Dietitian reveals the ONE type of bread that’s the healthiest (and it won’t cost you a fortune)
The average American consumes about 50 pounds of bread per year – the equivalent in weight of a 10-year-old girl.
But with so many on supermarket shelves, it can be challenging to know which is the best choice for our health.
The decision is further complicated by the recent explosion of expensive artisan breads like sourdough, which are said to offer gut health benefits such as reducing bloating and stomach upset.
But a registered dietitian told DailyMail.com that there’s one type that usually reigns supreme when it comes to nutrition — and you don’t have to go to a farmer’s market to get it.
An analysis of the five types of bread most commonly found in stores on this website has shown that a certain type of whole wheat bread, called sprouted wheat, predominates.
DailyMail.com enlisted the help of a dietitian to analyze the health properties of five different types of bread, and there were clear winners and losers
Germinated Bread is a type of bread made from ground whole grains of the wheat plant that have been left in a moist environment to germinate – until they sprout.
This process takes the nutritional value of whole grain bread to the next level, because sprouting the grain increases the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients.
It means that sprouted wheat contains some vitamins and minerals than other whole wheat breads – and some contain more fiber, which protects against colon cancer.
Sprouted wheat bread can also be described as a whole wheat bread, just like any bread made from grains such as barley, oats, spelt, and wheat.
White bread is made from wheat flour that undergoes a milling process to remove most of the plant kernel, taking away most of the essential nutrients such as fiber and B vitamins. With wholemeal and wholemeal bread, the seed remains intact.
Wholemeal and wholemeal breads are the better choice, but some contain more fiber than others – which can reduce the risk of colon cancer
Dr. Carolyn Williams, a registered dietitian based in Alabama, told DailyMail.com: ‘Whole grains have a finely ground grain and are higher in fiber and protein. When you refine the grain, you strip it of the fiber and protein.”
When looking at the nutrition label on bread, Dr. Williams to view the ingredients list, as well as the fiber, protein, salt and sugar content. Shoppers should look for bread where ingredients such as whole oats, whole wheat flour or sprouted wheat flour appear in the first list.
Below, DailyMail.com analyzes the nutritional content of some of the most popular breads in the US – and reveals the product that is best for your health.
Trader Joe’s Daily Bread Sprouted Wheat Bread $3.29
- 80 cal
- 3g fiber
- 0g added sugar
- 4g protein
- 85 mg sodium
This bread is low in calories and salt, relatively high in fiber (you get 20 percent of your recommended daily allowance in two slices) and contains no sugar.
Dr. Williams says that the sprouted grains not only increase the fiber content, but also the protein content, which helps keep you feeling full.
“Sprouted grain products also tend to have a lower glycemic index than other whole grain products,” she said. ‘All of these factors help with glucose management, energy levels and satiety after a meal.’
Arnold Whole Grains 12 Grains and Seeds Whole Wheat Bread, $4.24
- 110 cal
- 3g fiber
- 3g sugar
- 5g protein
- 180 mg sodium
Several grains have been added to this bread, making the fiber and protein content impressively high.
In all these whole grains, the germ – the inner layer of the grain – is rich in B vitamins, minerals such as zinc and iron, proteins and plant substances such as polyphenols and sterols.
However, this bread contains half a teaspoon of added sugar in one slice. It also contains more than twice as much sodium (or salt) as Trader Joe’s bread, which is risky for blood pressure — and contains more calories.
Nature’s Own Whole Wheat Bread, $3.79
- 60 cal
- 2g fiber
- Less than 1 gram of added sugar
- 4g protein
- 110 mg sodium
Like whole wheat bread, whole wheat bread is made using whole wheat flour which contains the entire grain.
This maintains nutritional value with significant amounts of iron, magnesium and B vitamins.
The high fiber content in both whole wheat and grain bread can help with weight loss by keeping you feeling full and reducing hunger pangs.
Although the fiber content is slightly lower than others, two grams is a decent amount for a single slice of bread.
And manufacturers added very little sugar.
Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread, $4.79
- 65 cal
- 1g fiber
- 2g added sugar
- 4g protein
- 230 mg sodium
Sliced white bread is typically low in whole grains, fiber and other vitamins. The highly processed flour is stripped of its nutritional value as most of the kernel is removed, leaving only the easily digestible carbohydrates.
Eating white bread can cause irregular blood sugar patterns because it lacks the glucose-stabilizing power of fiber.
This increases the risk of feelings of hunger and therefore the temptation to snack between meals.
Like most white breads, the Pepperidge bread has virtually no fiber, but has large amounts of salt and sugar added to improve its flavor. The amount of sodium is about one-tenth of the total recommended by American health experts.
Wegmans White Sourdough Bread (the half loaf), $3.50
- 80 cal
- 1g fiber
- 1g added sugar
- 3g protein
- 140 mg sodium
To make sourdough bread, bakers use a mixture of wild yeast and bacteria that releases lactic acid, giving it a tangy taste and aroma.
This is also said to feed the trillions of microbes in the gut, resulting in digestive and weight maintenance benefits.
It is also said that the fermentation process allows calcium, phosphorus and iron to be more easily absorbed by the body.
However, most breads are made with refined flour, which strips out a lot of the fiber, like this one, which contains just 1 gram. Often a relatively large amount of salt is added to promote the fermentation process.