Bread is interwoven into many, if not most, meals around the world, from a basket of warm focaccia on the table at a restaurant to flat loaves of naan accompanying a curry.
Carbs, particularly bread, are loved by all. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could survive entirely on this wonderful food group? The short answer is yes, yes.
You’d probably be able to get by on good whole grain bread that has been fermented for a while. However, you’d soon develop nutritional deficiencies and, more importantly, you’d become tired of the carb-laden material.
Many people have asked if humans can live on only one type of food.
The question is valid: eating just one thing would save a lot of time and effort, as well as possibly a lot of money.
Furthermore, many foods have a high nutritional value. However, no single person can contribute everything, which is why humans have evolved to eat a diverse diet. Potatoes, for example, technically possess all of the necessary amino acids required for survival.
However, because many of those amino acids are present in such little amounts, even consuming significantly more than a day’s worth of calories in potatoes would result in several nutritional inadequacies.
The same is true of bread, however, not all types are nutritionally equivalent.
Unlike potatoes and rice, which are self-contained plants, this carb is made up of grains, water, and some form of microorganism.
These microbes, which include yeast and bacteria, break down the grains, exposing nutrients that humans would otherwise be unable to get.
As a source of environmental news, The end product, bread, is significantly more nutritious than the major ingredient, whole grain, as Grist points out.
When comparing the nutritional benefits of porridge, which is simply whole grains soaked in water, to traditional-made bread, the latter would win out since the porridge does not go through the fermentation process, which releases vital elements from the grains.
But only if you make the bread the old-fashioned way. Many modern pieces of bread are manufactured using a blend of white flour and commercial yeast, omitting entire grains and their nutritional value.
So, if you were to subsist solely on bread, it would have to be produced with whole grains and most likely a yeast/bacteria combination that has been demonstrated to have the right combination and diversity of bacteria to break down those entire grains.
Traditional sourdough, which is produced with a combination of yeast and lactobacilli, a type of bacteria, is perhaps one of the greatest pieces of bread for accomplishing this.
The slow fermentation ensures that the nutrients in the whole grains are exposed.
Even sourdough, though, might not be enough to keep you alive.
You’d eventually run into dietary deficits, much as the potato scenario. Even sourdough bread created with natural yeast, bacteria, and whole grains is unlikely to supply enough vitamins C, B12, and D, as well as calcium.
Humans would face major issues if these crucial people were not there. Without a source of vitamin C, a person may get scurvy, which causes muscle weakness and weariness.
Calcium is required to prevent osteoporosis, a condition in which bone mass is weakened. Furthermore, people require fat to survive, which sourdough bread lacks.
If you tried to eat a single food for an extended period, you’d probably get sick of it well before you developed serious nutritional deficiencies.
This is due to sensory-specific satiety, a psychological phenomenon.
Scientists have discovered that the more you eat something, the less pleasant it becomes. However, some foods (such as high-protein foods) are more susceptible to this than others, and some researchers have discovered that bread is somewhat resistant to this effect.
Sourdough and other whole-grain bread are incredibly nutritious, but they don’t include all of the nutrients.
And while it may appear simple to eat the same thing for the rest of your life, it is likely to be dull for the majority of individuals.
Don’t worry if you wish to simplify your diet. Several basic dietary pairings provide a more comprehensive nutritional profile, such as rice and beans, yogurt and almonds, and pasta and veggies.
But, even with those, it’s always a good idea to switch them around. Eating the rainbow is still a fairly safe bet.
THE AUTHOR IS:
is the Science Editor at Popular Science. She has a particular interest in brain science, the microbiome, and human physiology. In addition to Popular Science, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Scientific American, and Scholastic’s Science World and Super Science magazines, among others. She has a bachelor’s degree in neurobiology from the University of California, Davis and a master’s in science journalism from New York University’s Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program.