How to choose the best healthy bread
The wall of bread in your grocery store can be daunting. There seem to be more and more healthy ones to choose from – you’ll see labels like “multigrain,” “made with whole wheat,” “grains and seeds” and more.
To help decipher the labels to make a healthy choice, look for whole grains listed first on the ingredient list. A whole grain has all three parts it was grown with – the bran, the germ and the endosperm – and is more nutritious than a refined grain, which doesn’t include the two outer layers. Whole grains are high in fiber, which generally makes you feel fuller.
More good news: Whole grains are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems.
However, labels can be confusing. For instance, breads labelled “multigrain” or “12 grain” can contain a mix of grains, and even white flour. Breads labelled “100 per cent whole grain” or “100 per cent whole wheat” won’t have other flours, like white, mixed in.
Fewer than half of the breads that Consumer Reports looked at that were labeled multigrain, oat, or made with whole grain actually contained only whole grains.
In addition to a high proportion of whole grains, Consumer Reports experts say the best healthy breads have minimal additives, two or three grams of fibre per slice, less than 150 milligrams of sodium, and two grams of added sugars or less.
Nuts and seeds are an added bonus in bread. They add flavor, crunch, healthy fats and fibre.
Here are some breads that Consumer Reports raised a toast to:
365 Whole Foods Market Organic Ancient Grains will upgrade your sandwich. It has 16 grams of whole grains in a slice, and is low in added sugars and sodium.
A slice of Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Powerseed has more than a serving of whole grains, with 19 grams. Spread it with peanut butter for a protein-packed snack.
For anyone wondering whether homemade bread is healthier, the answer is that it certainly can be. Consumer Reports points out that with homemade you can avoid extra sugars and additives and look for a recipe created specifically for whole-grain flour.
Files from Consumer Reports