30 Pounds of Bread in 30 Days

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 9.06.34 AMYay, I completed the 30 Day Bread Challenge yesterday by eating a final 460g of seedy multi-grain. So, in 30 days, I ate a total of 13.78 kg of bread, or 1.01 lbs/day. Happily, I can report that nothing strange nor magical happened, and I continued to lose weight at my normal rate. Over the 30 days, I lost about 2 kg, as shown in my progress chart above. (I’ll update the chart in a few weeks, to show the continued progression towards my 70 kg goal.)

What did I learn from this Challenge? Mainly, I learned not to be afraid of bread. We’re all so terrified of it, that while we might consume it in sandwiches and morning toast, anything beyond that is accompanied by a lot of fear and guilt. Everyone, even high-carb vegans, is convinced that processed flour makes you fat, and they worry that even “whole wheat” bread isn’t really made from the whole grain.

And I figured out pretty quickly that white flour breads taste a lot better than whole wheat ones. I figured it wasn’t worth it nor necessary to eat whole grain bread. My weigh-ins confirmed this, so I just went with the approximate 2.5 cal/g density for all of them.

Calorie-wise, a pound of bread (~1200 cal) a day isn’t very much. For me, it didn’t even make up half of my daily calorie needs. Historically, people ate a lot more than a pound of bread a day:

In France, there has been a huge decline in the baguette culture. In the 1970s, French people were consuming an average of one loaf of bread per day. Only a century ago, the French ate approximately 3 loaves of bread per day. Today, French people eat only a half a loaf of bread per day.

— Wikipedia

Yes, I did work out a lot during the Bread Challenge. But, I’ve been riding about 200 km/week for the last 5 months as well, so nothing really changed, including my weightloss rate.

The pound of bread a day I ate was in addition to whatever else I decided to eat. I ate to fuel myself, and didn’t restrict calories, or eating times. I had occasional treats, some fatty foods, some Cokes on my rides, but generally I ate a healthy, traditional diet with lots of vegetables. I probably ate a pound of butter with the 30 pounds of bread.

So, what’s my conclusion? A bread calorie is a calorie. Don’t panic, and have some bread.


  1. I am glad you made it through the challenge, although this was a particularly tasty challenge. The bakery may miss you now. Do you plan to keep bread in your diet as much, not a pound a day, but to feature it? I have to say, this is a bit scary for me but we do have a neat bakery in town that we succumb to from time to time. Sorry to hear that France is giving up the baguettes. I hope fast food isn’t crowding out good food.


    1. I’m really happy I found out that nothing happens when you use bread for the majority of your daily calorie needs. So now, I buy and enjoy bread guilt & fear free!

      You’re probably right about France — I figured they were becoming carbaphobic, but sadly, it’s just that modern convenience foods are displacing bread.


  2. Congrats on your challenge! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts and looking at the mouth-watering bread photos. What I don’t understand is how you’ve lost weight. The butter (and dim sum, etc.) are not McDougall-friendly low-fat-high-starch foods. Neither is the bread low-carb. So you’ve stumped me. When I eat bread, I easily gain weight. What’s your secret? All the exercise?


    1. Yes, I’m riding at least 200 km/week, often at high power output. (I probably average 125W, with >300W efforts up hills, etc.) That’s riding like 5 times a week, and >10 hours/week on the bike.

      At that level, you can eat moderate amounts of fat, and still lose weight eating high-fibre, healthy foods, and eating to satiety. But, I was pretty worried about it, and trained extra hard to burn off all the calories.

      Finally, I decided this week to essentially return to a low-fat vegan diet. As I’ve posted, I’m relying on the fact that carbs aren’t easily turned into fat (de novo lipogenesis is very slow), so my workouts are now one-way fat burning sessions. I now eating very low fat, and instead fill up on yummy carbs.

      I figure this is easier than working out like a total madman to burn off dietary fat. Bread tastes great without butter! Tortillas taste great without any fat! Fresh noodles are great without a bunch of meat and fat.

      At least that’s the theory. We’ll see how it goes for the next month.


  3. Thanks for your response. I wish you the best of luck. Personally I have not been successful on the McDougall starch regime, but I know that many others do really well.


  4. Nothing wrong with bread 🙂 As long as you eat less than caloric needs, you should expect to lose weight. What I find more important is body composition.


    1. Yep, and baking it is fun, and its so easy to make the 24-hour rise no-knead recipe, which is the best bread you’ll ever eat. But I guess cranks like Gary Taubes will tell you that the bread you eat is instantly turned into fat, and stored forever in your fat cells.


      1. Gary who ? 😀
        Ah, the quack who made a shit load of money out of bollockery. Well, it is an IQ test: anyone believing his shite fails.

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