How to Eat Bread and Still Lose Weight
Bread lovers, rejoice!
You can eat bread—and still lose weight!
If you’ve ever gone on a diet, you know bread is usually on the list of foods you shouldn’t even think about eating. That’s because bread is generally perceived as fattening.
But if you’re like me, you don’t want to give up bread in order to be thin. I love to have a toasted slice topped with half a mashed avocado and a bit of garlic salt. So yummy! I eat that almost every day with either breakfast or lunch.
So what’s the trick to eating bread and not gaining weight?
You simply have to know which breads are best for weight loss. After all, not all breads are created equal. Research shows that refined, white-flour breads are associated with weight gain and belly fat—but whole grain breads can actually help with weight loss.
I’ll recommend specific breads for you to try, but before I do, here are some general guidelines that can be helpful for you, since different stores carry different brands.
How to Tell if a Bread is Good for Weight Loss
So, white bread is bad, and wheat bread is good, right? Well, not exactly, because wheat bread is just a misleading name for white bread. Instead of looking for something simply labeled “wheat,” you want to go for bread that is whole wheat or whole grain. White breads often try to masquerade as whole wheat or whole grain breads, so it’s easy to get fooled by brown tinted bags, pictures of waving wheat, or healthy-sounding words, like “natural” or “multigrain.”
Slick marketing tactics can make you think you’re buying something healthier than it really is. To make sure you don’t get tricked, here are some foolproof guidelines that will make you a savvy shopper for weight-loss-friendly breads:
- The bread should say “100% whole grain” or “100% whole wheat” (or both) on the front of the package.
- One slice should have at least 3 grams of fiber.
- One slice should have no more than 3 grams of sugar.
- There should be no hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, or artificial sweeteners in the ingredient list.
The 3 Best Breads for Losing Weight
This brand is the best of the best because:
- All the ingredients are organic.
- The bread is sugar free.
- All the grains are sprouted whole grains, which increases the nutritional content and helps keep blood sugars lower.
- In addition to the sprouted whole grains, the bread contains two types of sprouted beans, which increases the protein content and also helps keep blood sugars lower.
- This bread is excellent for pre-diabetics, diabetics, or anyone who wants to keep their blood sugars lower.
Look for this bread in the freezer section of your grocery store and in health food stores.
These breads earned a worthy second place, because:
- They are non-GMO and vegan.
- They are made with organic sprouted whole grains.
- All breads have at least 3 grams of fiber per slice, but most have 4 or 5 grams
- All breads have only 1 or 2 grams of sugar per slice.
Look for it in the healthy bread section of progressive grocery stores, at health food stores, and Aldi.
Rounding off the top-three list, this bread has a number of things going for it:
- There’s no misleading labeling. This bread is exactly what it says it is: 100 percent whole wheat flour.
- Free of high fructose corn syrup, it stays within the guidelines of 3 grams of sugar (or less) per slice.
- Each slice of bread has 3 grams of fiber—enough to rank as a gold-star weight-loss bread.
Other “Honorable Mention” Breads That Are Worth Trying
If you’re not able to find the breads listed above at your local grocery store, here are some honorable mentions you might want to try. Though much better than white breads, these brands have less fiber than the top three in the previous list, making them slightly less effective for weight loss.
How Much Bread Can I Eat and Still Lose Weight?
Remember, no matter what kind of bread you eat, you still don’t want to fill your plate with it. All bread, even whole grain bread, is a processed food, not a natural fiber food, like fruits, veggies or beans. That means bread should be limited to 25 percent of your plate.
We recommend having no more than one slice a day.
Since sandwiches generally require two slices of bread, we encourage you to give open-faced sandwiches a try.
Bread is Back on the Menu
You can enjoy bread and still lose weight, as long as you follow the simple guidelines above. I know it works, because I follow these guidelines myself. Most days of the week, I enjoy a slice of whole grain bread, while the rest of my plate is piled with scrumptious, satisfying, natural fiber foods.
No doubt, many other breads out there meet our best-breads criteria, but I couldn’t find them at our local grocery stores here in Ardmore, Oklahoma. So if you discover a winning bread in your neck of the woods, please share it with me. I know our readers will appreciate it as well.
Whether trying to avoid gluten or not, people often buy gluten-free breads because they think they are healthier and more nutritious than whole wheat or whole grain breads. However, they are not necessarily a better choice simply because they don’t contain gluten. Gluten-free breads are often higher in sugar, salt and fat because manufacturers increase these to make the breads taste better. They are usually made with unenriched refined grains, which results in less fiber, B vitamins, iron and protein than whole wheat or whole grain breads.
However, Food For Life Baking Company makes some of the healthiest gluten-free breads on the market. They make six different gluten-free breads with whole grain brown or black rice as the first ingredient, chia and/or flaxseed added for more fiber and nutrition, as well as being low-sodium. They also make four different organic gluten-free breads with sprouted quinoa as the first ingredient, plus sprouted millet and sprouted chia seeds, also low-sodium.
Products are always coming to market, so keep an eye out for other gluten-free products that include whole food products.
Full Plate Living is a small-step approach with big health outcomes. It's provided as a free service of Ardmore Institute of Health.