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Is bread healthy? Can you eat bread and still lose weight? Ever since diets started focusing on carbs, bread has been on the “forbidden” list of many eating plans for weight loss and weight maintenance.
It’s true that the carbs and calories in a slice of bread can add up quickly, but it is possible to eat bread and lose weight. In fact, certain types of bread can even be part of a healthy eating plan.
Nutrition Facts The following nutrition information is provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for one slice (32g) of whole wheat bread.1
Calories: 82 Fat: 1.1g Sodium: 144mg Carbohydrates: 13.8g Fiber: 1.9g Sugars: 1.4g Protein: 4g Bread nutrition varies by type. Nutrition experts recommend increasing your intake of whole grains. Choosing whole wheat bread can be part of a healthy meal.
A single slice of commercially prepared whole wheat bread (as shown on the nutrition label) provides roughly 82 calories and about 1 gram of fat. However, these amounts will vary by brand.
One slice also provides almost 4 grams of protein and 13.8 grams of carbohydrate. However, because it also provides about 2 grams of fiber 9.6 net carbs per slice.
Remember to double the nutrition counts if you make a sandwich or have toast using two slices of bread.
Commercially prepared white bread provides about 75 calories and 1 gram of fat per slice. This type of bread typically has 15 grams of carbohydrate or more, but with less than one gram of fiber, the net carb intake will be about the same.
A typical slice of rye bread provides 83 calories, about 1 gram of fat, 16 grams of carbohydrate, 1.9 grams of fiber, and 2.7 grams of protein.
Calories in a Slice of Bread (by Brand and Variety)
The nutrient content in a slice of bread will vary from one brand and type of bread to the next. If you compare bread at the supermarket, you’ll notice that the size and thickness of a slice can be significantly different from one loaf to the next.
Even though whole-grain bread tends to be higher in calories, you’re also getting the benefit of insoluble fiber—a kind of fiber that does not get absorbed by the body and promotes digestive health.
Here is a list of nutrition facts for a few popular brands and varieties of bread you’ll likely find at the store.
Wonder Classic White Bread: 65 calories, .75 grams of fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 2 grams of sugar, 2 grams protein. Pepperidge Farm Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread: 70 calories, .75 grams of fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 1.5 grams of sugar, 3 grams protein. Food for Life Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread: 80 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 4 grams protein. Food for Life Gluten-Free Brown Rice Bread: 110 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 1 grams of sugar, 2 grams protein. Orowheat 100% Whole Wheat Bread: 90 calories, 1 gram of fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 2 gram fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 4 grams protein. Arnold Organic Rustic White Bread: 130 calories, 1 gram of fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 4 grams protein. Arnold 12 Grain Bread: 110 calories, 3 grams of fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams of sugar, 5 grams protein. Pumpernickel (made at home from scratch and sliced thin): 50 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 1.3 grams fiber, 0.1 grams of sugar, 1.7 grams protein. Sun-Maid Raisin Bread Cinnamon Swirl: 100 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 1 grams fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 3 grams protein. Challah (made at home or prepared in a bakery, thick sliced): 173 calories, 7 grams of fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 0 grams of sugar, 7 grams protein. (nutrition facts for challah will vary based on the recipe) The healthiest bread for you will depend on your nutritional goals. You might be trying to reduce your sugar intake, increase your daily fiber, or eat more protein.
Use the nutritional label rather than front-of-package product claims to guide your decisions. Be sure to read them closely: the nutrition facts listed above are for a single slice of bread.
When you check the nutrition label, you might see that two slices of bread listed as a single serving. That’s because the typical amount consumed as a snack or as part of a meal (an amount referred to as the “NLEA serving size” by industry experts) is two slices of bread rather than one.
Health Benefits Bread provides calories (energy) primarily in the form of carbohydrates. Carbs are your body’s preferred energy source. When you eat bread, you are providing your body with fuel for your daily activities.
If you choose bread made from whole grains, you’re also getting a source of fiber, which provides health and weight loss benefits. Eating foods with fiber can help y
ou to feel fuller and more satisfied.
Weight loss experts generally recommend consuming foods with fiber if you’re trying to lose weight. Fiber can help you feel more satisfied after eating less, which can be useful if you’re trying to create the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.2
A serving of some bread types can also be good source of important micronutrients including thiamin, selenium, and folate.
Common Questions About Bread What is enriched bread? You will sometimes see the word “enriched” on a package of commercially prepared bread. Enriched foods have had the nutrients added back into them because these vitamins and minerals were stripped away during the manufacturing process.
Enriched products are usually made from refined grains (grains that have been processed so that the whole grain is no longer intact).
Why is whole wheat bread better for my diet?
Whole wheat bread generally contains more nutrients, including fiber.
How do I know if my bread is made from whole grains? Don’t rely on the front of the bread package to determine if your bread is made from whole grains. Many times, food manufacturers use words like “multigrain” to make their food sound healthier.
Instead, check the ingredients list. Whole grains (like whole-wheat, wheat-berries, or whole oats) will be listed as one of the first ingredients. The Whole Grain Council provides a comprehensive guide to deciphering labels to find whole-grain foods.
Is white bread bad for me? White bread provides calories (energy) but doesn’t offer as much nutrition as whole grain bread.
What are some healthy alternatives to bread? If you’re trying to cut back on carbs, there are several alternatives to bread that you can use. Try making a sandwich with cucumber slices instead of bread or wrapping a lean beef or turkey burger in lettuce instead of a bun.
Low-Calorie Bread Choices When you’re in the bread aisle, you’ll also see brands of commercially prepared low-calorie bread. A slice from these loaves might be lower in calories, but it’s also lower in overall nutrition compared to whole-grain bread.
Sometimes, the bread is only lower in calories because the slice is smaller or thinner than a traditional slice.
Arnold Bakery Light 100% Whole Wheat Bread: 40 calories per slice Nature’s Own Wheat Bread: 40 calories per slice Pepperidge Farm Light Style Bread: 45 calories per slice
A Word From Verywell There are many healthy ways to include a slice of bread in your diet. If you love bread, have it! Just be mindful of eating portions that support your weight goals.
For example, you can enjoy an open-face sandwich instead of one made using two slices of bread. You could swap a few slices of apple topped with natural nut butter for your usual morning toast. These options are lower in calories, higher in nutrition, and don’t have added sugar or saturated fat.
Don’t forget about passing on the bread when you’re out to eat at a restaurant. It’s easy enough to simply ask your server not to bring the breadbasket to your table before your meal.
Being aware of swaps and making use of them, checking the calories and portions of your food, and avoiding pre-meal snacking, are all healthy habits that will help you meet and maintain your weight loss goals.