The Surprising Facts About What Bread Does To Your Brain (And What You Can Do About It)

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Body, Brain, Diet & Nutrition, Podcast, Podcast-new

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Confession: I eat bread a few times a week.

Mostly, it's my wife Jessa's mouth-watering, homemade sourdough bread.

But lately, I saw a documentary got me thinking a bit more about bread, how much you can “get away” with eating, how often you can or should eat it, and whether it affects parts of your body other than your gut, even if you don't have something like celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

The documentary is called “Bread Head“, and in it, 33 year old director Max Lugavere explores the impact of our diets and lifestyles on brain health. Max's “vlogs” have garnered thousands of fans, and in each of these, he delivers bite-sized blasts of easily digestible information on health science topics ranging from intermittent fasting to the microbiome. You can check them out here. He has spoken at both the NY Academy of Sciences and the United Nations, has appeared on multiple top health podcasts and TV shows including NBC Nightly News, and is a Yahoo Health contributor and regular guest expert on The Dr. Oz Show.

During this podcast, you'll discover:

-What bread has to do with your head…

-Why bread affects a lot of people who don't have celiac disease and have no gluten-related gut issues…

-How long bread can have a deleterious effect on your body after you eat it…

-How much bread you can “get away” with eating…

-Whether you can eat bread if the bread has been fermented, like traditionally made sourdough bread…

-What if you use a gluten digesting enzyme like gluten peptidase

-Hidden sources of the same type of dangerous compounds you can find in commercial bread…

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Aztec sea salt

MCT oil

Max's Dr. Oz Explanation of Bread & The Brain video

-The BreadHead Teaser (below) and BreadHead movie

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Max or I about bread and what it can do to your brain? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

30 thoughts on “The Surprising Facts About What Bread Does To Your Brain (And What You Can Do About It)

  1. Jordan says:

    I was excited to listen to this, however I was soon disappointed.

    Almost every time time Max would start to go into depth about a question you asked, you would interrupt and change the subject.

    The most annoying example was near the end, where you asked about any other ‘hidden’ sources of gluten/toxins etc. He mentioned one – soy sauce – before you again interrupted with some story how you flavor your foods with MCT oil and salt.

    Who cares about that? I wanted to hear about other sources of gluten.


  2. Francis Juarez says:

    Hi Ben! Can you link me to this episode’s transcript? I’ve been scouring your page, but I think the order of transcripts is different from the order of your podcast episodes. Thank you!

    1. Hey Francis – we aren't able to get all our podcasts transcribed and there isn't one for this one unfortunately!

  3. Dann says:

    You made a comment in regards to your wife’s bread, that she uses non GMO grains. I believe there is no such thing as GMO wheat (yet)……can you clarify.

    It does not show up on any of the lists of current GMO’s that I have seen.

    1. Red wheat berry from the Palouse…look it up!

      1. Dann says:

        HAha, ok…..not getting into a pissing match here, just find it humorous that they advertise non gmo, when there is no such thing as GMO wheat available for commercial sale.(yet!!) Maybe a good episode idea. Unless you have already covered gmo’s and all the misinformation circulated about them!

  4. Donna says:

    Ben in the podcast you said that your workout for the ‘end of the day’ and save all your carbs of the day to eat after that because it’s the best time for your body to shove the glucose from those carbs into your muscle instead of turning it into fat. Can you give me an idea of what time of day that is you were referring to, when you do your workout and the time period after that when you can eat higher carb and have the glucose sent to your muscle tissue? Thanks.

    1. Afternoon workouts, carbs for dinner.

  5. Jennifer M. van Rosmalen says:

    After having studied all things nutrition on my own for the past 30 years, and then having taken a Nutrition course in college in 2011 (they teach Food Pyramid/MyPlate which is a bunch of hooey), and having read quite a few very educational books in the last few number of recent years, including Good Calories Bad Calories, Deep Nutrition, In Defense of Food, Wheat Belly, Bulletproof Diet, and then having removed wheat and sugar from my diet, I can tell you I have noticed some amazing things with my body that can only be attributed to what I put in it and what I don’t put in it. I steer clear of gluten nowadays and even when I read the label and think something doesn’t have gluten in it, I have a reaction. In fact, I have a reaction in more than one part of my body. What most people don’t know is that the wheat plant has gone through a change right about the time I was born, which means it is certainly not the same plant as before, and that is a clear indication to me and many others that there is a distinct link between wheat and Alzheimer’s. You should all ask yourselves why are people in their 30s being ravaged with Alzheimer’s? When you go searching for the answer, you may also come up with wheat, as Max will so wonderfully lay a path for you to see in BreadHead.

  6. Mike says:

    Sardinia has a bread called Pane Carasau(piano paper). The bread is very thin.The Island is part of the Blue Zone areas of the world. Sardinian diet is cheese some meat,vegetables ,chestnuts,strong red wine and Pane Carasau bread. Before the 1970’s the main occupation was sheparding. Also the Island was an island of less. Intermittenting fasting was a norm. Sugars not used only honey, bitter honey. After the 1970’s change came to the island.

  7. Tracy says:

    Can you please put a link to your wife’s soughdough bread info/recipe? I have been experimenting with homemade yeast/fermentation but I need some direction :)

    1. It's inside ;) along with plenty more of her magic.

  8. Claudia says:

    Just wanted to add that Tamari sauce isn’t necessarily gluten free. I looked in my pantry and had three bottles of Tamari sauce (one organic) they all contained wheat, so you would still have to seek out gluten free.

    1. Donna says:

      That’s weird that your Tamari has wheat in it because by definition tamari should NOT have wheat. That’s the difference between tamari and shoyu. I’ve been using Coco Aminos instead of Tamari because I don’t want the soy but I love that flavor.

  9. Bert Grosman says:

    I seriously doubt that too much bread could lead to alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease was rare in the past and unknown in younger people unless they were exposed to toxic chemicals or metals such as aluminum lead or mercury.

    The rise of the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease could be more directly associated with the huge increase in vaccinations which is a direct input of the chemicals and metals into your body. More and more people nowadays get the flu shot, for example and these vaccines have never been studied in depth for the association of neural developmental conditions and the studies that were done showing a link have been systematically dismissed by the main stream medical community and their Pharmaceutical benefactors. They have trillions of dollars at their disposal and don’t want to see their cash cow go away. Currently they have no liability for any of their vaccines and cannot be sued for any defective or harmful products. The US Government has paid out over 3 billion in vaccine related damages and more than 2 thirds are denied compensation in “vaccine court”.

  10. Richard Price says:

    Another good on great questions… gluten umm, risen , one of the first foods people ate bread and fish, bread and dum de da…bread here’s my take bread is good for spreads in allmost infinite varieties bread etc , thin low calorie fits the bill 50K cals per slice. Carbs + all sorts of other goodies , or breads with fruits , caroots , bread type cakes , enriched breads and on.

    Blood sugar stuff doing what ?

    That is rubbish….sorry glucose is the main food( fuel), sugar is unnatural in snickkers etc the gut body doesn’t know how to process such a rich source of glucose + sucrose and so causes insulin / glucose spikes , carbohydrates from the bread ( other grains , legumes and tubers etc) are digested in the blood to simple sugars and then into glucose and is fuel all cells for the body, high carb and no exercise though that is to overload the cells and cause cross linking etc gluten can damage cillia and villi in gut and yes allergic reactions cytokine storms etc …but this is due to un balanced diet if I rely on bread , bio flora will be disturbed and cause inflamation. I do feel gluten is a powerfull protein and needs to be in small amounts , strong breads often contain it would be good to see % gluten on lables.

    Personal ….

    But it would be better without …

    TRUST Please Ben…I know it takes great shift in consciousness, “God” yes God knows you are good guy but there is no need to keep up the sell, it is off putting and all this exagerrated stuff…..

    Science …is based on unbiased analysis , all foods can cause allergies in excess.

  11. Lonnie says:

    This is your brain. This is your brain on bread. Any questions?

  12. steve says:


    Will you continue to eat your wife’s sourdough bread a few days a week?

    It sounds like Max will not come anywhere near it.

    1. Yes I will and I am sending him a loaf!

  13. Jami McClelland says:

    Hey Ben. You mentioned 3 things in passing that people take to combat gluten.. You said nettle and glutathione…what is the other one, please? Thank you!

    1. Link is there in the shownotes! The gluten peptidases….

    2. Jami McClelland says:

      You mentioned something with cystine at the end.

  14. Nick says:

    Hi, could you please give me a link to the too much sat fat/coconut oil increases inflammation article you wrote. And also, following up from that fiber controversy episode, you seem to be eating lots of plant food, how much fiber are you getting in your diet? More than 40g probably? Thank you Ben.

    1. I think this is what you're after… I personally eat 60-100g of fiber per day but I also don't have existing digestive inflammation

  15. Harry says:

    Leaky gut syndrome is a hypothetical, medically unrecognized condition which some alternative health practitioners claim is the cause of a wide range of serious chronic diseases, including diabetes, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Proponents claim that poor diet, parasites, infection, or medications cause damage to the intestinal wall or lining, permitting toxins, microbes, undigested food, or other substances to leak through. According to the hypothesis, this “leakage” prompts the body to initiate an immune reaction that, in turn, leads to chronic diseases such as those mentioned.[1]

    The “leaky gut” hypothesis is vague and largely unproven, and the scientific community continues to debate whether “leaky gut syndrome” exists at all. There is no credible evidence that any chronic diseases are caused by a “leaky” gut, nor that any remedies marketed for its treatment bring the benefits they claim.[2]

    1. Mark Bousquet says:

      I gave up grains (and bread) and gained my health back across the board including 90 lbs and keeping it off – 3 years now. Call me a liar but I know it works. Want the micro-nutrients found in grains? Eat green leafy cruciferous vegetables in butter!

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