breads (or cakes for that matter), it breaks down into sugar, causing blood glucose levels to rise. After this rapid digestion, blood glucose drops quickly, resulting in hunger and cravings for more carbohydrates.
If you are a bread eater, breaking the habit is not easy. However, it is important for your health that you break the habit. You don’t have to give up bread completely. Of course you don’t. But eat whole grain, multigrain or rye bread instead of white. And it’s not just the bread, but what you put on it. Instead of butter or margarine, try spreading some olive oil. It’s better for your body and contains less fat than the other two options. Look for jams with less sugar – or no sugar but maltitol instead.
Try to limit the amount of bread you eat in a day. Instead of two sandwiches, try one Two but with the same amount of filling as half the bread. Slowly, your body will adapt and you will be healthier for it. Best of all, you’ll break the bread addiction and control what you eat—it doesn’t control you.
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