Providing free bread before a meal could seem like a counterintuitive practice, considering restaurants would ostensibly want their patrons to order more appetizers and other dishes … right? Maybe not. Many complimentary bread baskets feature white bread made with unrefined flour, which has the potential to actually increase hunger rather than satiate it.
White bread is a high-glycemic food consisting primarily of carbohydrates (aka sugars), which are easy for the body to quickly break down. These are rapidly digested, causing both a spike in blood sugar levels and a stimulated feeling of hunger. As a semi-viral TikTok by @sweetfiber explains, the free bread basket is actually a low-key way of making guests even hungrier, and there’s a strategic reason why it arrives at the same time as your menu. She said, “They know that a glucose spike is going to make you hungrier, crave more, and have a hard time resisting foods. So, while it feels like they’re being generous, they are actually winning.” That blood sugar spike also tends to crash in time for the dessert course, making you that much more likely to order a treat at the end of your meal.