When it comes to bread, people tend to have a lot of questions. Is it healthy? Is it safe for all diets? Does it spike blood sugar or cause constipation? Aside from these common questions, another curiosity is how long it truly takes to digest bread.
Most of the time, bread takes around two to four hours to digest. It needs to go through a long process, just like any other kind of food. The only difference is that certain bread types contain more fiber and nutrients than others, making them easier and quicker to digest.
Hey! I’m Michelle. And although I’m not a scientist, I am a baker (although plenty of people use these two terms interchangeably). I love to bake and eat bread, so I thought this would be an exciting topic to discuss.
Do you agree? Then let’s discuss how long it takes to digest bread.
How Long Does Bread Take to Digest?
Most bread takes between two and four hours to digest (note: this is not the complete process that leads to stool, which can take up to 60 hours). It depends on the type of bread you’re consuming.
Bread that is more nutrient-dense and fiber-packed, such as whole wheat bread, will be easier for your stomach to digest. That said, it could take as little as two hours to digest this type of bread.
On the other hand, white bread lacks nutrients and fiber and is sugar-filled. It will be far more challenging for your gut to digest this type of bread.
Is Bread Hard to Digest?
Depending on which bread you decide to eat, it can be difficult for your stomach to digest it. That’s due to several factors, including:
- Enzyme inhibitors. One key reason why it might be challenging for your body to digest bread is due to the enzyme inhibitors, such as trypsin.
- Fructans. Another issue is the fructans found in bread, which are essentially sugars that ferment in the gut.
- Gluten. This bread protein releases a chemical known as zonulin that creates gaps inside the gut wall. This allows partially-digested food particles to enter the bloodstream, leading to an uncomfortable immune response.
What Happens During Digestion, Anyways?
Digestion is a rather intricate process that starts the second you begin swallowing. As food slides down the throat, the process becomes entirely automatic.
It all starts the moment the food (bread) reaches the end of the esophagus. From there, the sphincter opens and allows the food to enter your stomach. Here, the abdomen muscles will mix the food (bread) with digestive juices.
Next, the food and digestive juice mix is pushed into the small and large intestines. The body will absorb and utilize the nutrients and get rid of any “waste” product, such as larger pieces of food (which is why it’s recommended to chew your food a lot before swallowing).
Which Bread is Easiest to Digest?
The easiest bread to digest is sourdough because of the prebiotics and probiotics created during the fermentation process. Thanks to the high fiber content, whole grain bread, sprouted bread, gluten-free, and whole-grain rye are other top-notch picks for digestion.
Digestion is pretty fascinating, wouldn’t you say? And if you’re struggling with digesting bread, it might be time to switch up the type you’re consuming. Check out these frequently asked questions to learn more!
How long does it take for bread to get out of your system?
Although digestion can take place in as little as two to four hours, the entire process of elimination can take anywhere between 36 and 60 hours (typically). But many things can hinder this timeframe, such as the type of bread consumed and how fast one’s metabolism is.
Does bread bloat your stomach?
Bread can cause bloating due to the enzyme inhibitors and gluten. Other things that may cause bloating are eating too quickly, not chewing your food well enough, or not consuming enough liquid while eating (water is recommended).
How can I digest faster?
There are a couple of ways to make digestion happen faster. Exercise is the best way – at least 30 minutes per day is ideal (consider walking after consuming bread). Drinking more water and getting enough sleep are two other critical components of quicker digestion. Eat bread high in nutrients and fiber, but don’t overdo it, as too much fiber can have the opposite effect.
Digesting bread typically takes around three hours, but it could be as few as two or as many as four. Remember that this is not “complete” digestion, which could take up to 60 hours (this is when your bread turns to stool).
Certain pieces of bread are easier to digest than others, so seek out nutrient-dense, sprouted, or fermented bread types.
What kind of bread do you like to eat? Does bread bother you during digestion? Share below!About Michelle