It’s no mystery that bread has been villainized by the media. With trends like the extremely low carb keto diet rising to prominence, bread is one of the foods that causes the most guilt in our pantry. But are all breads created equal? Whole grain has always been praised as the healthier option, as it’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all necessary parts of a healthy diet. There are breads on the market that you can enjoy while also properly nourishing your body. But how do you know which types of bread to avoid, and how do you know you’re getting the most bang for your buck?
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“If you’re trying to improve your health or lose weight, the worst type of bread to buy is something ultra-processed that lacks protein and fiber,” says Laura Gaston, a registered dietitian and founder of Busy Gal Nutrition, “Breads that are more processed can spike your blood sugar quicker as they are broken down in the body faster, which could make you feel hungrier quicker.” On your next shopping trip, take a look at the ingredients in your bread of choice. If it contains things like canola and soybean oil or preservatives like calcium propionate and sorbic acid, you may want to consider putting it back on the shelf.
With that being said, ultra-processed breads and whole grain breads may be the same food technically, but nutritionally, they can’t even be compared. There are lots of breads on the market that offer high nutritional value, won’t prevent you from reaching your fitness goals, and don’t force you to sacrifice taste. Gaston says that there are a few ingredients she likes to see so that she knows a bread is high quality. “I look for a variety of different grains and seeds in the ingredients, like oats, barley, lentils, flax seeds, sunflower seeds,” she says, “These will provide added protein and fiber, plus great texture. This will keep you fuller for longer and provide great anti-inflammatory benefits.”
Gaston’s favorite brands to recommend to clients are Dave’s Killer Bread and Food For Life Ezekiel 4:9, as they both have increased amounts of fiber and protein. A breakfast idea would be trying one of these toasts with avocado spread on top. Health experts recommend this as a great option that will allow you to load up on folate, potassium, and vitamins B5, C, E, and K.