Few foods in the Western world have more of an impact on cravings and dietary choices than bread. It’s almost a meal staple that is used alongside everything. Toast for breakfast, egg on toast, a sandwich at lunch, bread with your evening pasta meal, toast before bed…
It’s fair to say that most people eat bread on a daily basis and not only is it a versatile food option that tastes nice, it can also make other foods taste better as well!
When cutting, carbs are one of the hardest things to reduce in our diets because they are addictive but does a carb reduction also mean a carb restriction when cutting?
Can you eat bread when cutting? You can eat bread when cutting as long as you remain in a calorie deficit. As bread is high in calories/carbs and low in fiber, it’s recommended that you minimize intake when cutting and opt for foods that are more nutrient-dense and high in satiety like vegetables and protein to reduce hunger.
You can eat almost any food you want when cutting and still lose weight. This isn’t an optimal or even healthy approach but as long as you consume a calorie deficit and expend more energy than you consume, you can still lose weight.
This isn’t a realistic stance to take though so in this article I’ll cover whether you can and should eat bread when cutting or if this is something that will make your cutting phase much more difficult as a result.
What Is Bread
Bread is a staple food made from flour, dough, and water. For the purpose of this article, I’ll mainly be referring to white bread which is made from refined flour and often comes with added sugar. I’m not pointing out white bread because it’s the least healthy option (though it arguably is) but mainly because it’s the most popular.
Brown bread, wholegrain, wheat, and other variants will still be applicable as their difference in calories, macro portions, and utilization by the body are still pretty similar to white bread. Firstly, take a look at the nutritional information for bread as it’s what I’ll most address to see if it’s suitable for a cut.
Nutritional information for bread:
1 slice (25g)
1 slice of white bread making up 67 calories is, fortunately, not the worst number to come across when cutting. I don’t think many people are satisfied with just one piece of bread, but it’s a good starting point.
Is Bread Bad for Cutting Weight
When cutting weight, bread is not a good option. This video below gives a good summary as to why some cultures can include bread in their diet and not struggle with weight gain or obesity whereas other cultures would be best never consuming bread again!
To summarize bread when cutting, it’s a food source that is high in carbs and calories (not ideal for cutting), low in fiber and satiety (so it doesn’t fill you up and keeps you wanting more), and refined bread is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream causing insulin spikes (which then leads to crashes, cravings, irritability, mood swings, etc…).
While bread is not necessarily bad for cutting weight, it’s far from optimal, and consuming it for most people will make cutting more difficult than if they didn’t consume any at all.
Can You Eat Bread When Cutting
When cutting, no food is off-limits. Unless you are heavily overweight or heavily underweight (in which case the principles can still apply), each individual food item has a lesser impact on your overall physique and progress.
When you hear talk of “a carb is a carb” or when following an IIFYM approach of just hitting your macros daily to achieve weight loss goals then there are two ways to look at it. It’s true that if your individual biology requires a daily deficit of 200kcals for you to lose weight and you hit it, you’ll lose weight.
If you are consuming fewer calories than you expend, you’ll lose weight. This isn’t a point open to debate or interpretation, and while some factors will influence this, it’s basically the only requirement for weight loss, and it’s why crash diets work (in the very short term).
My point being, as long as you hit your calorie target each day and remain in a deficit, the macros are going to matter to a much lesser extent. If this was advice aimed at an athlete, bodybuilder, or someone relying on performance and optimal intake, I’d be telling them to stay away from bread 99% of the time.
If, however, you are cutting to just improve your body composition, lose some weight and lose body fat, then you can eat bread and still lose weight. The only issue is that bread just isn’t a very good food option for a diet.
Bread is high in carbs, high in calories, and low in fiber. What this means when cutting is that you are already restricting foods and reducing carb intake (which will lead to hunger and cravings) so bread is not going to be a good choice.
Bread, especially white bread, is a high GI food which means it’s digested quickly and the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. While bread is a filling food as it absorbs water and expands in your stomach, this is less true when cutting.
On a cut, you want to eat as much as you can whilst still hitting your daily calorie deficit. This is so that you feel fuller for longer, have fewer cravings, and most importantly, get a good balance of nutrients.
Leafy green veg, fish, chicken, meat, eggs, oatmeal, boiled potatoes, etc. These are just some of the food choices that are either high in fiber, low in calories, high in satiety, nutrient-dense, or a combination of these factors.
These are the “boring” diet foods but they are cutting foods for a reason. They help you stick to the diet for a long period of time, reduce cravings or feelings of hunger, and generally, make dieting much easier even though they are food choices that you might think are bland or boring.
You can have bread as long as you still hit your calorie target each day but it’s generally advised that you shouldn’t have bread if your desire to lose weight and body fat is more powerful than your cravings for bread.
How To Eat Bread and Still Lose Weight
If you really had to eat bread on your cut for fear of falling off the wagon, splurging on unplanned cheat days and generally being miserable while cutting (which no one should be), then there are some things you can do to have bread and still lose weight.
1. Type of Bread
White bread is the highest on the glycemic index when it comes to bread. This means you’ll digest and absorb it quickly, cause insulin and blood sugar spikes which then are followed by crashes. If you want to consume bread when cutting, opt for the lowest calorie, highest fiber options you can find.
Ezekial bread is widely considered as the best option in terms of being a “healthier” option and is a good option to look into and try.
2. Account for Bread Consumption
If you track macros and calories, which everyone should when cutting, then the easiest way to eat bread and still lose weight is through moderation and to account for it. Unless you are on a no-carb diet, you should be able to factor in some bread and still be able to hit your calorie target.
This will be at the expense of other, potentially more favorable, food choices but simply finding a way to include bread in your daily calorie intake means you can have the best of both worlds and consume bread whilst still losing weight.
This isn’t an easy option as bread just isn’t a good option when it comes to cutting in general. It will mean you exclude foods that could make your cutting phase easier but if you really want to have bread, factoring it in is the best way.
Can Many Slices of Bread Should I Eat To Lose Weight
If this wasn’t clear above, the goal is not to try and eat the most you can and get away with it when trying to lose weight. While that’s a good concept, it really will make your diet harder than it needs to be and there is no defined number when it comes to slices of bread.
The number of slices you should eat to still lose weight should be the absolute minimum amount that you can get away with. You can plan for 1-2 slices of bread in your diet without it seriously impacting your overall intake as long as you keep to an overall caloric deficit for the day.
While the number will vary for each individual, it’s best you stick to the lowest amount that will satisfy your craving and as long as the bread is your only high carb/calorie vice, I think it’s a realistic expectation that you could consume 1-2 slices per day and still lose weight.
You can eat anything when cutting and still lose weight as long as you’re in a calorie deficit. The question instead will usually come down to what you should eat when cutting.
Bread is not a great option when cutting. It’s quickly absorbed by the blood causing insulin spikes which then lead to crashes and cravings and it can make cutting more difficult than it needs to be as a result.
If you really do need to get a daily fix of bread, opt for a more macronutrient-friendly variant like Ezekiel bread and most importantly, make sure you are still in a calorie deficit even when consuming bread.
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