The Best Bread to Lose Weight According to a DietitianPosted: August 11, 2022
There are so many different kinds of bread like whole grain bread, white bread, ezekiel bread and gluten-free breads. So how do you choose which breads are the best for weight loss (and for your health)? That’s what this blog post will cover.
As a weight loss dietitian, one of the biggest mistakes I see happening when it comes to weight loss and reducing body fat is people eliminating carbs. So the first thing I will say in this blog post is that you can eat bread AND lose weight. Bread has gotten a really bad reputation over the years because of different fad diets that aim to eliminate carbs, and honestly, there is some truth to that.
Some breads are made from refined grains, are low in fiber and high in simple sugars. In other words, they spike your blood sugar and release high levels of fat-storing insulin. So, yeah, not all breads are great if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain regular blood sugar levels.
Having said that, if your goal is to lose weight and keep it off, then your strategy has to be sustainable. If eating bread is part of your culture, then it may be hard to eliminate breads. Therefore learning to eat it in moderation and making better bread options are the way to go. Otherwise you are most likely going to regain the weight when your willpower has reached its limit.
Weight loss is all about learning to eat foods in moderation so learning how to choose the healthiest bread options that align with your goals will go a long way. Eating bread on a weight loss plan is totally doable when you learn which type of bread to choose, so let’s get into it.
How to Choose the Best Breads for Weight Loss
In the simplest terms, most people lose weight when they take in less energy (aka calories) through their food than they are spending every day. Even though breads are not considered low calories, they can help with weight loss when chosen strategically.
Some general guidelines about what to look for in bread:
- 100% whole grains to be the first ingredient. Whole grains are higher in fiber and nutrients than refined grains. Look for 100% whole-grain bread, whole wheat flour or whole wheat bread.
Tip: If there are two grain ingredients and only the second ingredient listed is a whole grain, the product may contain as little as 1% or as much as 49% whole grain (in other words, it could contain a little bit of whole grain, or nearly half).
- At least 3-5 grams of fiber per slice of bead. If you are choosing a whole grain bread, finding one with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice should not be difficult. If you want to read more about how fiber helps with weight loss, make sure to read this article that goes into detail about how to build your meals for sustainable weight loss.
- At least 3-5 grams of protein per slice of bread. Protein is important, especially when you are in a calorie deficit, because it helps maintain muscle mass and helps keep you full longer.
- Avoid any breads that contain the phrase “enriched” or “refined.” This means that the grain kernel is ultra processed and stripped of its natural nutrients and the nutrients are added back in to the product.
Whole Wheat vs. Whole Grain
While the term “whole grain” refers to whole grains of an unspecified type, “whole wheat” refers to whole-wheat grains. For both types of bread, double-check the ingredient list to ensure you’re getting 100 percent whole grains.
Why You Need Whole Grains
Whole grains are first harvested as a whole grain kernel consisting of layers of bran, germ and endosperm. These layers contain healthy vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and healthy unsaturated fats.
When you choose breads that are not made with whole grains, you are choosing breads that are more processed. This means the healthy layers are stripped off in the milling process. This removes the fiber and nutrient-rich bran and germ layer.
When your goal is weight loss, it is very important to be eating more fiber. Fiber helps keep you full longer, helps keep your digestive system functioning properly and keeps your gut health in check.
Research has shown that eating a fiber rich diet helps prevent diabetes, weight gain and heart disease. Unfortunately, white flour tends to spike blood sugar levels and they don’t provide any of the benefits mentioned above, so choosing whole-wheat bread is a great way to boost the nutritional value of your diet.
The Healthiest Breads for Weight Loss at the Grocery Store
Ezekiel bread is as nutritious as bread gets. It’s made from organic sprouted wheat, filtered water, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, organic malted barley, organic sprouted lentils, organic sprouted soybeans, organic sprouted spelt, fresh yeast, organic wheat gluten, and sea salt. There’s also no added sugar in Ezekiel bread. The sprouting process of these grains greatly enhances the nutrient composition of the bread.
Also, because all plants contain protective chemicals called “anti-nutrients” that make it hard for the body to absorb vitamins and a little harder to digest, sprouting actually reduces these anti-nutrients and makes it easier to digest the grains.
This type of bread contains gluten from wheat, barley and spelt. Therefore, those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity need to avoid it.
Nutrition info per serving (1 slice): 80 calories, 15g carbs, 0 grams of sugar, 4g protein, 3g Fiber
Whole-Wheat Sourdough Bread
Sourdough is made through a fermentation process relying on yeast and naturally occurring bacteria to rise. Sourdough can be made from whole-grain flours or white flour, so make sure to choose the whole-grain option.
What I personally love about sourdough is that it contains an enzyme called phytase which breaks down phytates. Phytates bind to minerals like iron and zinc making them less bioavailable for the body to absorb. The phytase in sourdough bread helps break down phytates therefore increasing the absorption of these important nutrients.
Furthermore, sourdough bread may be easier to digest than white bread. Due to the fermentation process of sourdough bread, it contains prebiotics, which means the fiber in the bread helps feed the “good” bacteria in your intestines. These bacteria help keep the digestive system healthy!
To learn how to improve gut health for weight loss, make sure to click the link!
Nutrition info per serving (1 slice): 80 calories, 16g carbs, >1g sugar, 3g protein, 2g fiber
100% Whole Wheat Breads
Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Powerseed is made from whole wheat and a seed blend that includes flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and oats. These ingredients provide protein, are high in fiber and omega-3s while only having 1 gram of added sugar.
Tip: If the label says “brown bread,” it’s most likely not made from whole-wheat flour so make sure to read the label. This rule also goes for multigrain bread since multigrain bread is not the same as whole grain bread. Many people get confused when they see multigrain thinking its a healthy bread, when it’s really not. Multigrain bread contains several different types of grain, and they may not be whole grains.
100% Sprouted Rye Bread
When you can, choose sprouted breads as it adds to the nutrient profile. Rye bread is high in iron, potassium, calcium, zinc and soluble fiber. Rye bread is considered more nutritious than wheat bread as it provides more nutrients than whole wheat bread. As well as being super filling, it also has more fiber than wheat breads.
Most rye breads contain wheat flour as the first ingredient and NOT whole wheat flour. So make sure to read the ingredient list before choosing rye bread by looking for “whole rye” breads. These options are packed with fiber and micronutrients.
Tip: don’t assume that a darker bread is more nutritious than white breads as some breads are colored with molasses or other coloring and labelled as “brown bread” on the package.
Nutrition info per serving (1 slice): 110 calories, 22g carbs, 4g sugar, 5g protein, 3g fiber
Sprouted Flax Seed Bread
Another great option. Flax seeds are highly nutritious and are rich in essential fatty acids like ALA.
Flaxseeds are high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6. They also contain phytochemicals called lignans. Research has shown that lignans lower risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and breast cancer.
Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation and can help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels.
Nutrition info per serving (1 slices): 80 calories, 15g carbs, 0g sugar, 5g protein, 3g fiber
The best gluten-free bread for weight loss
Many gluten-free breads are made from corn or rice starch, so they tend to be low in fiber and protein. Instead, look for gluten-free breads made with ingredients like chickpea flour, oat flour, or gluten-free whole grains, like millet or quinoa. Happy Campers’ Gluten-Free Classy Slice ingredients are packed with whole-grain buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth, plus some prebiotic fiber.
Nutrition info per slice: 171 cal, 4 g pro, 32 g carb, 5 g fiber, 0 g sugars ( 0 g added sugars)
Worst Breads for Weight Loss
I don’t typically go there since I really do believe that most foods can fit in a healthy lifestyle, especially when you’re balancing your meals with vegetables and lean proteins. But if your goal is weight loss, reducing how often you consume these options may be helpful.
These tend to spike blood sugar levels, they do not provide nutrients and can lead to more cravings throughout the day. You can balance white breads with protein and high-fiber options to help reduce the spike in blood sugar levels but choose whole grain whenever possible.
Specialty Breads like Focaccia, Brioche, Pita and Naan
Many specialty breads are part of different cultural cuisines, so even though they may not be as nutritious as other breads, it does not mean to avoid these foods.
Being Lebanese myself whose culture relies on pita bread for so many meals, I would not give up pita bread for the sake of weight loss as it is part of my culture and that is important to me. However, I may reduce how often I am consuming pita bread and paying close attention to portion sizes.
Most specialty-style breads, like ciabatta, pita bread, focaccia and brioche are made with refined white flour and are sometimes made with higher-fat ingredients like butter or eggs so being aware of the portion sizes and ingredients is important when making an informed decision.
Bottom line: what is the healthiest bread for weight loss
Do not choose breads based only on the front label as those labels can be misleading, especially if you’re trying to make a healthy choice. Take the time to look at the ingredient list and avoid ones with different kinds of vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, and other sugars. It may be hard to find breads with zero grams of added sugars (unless you’re choosing Ezekiel bread) so try to compare and choose the ones with the least amount of added sugars.
When you are on a weight loss journey, it is not enough to just eat fewer calories. The goal is to lose weight while eating a full and nutritious diet. If I had to choose the best bread for weight loss out of all of these different types of bread, it would definitely be Ezekiel bread because not only does it taste good, it’s also nutritious and made with simple ingredients.
I don’t recommend choosing gluten-free bread unless you have celiac disease or you’re sensitive to gluten.
If you have a hard time digesting grains, then choosing sprouted bread options may help alleviate some of the symptoms.
If you follow a low-carb diet, then the best choice is Carbonaut Multigrain
Frequently Asked Questions
Since bread is considered a carbohydrate, it is important to choose ones with at least 3-5 grams of fiber and 3-5 grams of protein per slice. Choosing a more filling bread like 100% whole grain or Ezekiel bread is best for weight loss as it provides you with energy and other nutrients that keep you feeling full while reducing cravings.
Yes! Look for options with at least 3-5 grams of fiber and at least 3-5 grams of protein per slice to help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Whole grain wheat breads or ezekiel bread are great for weight loss as they contain filling fiber and protein as well as B vitamins and other important nutrients.
White wheat flour includes the bran, germ and endosperm, so yes, it is a whole grain. Whole grain white flour is a kind of white wheat that is lighter in color and has a milder flavor. If you are someone who does not like the taste of whole wheat but is looking to make a healthier choice, then white whole wheat bread may be best for you.
Soybean oil is the leading oil consumed in the world. The good news research has found that soybean oil does not increase inflammation. In fact, when saturated fats are replaced with polyunsaturated fats, like soybean oil, blood cholesterol levels were lowered.
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