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"Bread Bloats!" - unfair rap for our floury friend?

Posted 7 years ago by Sarah

The British Nutrition Foundation has recently published a report stating that there is no clinical evidence to support the idea that bread causes bloating.  The paper examines the claims that a large number of people attribute abdominal bloating to the consumption of wheat, many of whom suggest it is modern bread-making processes (mainly the Chorleywood Bread Process, aka 'CBP') which are causing the bloating in particular.  The shorter fermentation time and the larger amounts of yeast in particular in this modern bread-making process have been blamed for causing bloating.  However the report states that no clinical studies have been published to date investigating the gastrointestinal symptoms of bread made using the CBP method as opposed to bread made using a more traditional fermentation based process. 

The British Nutrition Foundation's report acknowledges that coeliac disease is thought to be highly underdiagnosed in all countries; meaning that potentially some people may be suffering from bloating after eating bread because they have the disease and do not know it.  However, as the report continues, if that were the case, this would not account for the people who report that they can eat some gluten-containing breads such as rye bread or sourdough. 

The researchers look at the possibility of related conditions such as gluten intolerance in the absence of coeliac disease, wheat allergy, and IBS, and underlines that no studies have been published to prove a link between bread and bloating in healthy participants.  Researchers also point out a lack of any published studies to evidence a link between yeast in bread and gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating. 

The author of the report, Dr Weichselbaum, added that bread is an important source of fibre, and that people who choose to cut down on fibre intake should not do so unless properly diagnosed with a particular allergy such as wheat allergy or coeliac disease. - Quite right, one should not cut down on fibres in order to have a healthy diet, but this does beg the question, can we not find fibre in many other food sources? 

Although 'the views expressed are those of the authors alone', it might be worth noting that the report was funded by the National Association of British and Irish Millers, and the Federation of Bakers...

Read the full report online, here.

NB: Naturopath Lou has since written a blogpost about bread and bloating, with quite a different conclusion! So take a look if you feel bloated after eating bread.

How about you? Do you think bread causes you to bloat? 


1. Weichselbaum, E. Does bread cause bloating? Nutrition Bulletin DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-3010.2011.01943.x


About Sarah

Sarah Newcombe is a freelance health writer with a particular interest in complimentary and natural health.

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