Crisp mystery partially solved

One of the ancient mysteries of science is why toasted bread is less filling to eat than non-toasted bread. There seems to be no end to how many toasted slices of bread you can stuff yourself with, but the same type of bread untoasted makes you pretty full pretty fast.

A revolutionary scientific breakthrough was made this evening bringing us closer to the Answer, as researchers Sia and Henrik decided to test one of their hypothesis: toasted bread weighs less and therefore makes you less full.

This unique insight is the result of many years of innovative research and analysis. "The idea just came to us one day" says Sia, modestly explaining this stroke of genius.

The experiments may look simple, but did in fact involve rather sophisticated test equipment and procedures.

Experiment 1: Frozen bread

In this experiment the researches measured the weight of a single frozen slice of white bread.

Sample: White bread #36
State: Frozen
Weight: 55.89 grams (as clearly shown in the above photograph)

Experiment 2: Bread at room temperature

In this experiment the researches measured the weight of a the same white bread, but now thawed to room temperature.

Room temperature

Sample: White bread #36
State: Room temperature
Weight: 55.82 grams

Experiment 3: Crisp toast

In this experiment the researches measured the weight of a the same white bread, but now toasted to a crisp.

Crispy toast

Sample: White bread #36
State: Crisp
Weight: 47.11 grams

Experiment 4: Very crisp toast

In this experiment the researches measured the weight of a the same white bread, but now toasted even further to a very crisp, or "well done", state.

Very crispy toast

White bread #36
State: Very Crisp
Weight: 10.07 grams


The graph below shows how the weight of the bread changes as the bread is processed.

There seems to be a fairly clear pattern of the weight decreasing as the bread gets more and more toasted. The most relevant case for our studies is that of a slice at room temperature being toasted to a Crisp, as this represents the typical action for a person eating toast. In that case the weight loss was 15.60%.

Conclusion & further research

This experiment provides strong evidence that the hypothesis – that toasted bread weighs less – is correct. However, this does not necessarily mean that weight loss is the only explanation for why toasted bread is less filling to eat.

Toasted bread weights approximately 15.60% less than non-toasted bread.  However, we believe that an average human being can eat more than 15.60% compared to its non-toasted equivalent before feeling full. In fact, personal experience indicates that the factor is somewhere around 105%, i.e. an average human being can eat more than twice as much bread if it (the bread) is toasted.

So if weight is only part of the Answer, what is the rest of the answer? There are several possible explanations, which hopefully will be tested in future research.

  • Toasted (Crisp) bread tastes better. So we eat more, and perhaps don’t feel as full for that reason.
    • However, research is complicated by the fact that the Very Crisp bread sample, as well as the Frozen bread sample, is disagreeable to eat.
  • Toasted bread is warmer than non-toasted, at least initially. There may be a correlation between bread temperature and the digestion efficiency, since the human body is warmer than room temperature. Experiments would have to be made with toasted bread that is left to cool down.
  • Toasted bread contains less water than non-toasted bread, due to evaporation. Experiments could be made with bread that is left out to dry. This, however, has an adverse effect on taste. See the first point above.
  • Environmental circumstances: toasted bread is often consumed with marmelade and tea compared to it’s non-toasted eqvivalent. This might make the digestion process more lean.

In short – Crisp is lean, tastes better, and you can never quite have enough.

We have yet to figure out exactly why this is the case, but the research above has brought us closer to the Answer.

8 responses on “Crisp mystery partially solved

  1. It is the small questions that trigger research! ūüôā

    Per had the hypothesis that it’s the sugar in the bread that changes chemically, will you try that?

  2. My question is, could you seen any correlation between that very good wine showing on one of the research images and the amount of lean in crisp ?
    We have actually 2 bottles of that very same wine at our place, so if you would be interested you are welcome any day to come and continue the research at our place.

  3. Ooops… did that wine bottle get caught on camera? I wouldn’t want to give anybody an impresseion that there was any wine involved in this experiment…

  4. Pardon my absent-minded research colleage, the wine had an essential catalytic function since we had to have something to toast with!!
    /sia, head of research laboratory

  5. I and some friends discussed how much of the swedish white toasted bread with only butter on could be eaten before you were satisfied (mätt).

    Someone said "You can eat toasted bread until you starve to death."

  6. It has something to do with the Maillard reaction (carbs combine with protein). Bulk has less to do with how much you can eat of something than the net benefit your body calculates considering the work it takes to digest something and what it gets out of it.
    If it tastes different, then it IS different-that is, chemically, and more so than just having less water. I came across this page b/c I was curious why Ive recently received an unconcious suggestion (via my mind’s eye) to eat toasted bread. This seemed illogical to me–burning my bread can’t change it much, right? And surely not in a good way (Im sorta a health nut)? But I defer to my body which must understand why it needs it…
    My experience is that it tastes much more satisfying (right now, anyway). Perhaps it makes the complex sugars more easily assimilated by the body.

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