Bread options abound, but which one is the best?

Fad diets and concerns about carbs and sugar have given bread a bad rap. And with so many options—whole wheat bread, rye bread, sourdough bread, oat bread, sprouted bread—it’s hard to know which one is the healthiest bread. And that’s just the beginning. There are flours to consider: white flour versus whole wheat flour, refined flour versus unrefined flour, not to mention gluten-free, sugar-free and yeast-free flours.

How to know if your bread is healthy:

Check bread ingredients

The top ingredient on the list will be the one there is most of in that product. Usually, some type of flour will be first, followed by water. If you’re watching your sugar, make sure that it’s not number two or even three on the label.

Read the nutrition label

Unless you track every gram of the nutrients you consume in a day, reading labels can be confusing. Instead of looking at the grams, look at the percent daily value of a nutrient. These are based on adult diets of 2000 calories a day. Five percent or less isn’t much. 15 percent or more is a lot. Nutrients you want in your bread: fibre, calcium and iron. What you don’t want lots of: salt, trans fat and sugar.

Look for whole grain, non-refined flour

100% whole grain bread has many health benefits, including minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants and insoluble fibre. Fibre is great for your gut, helps remove excess hormones and waste and builds healthy gut bacteria.

Be mindful of multigrain bread

Multigrain doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Multigrain could mean refined flour bread with whole grains, seeds and other extras added.

Look for sugars

Some sugars are naturally occurring, others are added in for taste. Look out for sucrose/glucose or fructose on the ingredients list.

Gluten is good

Unless you have celiac disease or a diagnosed gluten sensitivity, there’s no reason to avoid. Gluten-free bread is often higher in calories, sugar and preservatives. Plus glutinous bread just tastes better.

Try freshly baked bread

Need to know the ingredients or nutritional value of bread at your local bakery? Just ask. They likely have labels they can share to help you choose the right loaf for you.

No go forth and find the healthiest bread for you. Already have a nutritious and delicious favourite loaf? Share in the comments!