The best loaf will have both protein and fiber to keep you full.
Image Credit: EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER/iStock/GettyImages
Want to experience the worst decision fatigue in your life? Step into the bread aisle of a grocery store and try to find the most nutritious loaf (it's no small feat).
With seemingly endless shapes, flavors and types, each promising its own health benefits, deciphering which loaf to toss in your cart can be draining. Read on to learn which bread is best and which to leave at the store.
Video of the Day
Everything You Need to Know About Carbs and Why You Shouldn't Cut Them
The Best Breads
Let's get one thing straight: You don't need to be afraid of bread, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, RD and author of Read It Before You Eat It: Taking You from Label to Table.
Although bread may be thought of as a "bad carb," that's definitely not the case. But the type of bread you choose does determine how many vitamins and nutrients you're getting with each slice.
1. Whole-Grain and Whole-Wheat Bread
If you're in the market for nutritious bread, whole-grain is the way to go. Available in an array of colors, flavors and styles, whole-grain bread offers a higher nutritional value than most other types of bread, Taub-Dix says.
Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain
Whole wheat and whole grain are often the same, Taub-Dix says. Whole grain refers to whole grains of an unspecified type, whereas whole wheat refers to whole-wheat grains. For both types of bread, though, double-check the ingredient list to ensure you're getting 100 percent whole grains.
Unlike refined varieties, this bread contains the bran, endosperm and germ of the grain's seed. That's where all the grains' vitamins and nutrients are stored, including B vitamins, magnesium, fiber, iron and protein, according to the Whole Grains Council.
Compared to refined grains, these nutritious carbs have been linked with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, per the Whole Grains Council. Whole grains may even help with weight maintenance and inflammation.
But the key to finding a good whole-grain bread is to look closely at the ingredient list, Taub-Dix says. Sometimes, bread packaging can list multigrain (more on that below), which isn't the same as whole grain.
Even the amount of whole grains can vary from bread to bread. If the ingredients list says "100 percent whole grain," then you can rest assured you're not getting any refined grains in your loaf, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But labels that say "made with whole grains" don't necessarily mean you're getting only whole-grain flour.
Whole-Grain Bread to Buy
2. Sprouted Bread
Wondering what bread is doing in the freezer aisle? It's probably a loaf of sprouted bread. Because most sprouted breads are free of preservatives, they're kept frozen for freshness.
Most sprouted loaves are made without flour and instead use sprouted grain kernels, which have been baked into bread, Taub-Dix explains. Usually, these loaves will contain a bit more protein and less fat than other types of bread.
Sprouted grains may also have more available nutrients than mature grains, including folate, zinc, iron, vitamin C and magnesium, according to Harvard Health Publishing. But when you're buying a loaf of sprouted bread, you'll want to double-check that you're buying a loaf that's made with 100 percent sprouted grains to avoid any artificial preservatives or refined ingredients.
Sprouted Bread to Buy
- Food For Life Flourless Sprouted Grain Bread ($5.99, Amazon.com)
- Alvarado St. Bakery, Sprouted Multigrain Bread ($7.99, Amazon.com)
- Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Sprouted Thin-Sliced Bread ($5.47, Walmart.com)
The nutritional value of these bread varieties really depends on the specific kind you're buying. These options are usually made with refined flours, which means they won't be too high in nutrients like fiber, iron and B vitamins.
But that doesn't mean you need to be afraid of bread, Taub-Dix says. It's OK to enjoy a slice of white sourdough or pumpernickel every so often. When you can, prioritize more nutrient-dense versions but don't banish the carbs you enjoy.
3. Enriched or Fortified Bread
If you or your family members don't enjoy the taste of a whole-grain bread, enriched or fortified breads make a good alternative, Taub-Dix says.
Enriched or fortified breads can help you get the nutrients and vitamins present in whole grains while avoiding the whole-grain flavor and texture. However, these types of loaves might not have as much fiber and protein — two nutrients that keep you fuller for longer — as whole-grain bread.
Enriched Bread to Buy
Dave’s Killer Bread Organic White Bread Done Right ($5.98, Walmart.com)
4. Multigrain Bread
Don't be fooled by similar names: Multigrain bread and whole-grain bread are not made equal. Multigrain bread can be whole-grain but that's not necessarily the case, Taub-Dix says. Multigrain simply means the bread is made with multiple types of grains — but these may be refined and stripped of nutrients.
"Multi means many; it doesn't necessarily mean whole-grain," Taub-Dix explains. "So even though multigrain sounds attractive, you should check that the first ingredient is whole grains."
Multigrain bread just may not contain as much fiber or nutrients as whole-grain varieties, Taub-Dix says. Considering fiber plays a role in keeping your blood sugar levels steady, you may not feel as full after a multigrain sandwich made with refined grains compared to a whole-grain version.
Multigrain Bread to Buy
- Brownberry Whole Grains Multi-Grain Bread ($5.69, Amazon.com)
- Dave's Killer Bread Organic 21 Whole Grains and Seeds ($19.95 per 2-pack, Amazon.com)
5. Rye Bread
Rye bread is made primarily of refined flour from the rye grain, Taub-Dix says. Although you can find whole-grain versions of rye bread, it depends on the ingredient list of your loaf.
Although darker breads, like rye and pumpernickel (more on that below) may seem more nutritious than lighter varieties, that's not always the case, Taub-Dix says. It all comes down to what's written on the packaging.
"Don't assume that the darker the color, the better the bread," she says. "Some breads are colored with molasses or coloring. A lot of people go by 'oh, I'm buying a dark bread' but that doesn't necessarily mean anything."
Again, look for "whole grain" on the ingredient list.
Rye Bread to Buy
- Dave's Killer Bread Organic Righteous Rye Bread ($14.99, Amazon.com)
6. Pumpernickel Bread
Pumpernickel bread, like rye bread, is often made with rye flour, which can be refined, whole or a mixture of both. Often, pumpernickel bread is heavier and sweeter than most bread types, which is why you may want to double-check the sugar content of the loaf you choose, Taub-Dix suggests.
"Sugar is also the master of disguise," she says. "It doesn't have to be spelled 'sugar' — it could come in the form of molasses, cane juice and high-fructose corn syrup. Sometimes, there can be more than one source of sugar in your bread without realizing it."
A good thing to keep in mind is that one packet of sugar has about 4 grams of sugar, Taub-Dix says. And generally, you want to stay under 24 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of sugar each day.
Pumpernickel Bread to Buy
- Mestemacher Natural High Fiber Bread ($14.39 per 3-pack, Amazon.com)
- Simple Kneads Gluten Free Pumpernickel ($6.65, Whole Foods)
7. Sourdough Bread
What exactly makes sourdough, well, sour? It's the fermentation of flour and lactic acid bacteria in the flour.
Unlike many other bread types, sourdough requires a starter, which is a combination of flour and water that has fermented over several days. But despite the sour taste, sourdough bread isn't that different from any other kind of loaf, Taub-Dix says.
Usually made with rye flour, sourdough is generally made of white flour unless you buy a specific whole-grain version or make your own.
Sourdough Bread to Buy
Bread Alone Organic Whole Wheat Sourdough ($6.99, Amazon.com)
The Least Nutritious Breads
Although these breads are often the least nutritious by themselves, they can still be part of a balanced diet. Many specialty breads are also part of different cultural cuisines, which means they shouldn't be neglected just because they may not be as nutritious as other varieties.
Bottom line: Enjoy these bread types in the company of a more nutrient-dense eating plan.
8. White Bread
White bread doesn't rank too high when it comes to nutrition. Unless you're specifically buying whole-grain white bread (which does exist, Taub-Dix says), it's safe to assume sliced white bread is low in whole grains and therefore nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.
As mentioned above, it's OK to enjoy the bread that tastes best to you. As often as possible, though, try to pair a white bread sandwich with more nutrient-dense foods, like fibrous veggies and lean protein.
9. Specialty Breads: Ciabatta, Pita, Focaccia and Brioche
Most specialty-style breads, like ciabatta, pita bread, focaccia and brioche are made with refined white flour. Often, too, these breads are made with higher-fat ingredients like butter or eggs, Taub-Dix says.
Also, never assume that a specialty bread is gluten-free, she advises. As with all bread, you'll want to check for a gluten-free label on the packaging if you have gluten sensitivities or gluten intolerance.
When choosing bread, we recommend choosing fiber-rich options made from whole or sprouted grains or whole food ingredients such as corn, legumes and seeds. Look for bread with little or no added sugar and ideally less than 250 mg of sodium per serving.What is the healthiest bread you can eat? ›
- Sprouted whole grain. Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have started to sprout from exposure to heat and moisture. ...
- Sourdough. ...
- 100% whole wheat. ...
- Oat bread. ...
- Flax bread. ...
- 100% sprouted rye bread. ...
- Healthy gluten-free bread.
- Whole grain bread. Wholegrain bread doesn't cause blood sugar spikes like white bread does. ...
- Rye bread. ...
- Sprouted grain bread. ...
- Whole-grain sourdough bread. ...
- Multigrain bread.
Whole-grain bread, Ezekiel bread, and rye bread are among the most healthful options. Bread made from whole or sprouted grains contains essential nutrients, including protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Others, such as processed white bread, contain very few nutrients.Which bread is most nutritionally superior? ›
According to Delbridge, the most nutritionally superior bread is 100% whole-wheat bread or 100% whole-grain bread, which means all of the bread is made from the entire wheat grain (or other grains) and delivers fiber, B vitamins and vitamin E.What is the healthiest brand name bread? ›
- Ezekiel. Ezekiel's 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread has been one of Nutritious Life founder Keri Glassman's favorites for ages. ...
- Dave's Killer Bread. ...
- Bread Alone. ...
- Rudi's. ...
- Alvarado Street Bakery. ...
- ROYO Bread. ...
- Manna Organics. ...
- Simple Kneads.
We know uber-processed white bread is never healthy, but Bimbo, Soft White Bread is a terrible choice, says Young. "This bread is relatively high in sodium and higher in calories than a single slice of most breads. It also contains almost a tsp of sugar. This would be the worst choice."What is the best bread to lower cholesterol? ›
Whole wheat or whole grain bread is your best bet due to the high amounts of fiber compared with other bread.What kind of bread is best for high blood pressure? ›
If you're worried maintaining lowered blood pressure might mean giving up bread, you will be thrilled to know that whole grain breads made out of whole wheat, whole rye or whole multigrain have shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect if eaten regularly.What bread has least sugar? ›
Sourdough contains less sugar, even when made with white flour. Both light and dark rye bread have a relatively low GI. Try to buy fresh from the bakery instead of the store, and go organic when possible. Even “healthy” multigrain bread can contain nasty sugar levels.
The five least healthy types of bread are bagels . . . white bread . . . flour tortillas . . . white pita bread . . . and brioche, which is popular with hamburger buns.What is the best food to replace bread? ›
- Corn, reduced-carb or whole-grain tortillas.
- Cheese wraps or cheese slices.
- Coconut wraps.
- Cauliflower bread.
- Cucumber slices.
- Sweet potato slices.
- Bell pepper slices.
- Portobello mushrooms.
The only Dave's product that meets our high formulation standards is Dave's Powerseed Bread (both regular and Thin-Sliced) because it's free of processed sugar and is instead sweetened with a small amount of organic fruit juices. This is the healthiest bread we've reviewed on Illuminate Health.What is the safest bread for diabetics? ›
The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread is made from highly processed white flour and added sugar. Here are some delicious and healthy breads to try: Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran and Wheat Pita Bread.What is the best bread for osteoporosis? ›
Like pumpernickel, rye bread is rich in lignans, plant compounds linked with a wide range of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and breast cancer.
The vast majority of the evidence supports the latest US Dietary Guidelines, which state that a “healthy” 1,800-to-2,000-calorie diet could include six slices of bread a day—including up to three slices of “refined-grain” white bread.Is it okay to eat a slice of bread everyday? ›
Eating bread every day easily provides your body with essential nutrients while still tasting good, and can be an easy vehicle for other healthy foods like healthy fats (such as peanut butter or smashed avocado) and protein (lean turkey, eggs and more).What is the best bread for your kidneys? ›
White bread is typically recommended over whole wheat bread on a renal diet due to its lower phosphorus and potassium levels. All bread contains sodium, so it's best to compare food labels and choose a lower sodium variety.What is the number one bread in America? ›
There is no food more American than the classic cornbread. The soft, but firm baked bread made with cornmeal is easily the most important memorabilia of the American past, which is especially associated with the American South.Which bread is healthier and why? ›
Wheat breads offer more vitamins, whole grains and fiber, and they have less of a negative impact on blood sugar, which can be helpful for people who have insulin resistance, Mokari said. But some people just have a strong preference for white bread, and to them, Mokari says go for it.
Ezekiel bread is a nutritious bread made of whole grains and legumes. It does not contain refined flour or sugar. Ezekiel bread is about as nutrient-dense as a bread gets.Is Dave's whole grain bread healthy? ›
But that's where Dave's Killer Bread comes in. It's organic, it's packed with whole grains, and it tastes really freakin' great. And nutritionists love it: It's relatively high in protein, high in fiber, and low in sugar. “I love bread,” says OnPoint Nutrition founder Britney Kennedy.Is sourdough the healthiest bread? ›
Scientists, nutritionists, and health experts all agree that naturally-fermented sourdough bread is healthier than 'regular' white or whole wheat bread – for a multitude of reasons! Sourdough is more nutritious, easier to digest, and has a lower glycemic index. Sourdough also contains less gluten than other bread.What bread should you avoid? ›
The highly processed flour and additives in white, packaged bread can make it unhealthful. Consuming too much white bread can contribute to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. However, buying bread with the word “whole” as the first ingredient still does not guarantee a healthful product.Which bread has least chemicals? ›
The healthiest bread to eat is Sprouted-Wheat and Sprouted-Grain Breads! Sprouted grains are actually, technically, vegetables or legumes. To begin the sprouting process, you soak the entire grain in water until it begins to sprout into a little plant. These sprouts are then ground up to make bread.What are the worst types of bread? ›
"Bread that is made with enriched or white flour lacks nutritional value," says Ehsani. "When bread is made with refined flour, the germ (the healthy fat) and the bran (fiber) is removed along with some vitamins and minerals too." When it's made with lots of fat.What sandwich is good for cholesterol? ›
Wholemeal, multigrain and rye breads are good options if you have high cholesterol because they contain lots of fibre that can help to lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Some breads also contain oatmeal, which is another great cholesterol-reducing ingredient.
Helps heart health
Due to its high amount of unsaturated fats, peanut butter may help reduce a person's LDL cholesterol levels. Having optimal LDL levels is linked with a lower risk of heart disease. A 2015 study found that people who had a high intake of nuts may have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.
Cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, and nonfat cheeses are generally considered healthier than many other types of cheese. This is because these cheeses often contain lower amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat.What is the number one food that causes high blood pressure? ›
Salt or sodium
Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease. This is because of how it affects fluid balance in the blood. Table salt is around 40 percent sodium. Some amount of salt is important for health, but it's easy to eat too much.
- Exercise. ...
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. ...
- Eat potassium- and magnesium-rich foods. ...
- Reduce sodium in your diet. ...
- Limit your alcohol consumption. ...
- Reduce the stress in your life. ...
- Eat dark chocolate.
Foods to eat
Proteins: chicken, fish, beef, tofu, eggs, etc. Healthy fat sources: egg yolks, avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, unsweetened yogurt, etc. Complex carb sources: beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brown rice, etc. Unsweetened beverages: water, sparkling water, unsweetened coffee, and tea.
- loaf of seeded bread.
- ezekiel bread sprouted whole grain bread. ...
- Dave's Killer Bread 21 Powerseed Thin-Sliced. ...
- Angelic Bakehouse Sprouted 7-Grain Bread. ...
- Alvarado St. ...
- Trader Joe's Sprouted 7-Grain Bread.
- Corn tortillas.
- Gluten-free multiseed.
- Leafy greens.
- Sweet potatoes.
Peanut butter is loaded with so many good, health-promoting nutrients, including vitamin E, magnesium, iron, selenium and vitamin B6. Research shows that people who regularly eat nuts and nut butter, including peanut butter, are less likely to develop heart disease and type 2 diabetes.Is Ezekiel bread nutrition? ›
Vitamins and Minerals
The grains and legumes that make up Ezekiel bread contain plenty of B vitamins, particularly pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), vitamin B6, and folic acid. They also contain the minerals zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium, along with trace amounts of selenium, copper, and manganese.
And unlike white bread, the starch in potatoes hasn't been refined to deplete nutrients. Potatoes also deliver niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C and magnesium. They're a great source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.What happens when you stop eating bread? ›
By decreasing carbohydrate consumption such as bread, the body burns stored energy as glycogen (which is the image of stored carbohydrates in the liver and muscles), which leads to water loss and weight loss.Why did Dave's Killer bread go to jail? ›
Dave Dahl (born January 12, 1963) is an American entrepreneur, known for co-founding Dave's Killer Bread. Prior to it, he had served a total of over 15 years in prison for multiple offenses including drug distribution, burglary, armed robbery, and assault. Portland, Oregon, U.S.Is Dave's bread good for diabetics? ›
Dave's Killer Bread is a healthy choice for diabetics. All flavors in the "thin sliced" are good choices, and Powerseed in the large size is great as well. In addition to Dave's, the best breads are Ezekiel, 100% whole wheat or whole grain, spouted, and sourdough.
- Spelt, flaxseed, chia-seed, and almond-flour breads. These can deliver lots of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. ...
- Whole-grain wraps and tortillas. ...
- Organic whole-grain breads. ...
- Sprouted bread. ...
- Traditional pumpernickel bread. ...
- Gluten-free corn and rice tortillas and breads.
The American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole grain bread or 100 percent whole wheat bread instead of white bread. White bread is made from highly processed white flour and added sugar.Why do nutritionists recommend eating whole grain bread? ›
Whole grains provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. Whole-grain foods help control of cholesterol levels, weight and blood pressure. These foods also help lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions.Which bread raises blood sugar the least? ›
Sprouted grain bread wins the contest because it's high in fiber and protein, which means it won't have as much of an impact on your blood sugar levels. The key indicator is your glycemic response.What foods lower blood sugar immediately? ›
- Beans and lentils.
- Salmon and other fatty fish.
- Nuts and nut butters.
- Seeds and seed butters.
- Unsweetened yogurt and kefir.
- Fermented vegetables.
If you're worried maintaining lowered blood pressure might mean giving up bread, you will be thrilled to know that whole grain breads made out of whole wheat, whole rye or whole multigrain have shown to have a blood pressure lowering effect if eaten regularly.What to eat instead of bread? ›
- Corn, reduced-carb or whole-grain tortillas.
- Cheese wraps or cheese slices.
- Coconut wraps.
- Cauliflower bread.
- Cucumber slices.
- Sweet potato slices.
- Bell pepper slices.
- Portobello mushrooms.
- Brown Rice. 1/17. In the world of whole grains, you can argue this is the original star. ...
- Sorghum. 2/17. Many cultures enjoy this ancient cereal grain. ...
- Buckwheat. 3/17. It isn't a grain or a wheat. ...
- Barley. 4/17. ...
- Oats. 5/17. ...
- Millet. 6/17. ...
- Quinoa. 7/17. ...
- Bulgur. 8/17.
Examples of breads that are naturally sugar-free are sourdough, 100% whole wheat, rye, or pumpernickel. Some prepackaged loaves may contain added sugars or sweeteners, so it's best to check the label and ingredients list.Which is healthier ciabatta or sourdough? ›
Is ciabatta healthier than sourdough? A. The nutritional value of sourdough bread and ciabatta bread depends on the flour used. However, the higher number of acids in sourdough bread boosts our body's ability to absorb the nutrients in sourdough bread better.
As long as they're made with whole grains and have limited or no added sugar, both rye bread and sourdough bread are healthy bread options. Sourdough bread may be even healthier than regular bread because the fermentation makes certain vitamins and minerals easier for our bodies to absorb.