Sandwich breads: loaves you can love.
"Sandwich bread can be a great source of grains, containing vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, and potassium, that are essential to your diet. Whole grains also contain carbohydrates, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber," says Rachel Combe MS, RD, CDN, CNSC, a clinical dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. "These nutrients play a part in numerous functions for a healthy body."
Some of these functions include:
* helping the heart beat
* weight management through satiety promotion
* lowering cholesterol and blood pressure
* blood sugar regulation
* making red blood cells and carrying oxygen in the blood
* immune health
* bone building.
However, some breads are more nutritious than others.
Make sure it's whole grain. In order to gain the best benefits from eating grains, look for 100-percent whole grain, suggests Combe. The less refined the grain, the better. How can you tell if the bread is genuinely whole grain? Don't fall for misleading labels, such as "whole wheat," "multi-grain" or "made with whole grains"--these terms don't necessarily mean the products are good sources of whole grains. Instead, look for the first ingredient to be whole grain.
Look for beneficial ingredients. Today's breads are based upon more than just wheat flour; alternative flours, sprouted grains, seeds, nuts, and other ingredients are added to the mix, further improving their flavor and nutritional profile. For example, flax, hemp or chia can push up beneficial levels of fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, and alternative flours, such as chickpea, nut, and quinoa, can offer a nutritious option for those suffering from allergies or intolerance to gluten.
Beware of unwanted ingredients. A humble slice of bread can be packed with undesirable ingredients, with salt being the top offender. In fact, bread is the number one source of sodium in the U.S. diet. So, check the Nutrition Facts label to make sure that your favorite sandwich bread is moderate in sodium--less than 200 milligrams per slice. Combe also warns that some breads can be very high in calories, and, while "light" breads can be lower in calories, they also are lower in weight and nutrients. In addition, "high fiber" breads often contain isolated fiber, such as inulin or chicory root fiber, which don't provide the same heart health benefits associated with fiber-rich grains. Look at the ingredient list for whole grains, rather than additives, as your primary source of fiber in bread. Aim for 25 grams (g) of fiber per day for women and 38 g for men if you're under 50; if you're over 50, your target should be 21 g for women and 30 g for men.
Watch portions. Even if you're confident your favorite bread is a healthy option, you can't eat it with abandon. The average, moderately active person needs only six servings of grains per day (based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet); one slice of bread counts as one serving, so a two-slice sandwich takes up one-third of your grain servings for the entire day.
SUPERMARKET SLEUTH TOP 10 SANDWICH BREADS CALORIES PROTEIN(G) (1 SLICE) 1. Ezekiel 4:9 Flax 80 5 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread 2. Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium 80 4 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread 3. Trader Joe's Low Fat 90 5 Sprouted Whole Wheat Fiber Bread 4. Rudi's Double Fiber 90 5 5. Breadsmith Austrian Pumpernickel 90 3 6. Dave's Killer Bread Oregon Grains 110 6 7. Rudi's 100% Whole Wheat Bread 100 4 8. Silver Hills Sprouted 100 7 Bakery Steady Eddie 9. La Brea Bread 100% 100 4 Whole Wheat & Honey 10. Breadsmith Multigrain 120 4 Whole Wheat FAT/SAT TOP 10 SANDWICH BREADS FIBER(G) FAT(G) CARBS(G) 1. Ezekiel 4:9 Flax 5 1/0 14 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread 2. Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium 3 0.5/0 15 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread 3. Trader Joe's Low Fat 5 0.5/0 19 Sprouted Whole Wheat Fiber Bread 4. Rudi's Double Fiber 6 1/0 17 5. Breadsmith Austrian Pumpernickel 4 0.5/0 19 6. Dave's Killer Bread Oregon Grains 5 1.5/0 20 7. Rudi's 100% Whole Wheat Bread 3 1/0 18 8. Silver Hills Sprouted 4 1/0 12 Bakery Steady Eddie 9. La Brea Bread 100% 3 2/0 19 Whole Wheat & Honey 10. Breadsmith Multigrain 4 1.5/0 22 Whole Wheat TOP 10 SANDWICH BREADS SUGAR (G) SODIUM (MG) 1. Ezekiel 4:9 Flax 0 70 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread 2. Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium 0 0 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread 3. Trader Joe's Low Fat 2 160 Sprouted Whole Wheat Fiber Bread 4. Rudi's Double Fiber 1 170 5. Breadsmith Austrian Pumpernickel 0 115 6. Dave's Killer Bread Oregon Grains 3 150 7. Rudi's 100% Whole Wheat Bread 2 150 8. Silver Hills Sprouted 1 105 Bakery Steady Eddie 9. La Brea Bread 100% 2 190 Whole Wheat & Honey 10. Breadsmith Multigrain 3 180 Whole Wheat Note: g = grams, oz=ounces, Sat Fat = saturated fat Carb = carbohydrates Nutritional Information from manufacturer labeling. Top Ten List (based on supermarket survey of popular brands, but may not include all products available): Listed in ascending order of calories; at or below 110 calories. 1st ingredient is a whole grain. Products contain no partially hydrogenated oils, MSG, artificial colors or sweeteners, and contain < 4 g sugar, 0 g saturated fat, < 200 mg sodium, and at least 3g fiber and 3g protein per serving.