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
But labels can be confusing. For instance, loaves of bread labeled ‘multigrain’ or ‘12 grain’ can contain a mix of grains and even white flour. Loaves of bread labeled ‘100% Whole Grain’ or ‘100% Whole Wheat’ won’t have other flours, like white, mixed in.
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Less than half of the loaves of bread that Consumer Reports looked at that were labeled multigrain, oat, made with whole-grain actually contained JUST whole-grains
In addition to a high proportion of whole grains, Consumer Reports experts say the best healthy loaves of bread have minimal additives, two or three grams of fiber per slice, less than 150 milligrams of sodium and two or less grams of added sugars.
Nuts and seeds are an added bonus in bread - they add flavor, crunch, healthy fats, and fiber.
Here are some loaves of bread that CR raised a toast to: 365 Whole Foods Market OrganicAncient Grains will upgrade your sandwich - it has 16 grams of whole grains in a slice, and is low in added sugars and sodium.
Your morning toast will be better with Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat. It has less than a gram of added sugar per slice.
A slice of Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Power seed has more than a serving of whole grains, with 19 grams. Spread with peanut butter for a protein-packed snack!
For anyone wondering whether homemade bread is healthier - the answer is that it certainly can be. CR points out that with homemade you can avoid extra sugars, and additives - and look for a recipe created specifically for whole grain flour.