Buying Healthy Bread: 7 Tips.

Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrates are an essential part of any healthy diet and necessary for proper bodily function. Of course, not all carbohydrates are created equal – and so it’s really more about eating the right type of carbs rather than eliminating carbs from your diet altogether.

Since bread is a common and large source of carbohydrates in the typical person’s diet, it’s important to opt for healthy breads that contain natural and complex carbohydrates rather than the refined alternatives that can spike blood sugar and increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity and diabetes.

When selecting a healthy bread, follow these 7 tips:

  1. Opt for whole wheat. Look at the ingredients listed on the product packaging. You’ll want to select a bread that contains whole wheat as the primary ingredient. Because whole wheat contains the entire grain, you’ll get a number of great health benefits – and the carbohydrates will be digested slowly over time. Don’t be deceived by wheat flour, which is essentially the same as white flour. Settle for nothing less!
  2. Enriched isn’t a good thing. You may notice that some of the ingredients are listed as enriched. While this may sound like a good thing, it’s really an indication that the bread contains white flour in disguise.
  3. Multigrain isn’t necessarily healthy. If you’re a fan of multigrain breads, read the label carefully. Though this bread contains multiple grains as the name implies, only the ingredients will tell you if these grains are whole or refined.
  4. Stone-ground isn’t a health benefit. Colorful adjectives are marketing gimmicks more than actual health benefits. If a bread is labeled as stone-ground, it just refers to how the product was milled. It’s not an indication of how healthy it is.
  5. Check for sugar. Read the list of ingredients and scan for sugar. If it’s in the top four ingredients, try a different product – even if it does contain whole wheat as the primary ingredient.
  6. Heavy, coarse bread is best. As a general guideline, select a whole wheat bread that is heavy and coarse. Not only is the flavor better, but it can be a good indication of fewer chemicals and less processing.
  7. Check for fiber. Though most Americans don’t get enough fiber, many healthy breads have at least 2 or 3 grams per slice. The fiber digests slowly and helps you feel fuller longer! Select a fiber-rich bread to help enhance your diet.

It’s not about cutting out bread from your diet. It’s about making a healthy bread choice – and these 7 tips should help you select a bread that is an intergral part of any balanced diet. If you have any other healthy bread tips, share them in the comments below!

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Comments

  1. William Lawrence says:

    Does this type of bread exist? Where do I look? What brands carry course heavy breads?

  2. I recommend reading the book Wheat Belly by William Davis MD. Hes compiled a lot of evidence that actually suggest all genetically modified wheat of today contributes to the obesity epidemic by spiking our blood sugar just as much or more than regular table sugar, even “healthy whole grains”. I recently wrote a review on the book on my health blog, check out my website for more info!

  3. If you want to get it all right, it may be best to bake your own, get a bread maker and start using it, it may be a bit of an investment, but a good bread maker will soon pay off with good health benefits, you can get your ingredients at most country markets, another upside is that you know exactly what your bread contains.

  4. Nice points Jamie. There’s also the issue of gluten sensitivity which can cause a whole HOST of health issues! It’s all about experimenting!! Just because you enjoy bread DOESN’T mean it’s going to enjoy you! Once I took it out of my diet, I felt less bloated, my skin cleared up AND I was WAY less cranky! LOL! SO needless to say my BF does NOT allow it in the house! :)

  5. It’s best to find a whole wheat bread you can’t easily squish into a ball. I know you can’t test the bread this way in the grocery store, but go ahead and test the wheat bread you have at home now. Like the blog says, wheat bread doesn’t always mean healthy bread.

    *And remember that you’re going to have spend an extra buck or two for better, healthier bread– but it’s worth it!

  6. I recently had a friend come and visit me from Europe and she kept teasing me about how we don’t have ‘real’ bread here and that she’d bring me some. LOL. She was right. This bread was unsquishable and had lots yummy sunflower seeds, flax, and other great tidbits in it. I was really discouraged because I didn’t think I’d find it anywhere else and a 1000+ plane ticket to get bread is a bit unrealistic. LOL. However, Trader Joe’s (and I know they’re also few and far between) carries a bread that fits the bill, appropriately labelled ‘European-style Wheat.” No high fructose anything and all of the ingredients are easily recognizable and pronounceable. However, if you’re shopping in Target or Safeway you’re not likely to find something that fits the unsquishable criteria.

  7. what about “sprouted” bread? anyone? anyone? bueller?

  8. christopher says:

    stay away from large store brands.some bakeries-and these days they are few and far between-sell some healthy alternatives.Ikea-has some types suitable.ive a loaf of Danish Pumpernickel-it seems to fit points made as to a healthy bread.finding a healthy bread-is getting harder and harder to find.sometimes finding one is so difficult-i resort to Wasa Bread-as an alternative.

  9. If you get down to 7-8% body fat like Davey, you can eat whatever your gay self wants.

    But if you are reading this and you are not happy with your body yet, I’d like to suggest that you don’t eat carbs during the day so that you are burning fat for energy. Then workout in the evening and then have carbs after that when you need some insulin to assist in anabolic activity.

    When you don’t have carbs during the day, your insulin level stays low and your glucagon level goes up so that you will burn fat for fuel.

    Your body loves to burn fat. It’s why it stores fat for future use.

    You have glycogen in your muscles for quick response in case you need to run from mountain lions or bears but for average activity, your body likes to burn fat.

    But as soon as you activate insulin, you inhibit fat burning and (hopefully) start burning glucose. I say hopefully because your fat tissue will work against you and make you less able to use the glucose in your blood and from you liver. So then it mostly gets stored as fat.

    The less fat you have, the more insulin sensitive you are.

    So if you are like Davey and have very low body fat, you can eat like a real pig when you want and your body can access and clear the glucose out of your system very quickly.

    If you are not like Davey, and you are working hard to lose weight, do yourself a favor and read more about insulin and glucagon so that you can still have yummy bread and pasta and carbs, but have them after a workout when you need the (inflammatory) insulin response.

    And when you didn’t get to the gym, guess what? You should minimize your carb intake. Keep the inflammatory insulin down and the fat-burning glucagon going!

    Wheat and gluten are very inflammatory, as is sugar.

    If you can avoid gluten grains, you will be doing your system some good.

    Reduce stress and keep your cortisol level low also. Too much cortisol will also inhibit pancreatic hormones like insulin and glucagon in order to keep blood glucose levels high.

    That’s all great when you are running from mountain lions, but if you are just yelling at your boyfriend, it’s not healthy.

    Detox, meditate, avoid grains and avoid toxic chemicals in your food.

    Then you can have bread and cake and whatever you want (on occasion).

    Good Health to you all!

  10. What if you are allergic to glutton or wheat?

  11. So my partner have been looking for bread with out enriched anything, flour , or wheat flour. Now is whole wheat flour the same as wheat flour? If it is then my Wal mart, target and local grocery store have no healthy wheat bread. Where is this magical bread at? Lol

  12. Also one of the breads we looked had whole wheat listed but in parenthesis it listed some grains along with whole wheat flour. Is this a good bread?

  13. Yes, Alka, you are correct! This photo was taken at the Greenbrier YMCA, loctaed just down the street from Brighton Park at Greenbrier and Oakbrooke Crossing, two of Hampton Roads best selling communities! Please email us your contact information at marketing@dragas.com so we can arrange to send you a $20.00 Panera Bread gift card! Thanks for participating on our trivia contest!

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