The signs of addiction to bread
The negative perception towards bread has not influenced Daniela B., who on Twitter writes “I love bread”, while her TikTok account reads the following: “I like to eat bread”. In this social network, she exposes her great taste through videos of bakery recommendations in Mexico City.
“I consider myself a fan of bread, I have always liked to eat sandwiches, hot dogs, cakes and, above all, sweet bread; by the way, the chocolate shells are my favourites, but they shouldn’t be bofas or masudas, but of a regular consistency”, says this 31-year-old.
This type of customs so strongly inclined towards a particular food has been studied by Santiago Sandoval Motta, a researcher at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine, who details the microbiological reason for the dependence that many people experience on bread.
“There is evidence that when one consumes foods high in carbohydrates (such as bread) dopamine is released, a neurotransmitter previously considered only to be associated with the brain, but is now known to also be released in the stomach, which is why bread gives a sensation of very strong well-being that the body ultimately tends to seek regularly.
On the other hand, Sandoval Motta describes another scientific discovery that shows why it is often so difficult to stop eating bread. This is the intestinal microbiota induced by the consumption of this food.
“The intestinal microbiota is the set of microorganisms that we have in the intestines, and it is very adapted to our diet. If we have a very high consumption of bread, then very specific and not very diverse microbes are generated that help to digest that product exclusively, which encourages us to continue consuming it, because if we chose another type of food, we would no longer have such good digestion.”
This is how a diet based mainly on bread causes the formation within us of something analogous to an army of microorganisms trained and specialized in digesting only flour, which gives the order, biochemically speaking, to preferentially consume bread over other types of food.
“That is when eating bread becomes a cycle, but one that can be broken, because we are not talking about something as hard as a genetic predisposition; however, it has serious repercussions, initially being overweight, which later leads to heart problems. The addiction can be removed, but it takes time and effort, partly because of the characteristic culture and practicality of eating pieces of bread.”
To a large extent, this would scientifically explain not only the attachment to pan dulce, spread by Daniela on the internet, but also the predilection of many Mexicans for breakfast of tamale cakes and other foods composed almost entirely of a single ingredient: flour.
“It is a gigantic tradition, very permeated in the population, but definitely if someone asks me if bread is a good food, I can say with my hand on my waist that it is not, because its nutritional contribution is very low, while its contribution caloric content is very high, and if it is constantly chosen as the main form of nutrition, it causes serious repercussions”, Sandoval expresses.
However, science has not been able to codify the diet of the human being through a finite set of universal rules among which is “you shall not eat bread”, similar to the 10 commandments applied to morality.
Cecila Sommer and Santiago Sandoval agree that food, given its enormous number of intertwined chemical, biological, psychological and cultural factors, cannot be studied as if it were a puzzle that, although difficult to put together, ultimately has a single way of placing the pieces correctly.
“There are so many pieces involved in diet that it is impossible to reach a single solution, which is why the puzzle is complicated and diet is complex,” concludes Sommer.