5 Reasons To Ditch Bread And Pasta From Your Diet

If you’re like me you need to be reminded two, three -- or twenty times about something until it sinks in and you actually do something about it.  It might be that way for you with bread, pasta, and other wheat containing products.  Unless you live on Mars, you’ve seen or heard about people going gluten free, seen the gluten free products on shelves and gluten free items in bakeries and restaurants.  You may not think that gluten affects you. Should you be worried about wheat in your diet? Even if you don’t (or don’t think you) have an issue with gluten, there are good reasons you may want to leave these foods out of your diet.

 Let’s look at some of these...

1. They’re Not Essential

These foods have no nutrients we can’t get elsewhere in our diet. A common objection to gluten-free diets that we often hear from conventional dietitians and physicians is that they are somehow unsafe or dangerous. This is presumably because foods that contain gluten contain some magic ingredient that humans cannot live without.

One problem with this argument is the simple fact that humans have only been consuming wheat, and therefore gluten for the past 11,000 years or so, which represents a tiny fraction of our evolutionary history. That’s about 367 generations, compared to the 66,000 generations we evolved in an environment without gluten or cereal grains.

2. Removing Them Leaves More Room in Your Diet For Healthier Foods

Let’s face it. There’s only so much we can and should eat in any given day.  Given that most Americans are nutrient deficient, it would make sense to want to get as many nutrients as possible in the food that we eat. The reality is that even whole grains are not very nutrient dense. In fact, when compared with other foods like meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds, whole grains are at the bottom of the list.  As you’d suspect, refined grains (like flour) are even lower.

So leaving these foods out, you are more likely to increase your intake of essential nutrients,
especially if you replace breads and other flour products with whole foods (rather than
with gluten-free flour alternatives).

3.  They Contribute to Cravings and Weight Gain

These foods contribute to weight gain in several ways.  First, bread and pasta can be quite addictive and result in cravings, causing you to eat when you’re not hungry.  Next, they turn off your satiety signals, leading you to eat more than you normally would.  These processed carbs get burned quickly and leave you feeling “high” then “low.” After an hour or so, you will be craving more food to get your energy levels back up.

4. They Contain Gluten

You may believe that gluten is not a problem for you if you don’t have celiac disease, but gluten is proving to be a potential link for many different health problems. Many people have sensitivities to gluten that they’re not even aware of, and these are showing up in all kinds of different ways, from headaches to achy joints.  And autoimmune diseases are now being linked with certain foods, including gluten.  It's turning out that gluten may affect everyone, regardless of any lack of outward symptoms, due to it's tendency to irritate the gut and promote an inflammatory response.

5.  Other Problematic Compounds Besides Gluten

Bread, pasta and other wheat products contain many problematic compounds. Studies have shown that up to 50% of people do not react to gluten itself, but other elements which are found in these foods including FODMAPs, agglutinins, prodynorphins, deamidated gliadin, and gliadorphins.

In Summary…

As you can see, there are many reasons why bread and pasta (and other wheat containing foods)are not ideal carbohydrate sources. This doesn’t mean you need to give up carbs, or even starches altogether.  You can replace those foods with vegetables, fruit and healthier starches.  Healthy sources of starch include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and yucca root, as well as other root vegetables. But be careful and don’t just replace wheat containing foods with their “gluten-free” substitutes.  “Gluten-free” foods like breads and muffins are often made with ingredients that aren’t significantly better than the gluten versions and they can give people a false sense that they’re eating “healthy” food, leading them to overeat.  So, stay with real, whole food as much as possible.