Bread for Life

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

bread-for-life-dietCreated by Israeli nutritionist, Olga Raz, the Bread for Life diet is based on the premise that eating generous amounts of bread every day will reduce cravings and help you lose 20 pounds in 8 weeks.

The theory behind the diet is that complex carbohydrates act to increase serotonin levels, which in turn results in a reduction in cravings for sweet foods and decreased appetite.

Serotonin is also the neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation and Raz states that the increase that is brought about by eating bread in large amounts daily will make you feel better and have more energy which in turn will increase motivation to stay with the diet.

Bread Diet Basics / Recommended Foods


The foundation of the diet is bread; up to 12 slices of bread a day for women and 16 for men.

Raz does emphasize that this must be ‘light’ bread which contains 35-45 calories per slice. Heavier breads and those containing nuts and raisins may have up to 90 calories. These are not forbidden but not recommended for everyday use – and allowed as long as daily bread calorie quota maintained.

The importance of using whole grain bread is emphasized because of their low glycemic index which helps to keep blood glucose levels more stable.

It is permissible to exchange the bread servings for other types of complex carbohydrates such as oats, brown rice or pasta.

Look here for great bread recipes.

Sandwich Fillings

Foods that are not allowed include butter, margarine and sweet spreads but many other spreads are acceptable including mustard, peanut butter, hummus, tahini, avocado and sugar free jelly. Only one spread is allowed at a time and it must be spread very thin.

Other foods suggested as sandwich fillings include tuna, smoked salmon, chicken and turkey breast, tofu and low fat cheese.


Most vegetables are allowed in unlimited amounts and Raz suggests adding salad vegetables such as lettuce, tomato, carrot, cucumbers and sprouts to sandwiches or as an extra side salad. There is also the option of including a cup of steamed or stir fried vegetables or a bowl of vegetable soup with a meal.

Vegetables are recommended because they are high in fiber and low glycemic index which will help you feel full after a meal.


Fruit is recommended only in moderation because Raz claims that its sugar content can raise blood glucose. Raz actually states that fruit is not a necessary part of a healthy diet.

However many fruits have a lower GI than bread and contain mostly fructose which does not have a major effect on blood glucose regulation. For example apples and pears have a GI of 38 whereas many whole wheat breads have a GI of up to 70.

Raz does however make the beneficial suggestion to avoid fruit juices which do have the potential to disrupt blood sugar due to their high glycemic index and sugar content.

Protein Foods

Meat, chicken or fish is permitted in 3 meals per week selected from low fat cuts and avoiding processed meats.

3-4 eggs per week are allowed.

Click here to purchase this diet for a discounted price.


  • Good for those who have failed on low carb diets in the past or those who don’t want to give up eating bread and other high carbohydrate foods.
  • Meal preparation is easy.
  • No calorie counting.
  • Recommended foods are inexpensive.


  • Many people don’t do well on high carbohydrate diets and it may actually trigger an increase in cravings in some people.
  • There is a very wide variation in the glycemic index of whole grain breads with many actually falling into the high range. The type of bread could have a big impact on the effect of the diet on insulin and serotonin balance.
  • This diet may not provide adequate protein for many people.

Might Not Be So Simple

There is a scientific basis behind the idea that increasing carbs in the diet can reduce appetite by increasing serotonin levels however this relationship is not as simplistic as the author implies.

Although some people may find that increasing complex carbs in the diet reduces their cravings, experience shows that many people will not react favorably to this type of diet, and it may actually produce the opposite result.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Sharon Summers Stein

    Hi, I have reactive hypoglycemia, and fall asleep if I eat too many carbs…but I DO love bread! I did Atkins for 14 years and now cant look at beef.!I hope this diet will allow me to lose and feel well,too! Any Sugestions would help…can I eat eggs or cheese?

  • BellaBell

    I read what everyone have said and I didn’t see any post of a typical day so I posting an example for phase one and two hope it helps…

    Phase One

    1. One to two slices of light bread, spread with a thin layer of low-fat cheese, tomato slices, fresh-ground pepper.
    2. One to two slices of light bread, two slices of deli turkey, mustard, lettuce and tomato.
    3. Vegetable soup, one to two slices of light bread.
    4. One to two slices of bread with low-fat Swiss cheese, bowl of steamed or raw veggies.
    5. One to two slices of light bread, scrambled egg, veggies.
    6. Plain yogurt with one serving of fruit. (You can sweeten the yogurt with artificial sweetener).

    Phase Two:

    1. One to two slices of light bread spread with thin layer of hummus, tomato slices.
    2. Tuna salad with chopped cucumber, carrot, onions and tomato.
    3. Vegetable soup, rice-stuffed zucchini and stir-fried veggies.
    4. Grilled chicken breast, low or non-fat plain yogurt with chopped cucumber and dill.
    5. One cup of pasta with tomato sauce.
    6. One or two slices of light bread with a thin layer of spread, such as low or non-fat garden-flavor cream cheese.

    Breakfast Sample:

    Bagel Sandwich

    Toast a light bagel and spread one side with fat-free cream cheese and the other with avocado. Add tomato, lettuce, cucumbers, salt and pepper.

    Huevos Rancheros

    Melt fat-free cheese over one slice of bread. “Fry” one egg in a hot non-stick pan—do not add butter or margarine. Place egg on top of cheese. Top egg with a mixture of chopped tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro and lime juice.

    Peanut Butter and Jelly French Toast

    Beat one egg in a bowl with salt and pepper. Pour half of mixture into a separate container for later use. Brush two bread slices with egg mixtures (both sides). Heat 1 tsp. of canola oil in a non-stick pan and crisp both sides. Top one slice with a thin layer of sugar-free peanut butter and the other with sugar-free jelly. Rub the two pieces together to mix. Pull slices apart and enjoy!


    OK, so this version uses low-calorie soy-bacon found in your local freezer aisle. Toast two slices of bread and top one with a thin layer of soy bacon. Spread fat-free mayonnaise on the other. Place lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers on one side and fold together.

    Toasted Fruit Delight

    Chop up and mix ¼ of an apple, ¼ of a small banana and 2 strawberries in a small bowl. Toast one slice of whole wheat bread and spread with a thin layer of fat-free cream cheese. Add fruit mixture on top and enhance with artificial sweetener.

    Lunch Sample:

    Vegetable Pizza

    Lightly toast a slice of bread. Sauté onion, garlic and spinach in a pan using 1 tsp. of olive oil. Cover bread with sliced tomatoes and top with spinach mixture. Add fat-free cheese and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place under broiler until cheese melts.

    Grilled Mediterranean Sandwich

    Lay thin slices of eggplant, zucchini and green pepper on a broiler pan. Spray with 1 tsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Broil in oven for 3 minutes on both sides. Spread a thin layer of hummus on one slice and a layer of tahini on another. Top bread with grilled veggies and add sliced tomato and cucumber. Fold together and enjoy.

    Veggie Soup with Garlic Toast

    The key to this recipe is to make your own vegetable soup. First, heat up 1 tsp. of olive oil in a soup pan, add chopped celery, carrots and onions and cook until soft. Add 3 cups of water or vegetable broth. Add chopped tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, garlic, and whatever veggies you have on hand. Simmer for 10 minutes and salt to taste. Toast one slice of bread with a thin layer of garlic paste. Dip bread into soup for a classic combo.

    Tuna-Salad Sandwich

    Spread mayonnaise on one slice of bread and fat-free Dijon mustard on another. Flake drained, water-packed tuna into a bowl and mix with chopped scallions, celery, carrots and pepper. Spread on bread and top with lettuce, tomato and cucumber.

    Portobello Cheese Melt

    Slice a Portobello mushroom into long strips and cook in a hot frying pan with 1 tsp. of olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Melt fat-free cheese on two slices of bread. Top cheese with sautéed mushrooms and add sliced tomatoes.

    Dinner Sample:

    Curried Vegetables with Brown Rice (or toast): Heat 1 Tbsp. of canola oil in a large pan. Add ginger paste and chopped onions and garlic and cook until brown. Add chopped broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and zucchini. Stir in 1 tsp. each of curry, cumin and red chili powders. Cook together for a few minutes and then mix in one finely chopped tomato and fresh cilantro. Serve over brown rice.
    Pasta Primavera: Heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil in a pan and add chopped onion, garlic, tomatoes, salt, dried parsley and dried basil. Toss in whatever veggies you have on hand (carrots, summer squash, eggplant, etc.). Simmer until tomatoes have broken down in a sauce and serve over whole wheat pasta with fat-free cheese crumbles.
    Chinese Chicken Stir-fry: Heat 1 Tbsp oil in large non-stick wok. Toss in garlic and chicken. Cook 10 minutes covered, adding water if necessary. Once chicken is almost cooked, add snow-peas, broccoli, bamboo shoots and shitake mushrooms. In a separate bowl, mix together soy sauce, ginger paste, vinegar and a touch of sweetener. Add sauce to vegetables and stir for 1 minute. Serve with brown rice or toast.
    Vegetarian Tacos: Heat oil in a pan and add in onions, green peppers, soy veggie crumbles and taco seasonings. Using bread as your taco shell, top each slice with a scoop of the mixture, shredded lettuce, tomato, and fat-free cheese.
    Fried Fish with Mustard Cream Sauce: OK, so this one is a little different. Start out by toasting two slices of bread until crunchy. Blend toast, salt and dried thyme in a food processor to make bread-crumbs. Rub a 4 oz. piece of white fish (i.e. tilapia) with water and coat both sides with crumbs. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a frying pan and fry fish until flesh is flaky. Move fish onto another plate. In the same pan, sauté spinach until wilted and place on a plate. In a small sauce pan combine fat-free sour cream and Dijon mustard–whisk until blended. Place fish on top of spinach and drizzle the sauce on top.

    Snacks Sample:

    Cheese-y Toast

    Place a slice of fat-free cheese and 1 tomato slice on a piece of bread. Sprinkle the top with a garlic and onion powder and crushed red pepper. Toast until cheese is melted.

    Smoked Salmon Roll-ups

    Place a slice of soft bread on a cutting board. Gently flatten by rolling with a rolling pin. Spread on a thin layer of fat-free cream cheese and sprinkle with thyme and pepper. Add smoked salmon and gently roll into a tube. Cut into 1-inch pieces.

    Chopped Salad with Croutons

    Hard-boil one egg, peel and chop. Place bread in the toaster until hard. Mix chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers celery, zucchini and green peppers in a large bowl. Remove bread from toaster and cut into cubes. Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a frying pan and add toasted bread. While in the pan, season croutons with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and dried parsley. In a separate bowl, whisk together fat-free salad dressing (same amount you would have spread on bread) and white vinegar. Top salad mixture with egg, croutons, and dressing.


    Flatten two pieces of bread with a rolling pin. Cut into triangles. Heat 1 tsp. canola oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the triangles to the pan and quickly fry them, making sure that they are crunchy before removing. Place triangles in a baking dish and top one set (equal to one slice) with fat-free black bean dip and the other with fat-free cheese. Dice and combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and lime juice in a bowl and spread on top of cheese. Heat in oven until cheese melts.

    Strawberry Shortcake

    Top one piece of low-calorie bread with fat-free, sugar-free whipped topping. Add ½ cup of sliced strawberries and top with a sprinkle of artificial sweetener.

    Hope this helps…

  • Beth Overall

    I really love rye bread. I can’t find a low cal one, so I have half a slice. By cutting the portion of the bread in half, I’m also cutting the portion of the filling and the calories. I just started this, so time will tell if it works for me. Nothing else has worked since my thyroid has stopped working.

    • Cheryl Jackson

      Beth, I would like to know if this worked for you, as I also have no thyroid function and I am on replacement medication daily.

  • Rayca

    This one’s a real joke. Bread slice = 30 cals. Hmmm. Where ya gonna find that one? It would be made out of sawdust. I can’t think of anything more disgusting than low-cal bread. 12 slices? Do people really fall for this stuff? Get your carbs at breakfast. And get the real, wholesome ones, potatoes, rice and bread but get good bread.

    • Shari

      There are some breads this low…I’ve used them in the past when dieting…two slices are only about 70 or 80 calories! Try Eziekiel…I think they have one that is very low.

    • ted

      It doesn’t say that. It says lite bread is recommended that is 35-45 calories per slice. Like this one Pepperridge Farm Lite Bread (1 serving)
      calories: 45, fat: 0g, carbs: 8g, protein: 3g

      • shaun

        You are right Ted that’s the bread I eat.

  • Karen

    I can’t live without eating bread so I love this diet! I have never felt better or happier than when I am eating this way. For those of you seeking ideas on how to use the bread diet, I have been blogging about it here

    • Shari

      I’ve looked at your blog Karen, having the same issues as you, I like what I read! Thank you very much for the extra insight!


      • Karen

        Glad to be of help :)

  • CheeHaoYi

    Sounds pretty legit to me, but eating below 1000 calories will put your body to starvation mode and your body will conserve energy making fat difficuit to burn. I guess with a good exercise regimen, it might help

    • garry

      The popular notion that the body goes into starvation mode and makes it hard to lose weight does not fly in the light of reality.. I have seen prisoners of war and prison inmates go on starvation diets and they look like skeletons in a couple of months … Dieting is as simple as , ” Take in less calories than you burn and you will lose weight ” I have lost 31 lbs in 30 days in the past by eating just chicken noodle soup and canteloupe…. so I have proven this idea wrong myself.. But everyone in the diet business has a gimmick or wants to sell a book.. so you will not hear them say , ” Just eat less and move more ” they cant sell that in a book…

  • Mcmurf

    For the spread, can i have organic coconut spread ?

  • amaya

    do you have to exercise with this diet

  • Barbs

    I’ve combined this diet with a detox juice of 1c water, 2T genuine mapel syrup, 2T lemon juice & 1/10t cayenne pepper. I’m currently on day 10 and its working wonders. I stick to just the bread with extra virgin olive oil and hummus dips. Week 3 i’lll onclude pasta and & rice. Thanks this is great!

  • chloe

    Can you have baguette instead of bread, id rather eat a french stick throughout the day its much more filling and tasty, i prefer the crusty outside, and can eat it without anything just on its own is rly nice.

  • sylvia

    do u mean 12slices of bread everyday?

  • Randi

    Okay I need a little help. Can you give me and example of one day of meals. And what kind of bread ? Cause I heard white bread is bad for you ? I’m confused but I need to lose weight

  • Dominique

    I’m gonna try this diet as well. I just had a baby,he’s 2months now. And I’m ready to get in shape.!

  • Roberta

    What about dairy? Can we eat yogurt? Drink milk?

  • naz

    can we drink tea/coffee as well?and eat chicken curry with bread ? pls pls repli

  • pal

    be careful with this diet!!!!
    35-45 calories per slice? 12 slices?
    40 x 12 = 480 kcal
    how are you supposed to reach a minimum of 1200 kcal per day?
    anything less than 1200 kcal, for a period longer than three days is DANGEROUS!!!
    I’m sticking to my calorie counts with proper nutrition ratios. and I’m more than happy losing only 1-2 pounds a week.

  • Lyn

    I’ve tried low carb, raw energy, everything going, have lost lots of weight, but my body seems to be telling me it needs wholegrainin bread.that its important and nutritious? Just found this site, maybe its what I am looking for!!

  • Roibn

    I have been on the diet for 3 weeks and have gone down 10 lbs- I have just now started to walk 1/2 hour 3 times a week and I hope to keep this up-
    I’m not hungry- the only thing is that I have to remember to eat. You MUST eat every 3-4 hours whether you are hungry or not. Olga does NOT count calories! The glycemic value is the most important to her- That does not mean that you sit down with fattening caloricly high foods.

    VERY IMPORTANT- YOU MUST drink!!! at least 8-10 glasses of water or diet drink- Water keeps us hydrated and flushes out the toxins.
    Zoie, I think you should NOT be eating the bananas or the peanut butter-at least not for the first 2 weeks.

    I listen to Olga every Friday on the radio here in Israel- she is awesome- I have a friend who has gone down (as opposed to lost which means you will “find” the weight again) over 70 lbs in 2 years with her!

    This is the first diet I can keep to!

  • Blush

    Is excersise necessary with this diet?????

  • me

    this seems stupid

  • kai

    im 12 inyear 8 and wondering if this is a good diet to do and if i should still do an hour exercise

  • Sreena xD

    The foundation of the diet is bread; up to 12 slices of bread a day for women and 16 for women. 2 times 4 womens

  • erika

    @zoie — you’re making the following mistakes: 1. No bananas on the first stage of the diet (2 weeks); 2. don’t mix 2 spreads – you had turkey with avocado and humus – you should only have one of these spreads at a time 3. eating vegetables is important and you can also have soup and 1 apple a day on the first stage 4. sounds like you’re not eating enough – don’t forget you can have as much fish, meat or chicken 3 times per week (not mixed with bread)

  • Kev

    Asking whether or not you should exercise is foolish. You should exercise at the very minimum once a day, regardless of your diet as it makes for good lifestyle, not good diet. Every day you brush your teeth (I’m hoping!), so why can’t you do something with a little momentum as well? Exercise is anything that gets your heart beating fast, or makes you sweat. Be it sexual intercourse (I’m not promoting), or just going for a jog, anything will make the diet work 2x as fast. I’ve been doing the bread diet for a while but I have some good pointers to add. Keep in mind, though it says 12-16 slices a day, that doesn’t mean you should eat 12-16 slices every day. That just means you should limit it there. A good idea is to constantly drink water all day long, but the best idea is to NOT schedule times for you to eat. If you’re consuming food when you’re not hungry, then those are pointless calories to be eating in the first place. ONLY eat when you’re hungry. In addition to the segment of complex carbs, wild rice and pasta are also good for those who are endurance exercisers (long distance running etc etc). However, I suggest that no matter what you’re eating, as an additional NATURAL colon cleanse method, you should make room for peppers. Peppers are great antioxidants, have more vitamin C than oranges, good doses of vitamin A and K, increase metabolism, heighten mood, prevent cancer (lycopene), decrease cholesterol (capsaicin), and believe it or not, they do NOT have any link to ulcers. With the high fiber already in this diet, digestion problems with eating peppers are more likely to subside than bother those more sensitive stomachs.

    My personal results went from 180 lbs, down to 168 in one week. Now since I’ve been taking protein supplements and working out, I’m putting on muscle mass while on this diet still.

    • Mellanie

      How to sad to see you call someone a fool when they simply asked a question pertaining to their health. For all your seeming knowledge, it’s a pity you have not yet learned to share it in a wise and generous way.

  • annie

    do you need to exercise a lot with this diet?

  • zoie

    Can someone help, I started this diet yesterday. Had Bread with nonfat cream cheese and a banana for breakfast, then a sandwich with thin sliced low fat turkey, tomato, sprouts, avocado, sandwich with thin spread of hummas, tomato, cucumber then peanut butter on 2 slices and last another with turkey. I had a dull headache all day and still when I got up this morning. Think I need a little more protein, today I added 2 medium eggs and 2 very thin chicken breat slices. Feel better today. Will I be able to do this diet??

    • GES

      I get headaches when I need water, Never protein.

  • Shell-Belle

    So, ok then – can someone who had done this plan post a typical day please.
    I have been doing the for about 7 or 8 months now, and altho it has worked wonders for me and I have no intention of ever giving it up, I am always willing to mix up my eating plans – just to keep my body on it’s toes lol!
    So, just wandering what a typical day (week?) entails.
    Thanks in advance for your help :)

  • rashis

    you can eat a lot of veg. and fruits before 6 pm. and plenty of water at bed time.

  • gem

    try to eat 3 pcs. of craker flakes at dinner and 5-6 glasses of water it really works.

  • kiera

    this is without a doubt the best “diet” out there. it’s inexpensive, practical, and it works. carbs are the bodies first choice for energy, give it good carbs and your body will thankyou. it also proves that average protein consumption is way too high, you dont need meat everyday at every meal!

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