The answer is no; of course not.
There are so many different types of bread out there, so how do you decide which one to choose?
We’re going to look at the nutrition of each of the different types of bread out there, as well as what makes each one different.
Is bread healthy?
Bread is always one of the first foods to be labeled as “bad” when someone sets out to be healthier.
We see bread as nothing but empty calories & carbs with little nutritional value, but that idea is incredibly misguided.
In fact, bread can be very healthy!
First, let’s look at the general nutrition of a slice of bread. Here’s what one slice of “Dave’s Killer Bread” bread looks like:
110 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 22g Carbs (5g Fiber & 5g Sugar), and 5g Protein.
This specific bread is also USDA certified organic and Non-GMO, but those are both topics for a different discussion.
In terms of nutrition, there really is not anything to fear. We often think of bread as something that is insanely high in carbs, but with 22g of carbs per slice (and only around 100 calories), it’s not very high at all.
The carbs in a slice of bread are comparable to:
- 1/2 Cup Pasta
- 1/2 Cup Rice
- 1 Medium Apple
- 1oz Popcorn
“Simple” vs “Complex” Carbs
This idea of bread being unhealthy often comes back to the idea of simple vs complex carbs, or sometimes referred to as “good” vs “bad” carbs.
First of all, no food should ever be labeled as bad.
That is always rule number one.
Second, the idea of complex carbs is not nearly as important as it is made out to seem.
When people think of “good” carbs, also known as complex carbs, they’re talking about things like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, etc.
These are generally considered healthier because they contain slightly more fiber and more micronutrients and digest slower in the body.
Many people opt for these types of carbs because they don’t cause as much of a rise in blood sugar, so they assume that is healthier.
When we think of “bad” carbs (or simple carbs), we’re thinking of foods like white rice, white bread, pasta, etc.
These carbs get a bad rap because they don’t contain as much fiber, and they’re digested faster in your body, causing a quick rise in your blood sugar.
However, assuming you are not diabetic, this rise in blood sugar is not something you need to be concerned with.
A rise in blood sugar doesn’t mean that your body suddenly has a ton of sugar running through its veins, and it’s not something you need to be concerned with.
If the goal is to control your weight, it’s the overall calories that matter. Sure, maybe “complex” carbs are a better choice for you because they help keep you full for longer. Or, maybe you just prefer the taste of whole wheat bread.
But at the end of the day, it comes down to preference. Are whole, unprocessed carbs a smart choice? Of course. But that doesn’t make other kinds of carbs off-limits.
If your goal is weight loss, you can eat white bread or pasta and still accomplish that. There is no magic to complex carbs that will prevent you from gaining weight- if you eat too much of them, resulting in too many calories, you will still gain weight.
You can have your bread and eat it, too!
Wheat vs whole wheat
For the longest time, I would opt for wheat bread thinking that I was buying whole wheat bread, but I came to learn that they are NOT the same thing.
Wheat bread is simply bread that is made with wheat flour (when any part of the wheat grain is ground up). All-Purpose flour, or the flour that you most likely have in your pantry, is a type of wheat flour, as well as bread flour, cake flour, and others.
Whole wheat flour is also a type of wheat flour, but it is made by keeping the entire wheat grain intact. While regular wheat flour will only use a part of the wheat grain (thus removing some of the nutrients), whole wheat flour uses the entire grain, resulting in more nutrients overall.
In other words: Whole wheat bread is less refined, leading to more nutrients overall, and it definitely a healthy bread to choose. Wheat bread is not the same thing!
Whole grain vs multigrain
Similar to the wheat vs whole wheat breakdown, whole grain and multigrain are two types of bread that are often mistaken for each other.
Simply put, multigrain bread is bread that has been made with multiple types of grains. Wheat grain, oat grain, rye grain, etc… multigrain bread can contain any combination of grains out there.
Whole grain bread can also be made with any types of grains, but the difference is that the grains are left fully intact. Just like how whole wheat bread keeps the wheat grain fully intact, this leads to more nutrients overall.
If you’re looking for more naturally occurring nutrients (and fiber), whole grain bread is a wise choice of multigrain bread.
What is “Artisinal bread”
When I first came across a label that said “artisanal bread,” I bought it immediately.
If anything has the word artisan on it, it sounds like there is an expert craftsman alone on a mountain somewhere making the product. So, it must be good!
Artisan bread really doesn’t have an exact definition, I’ve come to find out. Generally, it refers to bread that is not mass-produced with machines the same way most bread on shelves is made.
It may or may not be made by hand in smaller batches, and will likely have a shorter shelf life than mass-produced loaves of bread.
But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthier (it can be the same exact bread like any other load), even though it certainly sounds like it would be healthier!
What are the different types of bread?
We’re going to look at 16 main types of bread from around the world.
While there are way more than 16 types of bread in the world, we’re going to focus on the most popular types that you will find at your grocery store (here in the United States, anyway).
We’re going to look at the basic nutrition for a thin slice (roughly 1oz, or a typical sandwich bread slice) of each type of bread, as well as what makes it unique.
Note that bread will more or less have very similar nutrition, regardless of the type of bread. Ingredients are very similar for most bread but can vary based on the exact brand. I will note which brand I used to get the nutrition, but keep in mind that it may be different from what you might see on another label.
White bread nutrition: 70 Calories, 1g Fat, 14.5g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 2.5g Sugar, 2g Protein
Nutrition for 1 slice (roughly 1 ounce) of Wonder Bread.
What is white bread? White bread is a sandwich bread that is heavily processed to obtain the color and flavor. This processing removes most nutrients, but most white bread will be “fortified” to add nutrients back in.
Wheat bread nutrition: 70 Calories, 1g Fat, 13g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 2g Sugar, 2g Protein
Nutrition for 1 slice (roughly 1 ounce) of Walmart Wheat Sandwich Bread.
What is wheat bread? Wheat bread is NOT the same as whole wheat! A bread made with wheat flour, which is refined white flour. Very similar to white bread with slightly more nutrients.
Whole wheat bread
Whole wheat bread nutrition: 60 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 11g Carbs, 2g Fiber, <1g Sugar, 4g Protein
Nutrition for 1 slice (roughly 1 ounce) of Sara Lee.
What is whole wheat bread? Whole wheat bread is bread made from wheat kernels that have been left intact and not processed (like white bread). It is overall healthier and more nutrient-rich than wheat bread and is a type of whole-grain bread.
Multigrain bread nutrition: 70 Calories, 1g Fat, 13g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 2g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for 1 slice (roughly 1 ounce) of thin-sliced Brownberry Multigrain Bread.
What is multigrain bread? Multigrain bread is NOT the same as whole grain! Multigrain simply means that the bread was made with multiple different types of grains, which may include refined and processed grains (with fewer nutrients overall).
Whole grain bread
Whole grain bread nutrition: 60 Calories, 1g Fat, 12g Carbs, 3g Fiber, 3g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for 1 slice (roughly 1 ounce) of thin-sliced Whole Grain Dave’s Killer Bread.
What is whole grain bread? Whole grain bread is bread made with grains that have been left fully intact. These grains can contain wheat, whole barley, brown rice, and more, but fiber & nutrients will be more plentiful than wheat bread.
Sprouted grain bread
Sprouted grain bread nutrition: 60 Calories, 1g Fat, 13g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 2g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for 1 slice (roughly 1 ounce) of thin-sliced Brownberry Sprouted Grain Bread.
What is sprouted grain bread? Sprouted grain bread is made from grains that have been exposed to warm, moist conditions. Sprouted grains help digestion and increase the absorption rate of nutrients in the body.
Sourdough bread nutrition: 90 Calories, 1g Fat, 16.5g Carbs, 0g Fiber, 1g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for 1oz of Pepperidge Farm Sourdough Bread.
What is sourdough bread? Sourdough can be any type of bread previously mentioned, but the rise comes from fermentation (a sourdough starter of yeast, flour, & water) rather than commercial yeast, resulting in a more sour taste. Ingredients are typical very minimal, and you will generally find sourdough being a basic wheat bread.
Rye bread nutrition: 90 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 16g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 1g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for 1oz of Oroweat Jewish Rye Bread.
What is rye bread? Rye bread is made from rye grain (using rye flour), resulting in bread that is denser and higher in fiber than wheat bread. Most rye bread will be whole grain, and you’ll see light rye, dark rye, and marble rye varieties.
Pumpernickel bread nutrition: 80 Calories, 1g Fat, 15g Carbs, 2g Fiber, 1g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for 1oz (1 slice) of Pepperidge Farm Pumpernickel.
What is pumpernickel bread? Pumpernickel is made from coarsely ground rye grain and fermented with a sourdough starter. It is slightly sweeter than rye bread, but has a very similar flavor profile to rye bread.
Brioche bread nutrition: 110 Calories, 3.5g Fat, 17g Carbs, <1g Fiber, 4.5g Sugar, 2.5g Protein
Nutrition for roughly 1oz (1 slice) of St. Pierre Bakery Brioche.
What is brioche bread? Brioche bread is a very rich bread made with additions of eggs, milk, and butter. This results in a higher fat content, and more calories in most cases, than most other bread.
Due to its buttery flavor, you’ll find brioche bread used very often in French Toast or as sandwich buns (take it from me, who has used brioche buns for numerous recipes).
Challah bread nutrition: 90 Calories, 3g Fat, 13g Carbs, 0.5g Fiber, 1.5g Sugar, 2.5g Protein
Nutrition for roughly 1oz Whole Food’s Challah Bread.
What is challah bread? Challah bread is very similar bread to brioche, but uses oil instead of butter, resulting in a bread that is still rich, but less buttery in flavor than brioche. Challah bread is braided, and it commonly eaten for Jewish holidays.
Flatbread nutrition: We can not specifically state flatbread nutrition, as it varies greatly depending on the type and size.
What is flat bread? Flatbread is generally a very simple mixture of flour, water, and salt, which is rolled flat. Some flatbread may also have yeast involved to help them rise, like pita bread, Naan, or focaccia.
Cornbread nutrition: 110 Calories, 6.5g Fat, 12g Carbs, <1g Fiber, <1g Sugar, 1.5g Protein
Nutrition for roughly 1oz of Walmart brand cornbread.
What is cornbread? Cornbread is quite different from most other types of bread, not only because it is a quick bread made from cornmeal, but also because of it’s cake-like texture. You will typically find cornbread cut into squares or baked as muffins vs sliced like most other bread. Cornbread may be savory or sweet, depending on the baker and how much sugar they choose to include.
French Baguette nutrition: 85 Calories, 0.5g Fat, 16g Carbs, <1g Fiber, 0g Sugar, 3g Protein
Nutrition for roughly 1oz La Brea Bakery French Baguette.
What is a French Baguette? A baguette is a long, stick-like type of French bread, and what we most commonly think of when we think of French bread. The ingredients are very basic, making the nutrition quite appealing overall, and it is recognizable by its long shape and crunchy exterior.
Ciabatta nutrition: 70 Calories, 0g Fat, 15g Carbs, <1g Fiber, <1g Sugar, 2.5g Protein
Nutrition for roughly 1oz Walmart brand ciabatta.
What is Ciabatta bread? Ciabatta bread is an Italian bread made with simple ingredients and very similar overall to a French baguette. It is known for it’s flatter and square shape, and has a very airy interior. If you order a panini, it will most often be served on ciabatta bread.
Soda bread nutrition: 80 Calories, 1.5g Fat, 16g Carbs, 1g Fiber, 0g Sugar, 2g Protein
Nutrition for roughly 1oz of soda bread according to the USDA.
What is soda bread? Also known as Irish Soda Bread, this quick bread is made with baking soda as its leavening agent vs the traditional use of yeast in most other bread. Is often served with nuts and fruit inside as sweeter bread.
Other Types of Bread
We looked at 16 popular types of bread, but there are certainly many others out there. These other types of breads deserve some honorable mentions, but we’re not going to break them down in as much detail:
English Muffin: Small, round rolls with the ever-famous “nooks & crannies” we’ve all come to love.
Bagel: Known for their unique shape, bagels differ from traditional bread due to the fact that they are typically boiled and then baked, resulting in their signature chewy texture. (If you want to make your own bagels, be sure to check out my simple bagel recipe!)
Tortilla: Thin, unleavened bread made from either cornmeal or flour.
Banana Bread: Banana bread is more of a cake than bread, but it can be categorized as a quick bread. The addition of bananas as an ingredient leads to a moist, sweet interior.
Bread Roll: Depending on the type of roll, it may use the same dough as traditional bread dough, but shaped into individual rolls to be used for sandwiches or as a dinner side dish.
Brown Bread: Brown bread is known for its dark brown color, which can be achieved using large amounts of whole-grain flours, along with the addition of dark-colored ingredients like molasses (which also results in a slightly sweeter bread). Cheesecake Factory has their famous brown bread, which is personally one of my favorite breads out there!
Pretzel: One of the best snacks of all time. You can view my entire Pretzel Nutrition Guide here.
What is the healthiest bread to eat?
Now that we’ve broken down all the different types of bread, you may be trying to figure out which one is the healthiest.
Quite frankly, any one of these can be considered healthy bread. At the end of the day, it comes down to your preferences.
Are you looking for bread with higher fiber? Whole grain bread is the way to go.
Are you looking for simple ingredients? Any basic bread will do, but you’ll want to keep an eye on the ingredients list, and will likely prefer organic options.
Are you looking for low-carb bread? Going with a flatbread or tortilla may be your best bett, but all bread is going to be relatively high in carbs due to flour being the main ingredient!
When it comes to bread, as long as the ingredients are simple, it’s really not unhealthy at all.
Certain sweeter bread, like Challah, Brioche, Cornbread, Banana Bread, and others, will be higher in sugar content; if that’s a concern for you, then it’d be wise to stick with more basic styles of bread.
But otherwise, I truly believe that if you like bread (I mean, who doesn’t?), that you should allow yourself to enjoy it!
Remember: it always comes down to moderation. As long as you have a balanced diet, there is no reason to fear bread.