The Best and Worst of Breads

Melanie Douglass breakdowns the breads to find out which ones are good for you, and which ones are a waste of money and calories.

Who doesn’t love bread? Atkins diet aside; Americans still love their bread. Bread got a bad rap a few years ago thanks to the low-carb craze. But healthy breads—that are high in health-promoting fiber—are back and better than ever before… well, that is, if you find the right kind of bread. Labels can be tricky, so here is what you should and should not spend your money on when it comes to bread.

The Best Breads: 5 Things to Look For & Top Recommendations
100% Whole Wheat listed on the label

i. Example: Prairie Grain Bread Co. Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Extra-High Fiber

i. Examples: Granny’s Delight® Wheat-n-Fiber or Great Harvest® High Five Bread

High Fiber and Low Sugar
i. Example: Harper’s Homemade® Bran Bread

Extra Nutrients

i. Example: Sara Lee® Heart Healthy Plus 100% Whole Wheat

Light Breads

i. Oroweat® Light 100% Whole Wheat Bread

The Worst Breads: 5 Types of Breads to Skip… or Eat Occasionally
White Breads

i. Sorry folks! White just doesn’t add up to wheat

ii. Check this out

White vs. Wheat

Nutrient White Bread Whole-Wheat Bread
Fiber (g) .7 3-8
Protein (g) 2 5
Potassium (mg) 28 71
Magnesium (mg) 7 24
Phosphorus (mg) 28 65
Vitamin B6 (mg) .02 .05
Vitamin E (mg) .06 .09
Zinc (mg) .21 .55

1. “Wheat” Breads with little Fiber

i. All breads start from wheat… if the first ingredient you see on the label is “enriched wheat flour”, and there is less than 2 grams of fiber per serving, it’s not hugely beneficial for your health.

ii. You should look for “100%” whole wheat.

Expensive Breads with Healthy-Sounding Names

i. “Oat”, “Multigrain”, “Healthy” even “Seven Grain” etc…

ii. If it costs you more than $3.00 a loaf and has less than 2 grams of fiber it is not worth the money.

White Versions or “Kid” Breads
i. Most “whole-grain white” breads are slightly misleading because they list serving size of “2 slices” instead of “1 slice” – so the fiber and other nutrients all look twice as high as other bread. Serving size should be 1 slice.

Sweet Breads (Banana, Pumpkin, etc)

i. Sorry – but these are more like a dessert.

ii. Each tiny slice has more calories, fat, and sugar than a chocolate chip cookie. And who it’s just one slice?

iii. Enjoy 1 slice and keep it an occasional indulgence.

The Simple Bottom Line

Remember the “RULE OF 3”

i. Look for breads with 3 or more grams of fiber.

ii. Look for breads with 3 or less grams of sugar.

Remember, to stay healthy, you only get to consume about 2000 calories a day, and like money, they always disappear unbelievably fast; so make sure every calorie you eat is the most nutritious, most delicious calorie possible!

Have a health question for Melanie? Click here to submit your question and Melanie will answer your question on an upcoming Studio 5 segment!

© 2007 Melanie Douglass, Deseret Book

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