The Real Reason Some People Get Drunk Off Bread

Bread is often called the "staff of life" and for good reason — it is one of the most basic and universally eaten foods known to mankind. Not only is it a filling and carbohydrate-packed food, but bread has also been an important part of our diet for tens of thousands of years. 

Bread may have started pretty flat, but then came leavening. Leavening is what makes bread big, soft, and fluffy. The most common leavening agent is yeast, which causes a chemical reaction resulting in lighter, airy bread (via History)

But man cannot live on bread alone, especially if you might be among the rare few who find themselves getting drunk when you eat it. 

Wait. What? Yes, there is actually a subset of the population who suffer from a rare disease that makes them feel drunk after they consume bread — or any of its related doughy and starchy food friends like pasta. This disease doesn't discriminate and can impact both adults and children alike (via Medical News Today).

What is this disease and how exactly does it make an individual feel like they've been on a week-long bender after eating something as simple as a sandwich or plate of spaghetti?

How bread can make you feel like you drank a pint

The disease that makes people feel like they are drunk after they consume bread or similar food is known as auto-brewery syndrome and has been around since (or at least was first recorded in) the 1950s. The disease is caused by a yeast build up in the intestines which during the digestive process results in the rapid fermentation of carbohydrates into ethanol, i.e. alcohol. 

Fascinating, right? But people with this syndrome don't just feel a constant buzz, they also experience chronic fatigue, disorientation, and the inability to focus (via The Higher Learning). Auto-brewery syndrome is still a fairly new disease and researchers are working to learn more about its causes, triggers, and treatments. 

Certain underlying conditions can increase an individual's possibility of suffering from the syndrome. These conditions include Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, obesity, and a weakened immune system. Additionally, long-term use of certain antibiotics that can cause an imbalance to your gut bacteria can make some people susceptible to auto-brewery syndrome. 

Many leading the charge to gain a better understanding of this ailment believe it is an underdiagnosed disease and may affect a greater number of people than it was previously thought to. The great news is, doctors are able to diagnose it and treat it through a change in diet, antifungals, and sometimes antibiotics.