Delicious But Addictive: Why Some Doctors Avoid Eating Bread

From its smell to its taste, bread is pretty amazing: a little too amazing, if you ask some doctors. While whole grains and good carbs are essential to your diet, too much bread (or really anything made with bleached, white flour) can be detrimental to your health and weight.

"I won't eat bread or pasta," declares Dr. Patrick Roth, author of The End of Back Pain, chairman of neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center, and founding member of the North Jersey Brain & Spine Center. "This choice is based on the belief that each of us has a distinct susceptibility to foods with a high glycemic index. I subscribe to focusing on keeping my insulin level low with low glycemic index foods rather than on counting calories. Bread and pasta present three problems: They are high glycemic index, they are not whole foods (man-made), and they are tremendously delicious and addictive."

Many medical professionals cite the process of bleaching the flour that is baked into breads as their major concern. Flour is bleached primarily to improve and make uniform the color of flour, and bleaching offers no necessary cleaning or purifying benefits.

"It is unnecessary to remove the nutrient-rich wheat germ and then replace some of nutrients piecemeal later like thiamine," says Dr. Rohit Chandra, child and adult psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital-Chelsea and instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. "But this is done, I believe, to reduce the risk of rancidity and thus improve shelf life of breads and bread products ... Best to eat fresh breads made from whole or sprouted grains."

Dr. Michael Hirt, internist and board-certified nutritionist at the Center for Integrative Medicine, believes that GMO standard wheat is particularly harmful. "If Americans gave up gluten and dairy, 75 percent of the world's health problems would go away."

Of course, this product, just like many others, is OK to consume in moderation. But be cautious — especially if you're watching your weight and sugar levels.

"'White' foods — potatoes, rice, flour, pasta, bread, and table sugar — all have a very high glycemic index, which rapidly raise blood sugar and quickly lead to urge to eat again," says Dr. Joseph Maroon, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center neurosurgeon and vice chairman of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's department of neurological surgery.

To find out what other foods doctors won't eat, check out our report here!