In the quest to eat healthily and keep from gaining excess weight, bread may be one of the first foods you cut from your diet. However, on occasion, nothing beats the comfort of a warm slice of bread slathered in fruit jam. Or perhaps you get a hankering to enjoy a sandwich wrapped in something more substantial than a leaf of lettuce. Grocery stores pack their shelves with a vast array of different types of bread. Here is the lowdown on how to seek the healthiest kind of bread on those days you’ve just got to have a slice.
9. Sprouted Grains (Ezekiel Bread)
Sprouted grains refers to grains such as wheat, barley spelt, and millet that have been allowed to germinate or sprout before baking into bread. According to AACC, the sprouts must contain the bran, germ, and endosperm, and the nutrients of the original grain and sprouts must not exceed a certain length. Food for Life’s 7 Sprouted Grains Bread contains barley, brown rice, corn, millet, oats, rye, and wheat. One slice contains 80 calories, 15g carbs, 0.5g fat, 4g protein, 3g fiber, and 1g sugar. If you are looking for fiber and nutrition, sprouted grains are your best choice.
8. Whole Grains
Whole-grain bread refers to bread made from various whole grains such as oats, barley, or millet. Meanwhile, whole wheat bread is bread made specifically from wheat. Like sprouted grains, whole grains contain the bran, germ, and endosperm of the grains. Whole grains are far more nutritious than bread made from refined white flour, which is missing key portions of the grain. When purchasing whole-grain bread, check the label and choose products without added sugar. One slice of Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread contains 60 calories, 11g carbs, 0.5g fat, 4g protein, 2g fiber, and 1g sugar.
7. Gluten-Free Bread
For the general population, the starches contained in gluten-free loaves make this type of bread less than healthy. Bread manufacturers use ingredients such as rice flour or potato starch instead of wheat in these products. Often extra ingredients are required to improve the taste and texture of the product. A study in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition suggests that gluten-free bread tend to be low in protein, high in fat, and high in sugar. Udi’s Gluten-Free White Sandwich Bread contains 70 calories, 12 g carbs, 2.5g fat, 1g protein, 0.5g fiber, and 2g of sugar per slice.
High in fiber, rye bread may keep you feeling full and satisfied longer than whole wheat bread. According to the Whole Grains Council, there may be some evidence that consuming rye bread instead of other forms of grains may help you lose weight, regulate blood glucose levels, and decrease inflammation. Rye bread has a dense, distinctive flavor in comparison to other types of bread. Therefore, some palates may not appreciate the taste. One slice of Oroweat Jewish Rye Bread contains 90 calories, 16g carbs, 1.5g fat, 3g protein, 1g fiber, and 1g sugar.
In making sourdough bread, wheat or other grains are fermented with lactic acid bacteria and yeast to form lactic acid. This gives sourdough bread its distinctive flavor. There is debate as to whether sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index than other types of bread. Either way, it is important to note that sourdough bread is composed of refined grains. Therefore it lacks nutritional value in comparison to whole grains. San Luis Sourdough Deli Bread provides 110 calories, 23g carbs, 0g fat, 4g protein, 1g fiber, and 0g sugar per slice.Related: 11 Formerly Unhealthy Foods You Can Include in a Healthy Diet
4. French Bread
A loaf of crusty French bread tastes delicious with a bowl of hot soup. A baguette also makes a great accompaniment to a picnic of wine, cheese, and fresh fruit. However, if your goal is to cut back on calories and carbohydrates, French bread may not be the best choice. According to Nutritionix, one 64g slice of French bread contains 174 calories, 33g carbs, 1.5g fat, 6.9g protein, 1.4g fiber, and 3g sugar. With so many calories and so little fiber, you may want to save this type of bread for special occasions.
3. Potato Bread
Potato bread combines potatoes or potato flour with wheat flour to form a light bread with a hint of potato flavor. Potatoes provide additional fiber and protein to the loaf, which may keep you feeling full longer than white bread does. One slice of Stroehmann’s Dutch Country Premium Potato Bread contains 90 calories, 18g carbs, 1g fat, 3g protein, 0.5g fiber, and 3g sugar.
While you don’t typically use a slice of cornbread to make yourself a sandwich, cornbread makes a tasty accompaniment to chili or stew. This yeast-less bread is made from cornmeal. While you can find cornbread pre-made in the grocery store, it is easy to whip up at home using a box of mix. Two 2-inch pieces of cornbread made using Krusteaz Cornbread mix provide 140 calories, 21g carbs, 1.5g fat, 2g protein, 0.5g fiber, and 8g sugar.
1. White Bread
These fluffy, white squares were once commonplace in the sack lunches of schoolchildren. However, they are a far cry from the nutritious sprouted grains available today. White bread are made from highly processed, refined flour that has had the nutritious portions of the grain removed. This leaves the flour devoid of fiber and nutrients. One slice of Wonder Classic White Sandwich Bread contains 70 calories, 13g carbs, 0.5g fat, 2g protein, 0g fiber, and 2g sugar.Related: Accidentally Ate Moldy Bread? Here’s What to Expect