Certain types are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while others are made from refined grains and offer little in terms of nutrition.
Naturally, you may wonder what kind of bread is healthiest.
Here are the 7 healthiest breads you can choose.
1. Sprouted Whole Grain
Sprouted bread is made from whole grains that have started to sprout from exposure to heat and moisture.
Sprouting has been shown to increase the amount and availability of certain nutrients (1).
One study found that pita bread made with 50% sprouted wheat flour had over 3 times as much folate, a vitamin critical for converting food into energy, than pita made without sprouted wheat flour (2).
What's more, this process breaks down some of the starch in grains and decreases carb content.
Therefore, sprouted grains do not increase blood sugar as much as other grains, making them a good choice for people with diabetes or reduced blood sugar control (5).
Plus, most sprouted breads are high in fiber and protein. As such, they're more filling than more refined breads (6).
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbs: 15 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Sprouting helps increase the amount and availability of certain nutrients. Breads made from sprouted whole grains are high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and may have less of an impact on blood sugar than other breads.
Sourdough is made through a fermentation process that relies on naturally occurring yeast and bacteria to make the bread rise (8).
Fermentation helps reduce the number of phytates, also known as phytic acid, that bind to certain minerals and impair their absorption (9).
Sourdough may also be easier to digest than other breads, possibly due to its prebiotics, as well as the probiotics created during the fermentation process (8).
Probiotics are healthy bacteria found in your body and certain foods, whereas prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed these bacteria. Getting enough of each promotes good gut health and digestion (10).
Finally, sourdough bread is thought to have a low glycemic index (GI), a measure of the impact a food has on blood sugar (11).
One slice (47 grams) of whole-wheat sourdough gives (14):
- Calories: 120
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0 grams
- Carbs: 20 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Sourdough bread is made through a fermentation process that boosts its digestibility, improves the availability of certain nutrients, and lowers its blood sugar effects.
3. 100% Whole Wheat
Whole grains keep the entire grain intact, including the germ, endosperm, and bran. The bran, which is the hard, outer layer, is high in fiber (15).
The bran and germ also contain protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds, while the endosperm is mostly starch (15).
That's why whole grains, including whole wheat, are higher in fiber and considered more nutritious than refined grains, which have been processed to remove the bran and germ.
However, it's important to note that many manufacturers label breads "whole wheat" so that they appear healthier, even when they mostly consist of refined flour.
Look for breads that have 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain flour listed as their first ingredient and do not sneak unnecessary ingredients, such as added sugars or vegetable oils.
One slice (46 grams) of whole-wheat bread contains (18):
- Calories: 110
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Carbs: 23 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
Whole-wheat bread made from 100% whole-wheat flour is higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals than breads made from refined wheat.
4. Oat Bread
Oat bread is typically made from a combination of oats, whole-wheat flour, yeast, water, and salt.
Since oats are highly nutritious and linked to a number of health benefits, oat bread can be a healthy choice.
In particular, oats are high in fiber and beneficial nutrients, including magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamine), iron, and zinc. The fiber in oats, known as beta-glucan, may help lower cholesterol levels, regulate blood sugar, and decrease high blood pressure (19, 20, 21, 22).
A review of 28 studies found that eating 3 grams or more of oat beta-glucan per day significantly decreased LDL (bad) and total cholesterol levels compared to not eating oats (20).
The study also found that the cholesterol-lowering effects of beta-glucan in oats were greater in people with higher baseline cholesterol levels (20).
However, just because a bread has "oats" or "oatmeal" on its label doesn't mean that it's healthy. Some oat breads only have a small amount of oats and are mostly made of refined flours, added sugars, and oils.
To find a more nutritious oat bread, look for one that lists oats and whole-wheat flour as the first two ingredients.
One slice (48 grams) of whole-grain oat bread contains (21):
- Calories: 130
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 1.5 grams
- Carbs: 23 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
Oat bread made from oats and whole-grain flour boasts the fiber beta-glucan, which may help lower cholesterol and has been linked to a number of health benefits.
5. Flax Bread
Flax bread, which is made primarily from whole-grain flours and flax seeds, is one of the healthiest breads you can eat.
This is because flax seeds are highly nutritious and offer a number of health benefits. Particularly, they are an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid found in plant foods (23).
A large review of 27 studies found that a high intake of dietary ALA was associated with a lower risk of heart disease (24).
What's more, flax seeds boast compounds called lignans that can act as antioxidants in your body and may help protect against certain cancers (25).
In fact, one study in 6,000 postmenopausal women suggested that those who regularly ate flax seeds had an 18% lower chance of developing breast cancer compared to those who did not eat them (26).
Interestingly, those who ate flax bread were 23% less likely to get breast cancer than those who didn't eat it (26).
However, it's important to note that this study was observational. More research is needed to understand the connection between flax seeds and cancer risk.
Nevertheless, eating flax bread and other foods with flax seeds may have additional benefits, such as improved digestive health (27).
Be sure to look for flax breads made with minimal ingredients, such as whole-wheat and/or sprouted whole-grain flours, yeast, water, salt, and flax seeds.
One slice (34 grams) of Ezekiel Sprouted Whole-Grain Flax Bread contains (28):
- Calories: 80
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Fiber: 4 grams
Flax bread contains plant-based omega-3 fatty acids that promote good heart health, as well as compounds called lignans that may help protect against certain cancers.
6. 100% Sprouted Rye Bread
Rye closely resembles wheat but is usually darker and denser.
Traditional rye bread is only made from rye flour and does not contain any wheat flour, whereas most modern rye breads are made from a combination of the two. Rye loaves also typically have caraway seeds baked into them.
One study in 12 healthy adults found that those who ate whole-grain rye bread released significantly less insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, than those who ate white-wheat bread (30).
Rye's ability to lower your body's insulin response is likely due to its high soluble fiber content.
Soluble fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate that dissolves in water and becomes gel-like in your gut. Eating foods with soluble fiber helps slow your digestion of carbs, which decreases insulin release and reduces blood sugar spikes (33, 34, 35).
The healthiest rye breads are made from 100% whole-grain sprouted rye flour, in addition to other sprouted grain flours. Since sprouting increases grains' fiber content, sprouted rye is higher in fiber and healthier than non-sprouted rye (36, 37).
One slice (28 grams) of sprouted rye bread provides (38):
- Calories: 60
- Protein: 4 grams
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
Sprouted rye bread is high in soluble fiber, which helps slow your digestion of carbs and decrease your body's insulin response.
7. Healthy Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten-free breads are made without glutenous grains like wheat, rye, or barley.
They are safe options for people who need to avoid gluten, such as those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.
While the exact ingredients in gluten-free loaves depend on the type, they are typically made from a mix of gluten-free flours, such as brown rice, almond, coconut, tapioca, potato, or corn flours.
Many people wrongly assume that gluten-free breads are healthier than those that contain gluten. However, most gluten-free varieties are made from refined flours and high in added sugars, as well as other unnecessary additives.
However, those made from almond or coconut flours, such as Barely Bread, tend to be lower in carbs and calories but higher in fiber and protein than loaves made from wheat or other grains (39).
The higher fiber and protein content in these products may help fill you up more than other breads while packing fewer calories and less starch (40).
One slice (36 grams) of Barely Bread 100% Grain-Free bread gives you (39):
- Calories: 90
- Protein: 3 grams
- Fat: 5 grams
- Carbs: 6 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
Some gluten-free breads harbor refined flours that are high in starch and unhealthy sweeteners, so be sure to choose ones that have healthier ingredients, fewer carbs, and more fiber.
How to Choose a Healthy Bread
To choose a healthy bread, look for brands that have:
- 100% whole-grain or sprouted flours listed as the first ingredient, with limited other ingredients
- 3–5 grams of fiber and 3–6 grams of protein per slice
- No added sweeteners
One of the best ways to ensure that you're choosing a healthy bread is to make it yourself. This way, you can control the ingredients. Hundreds of recipes for homemade breads are available online to suit most every dietary need.
Keep in mind that while the breads on this list are healthier than other varieties, bread is generally not as nutritious as other whole foods.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds, as well as whole grains that have not been milled into flour, typically pack more fiber and beneficial nutrients than bread.
What's more, many breads are made with added sugars and vegetable oils high in omega-6 fats, such as soybean oil. Excess intake of these ingredients has been linked to chronic inflammation that may lead to illnesses, including heart disease (40, 41).
In addition, some people may need to reduce their carb intake and thus limit bread consumption, such as those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, as well as anyone on a low-carb diet (42).
That said, bread can be enjoyed in moderation — as part of a balanced diet that includes a variety of other nutritious foods.
When choosing a healthy bread, look for ones with 100% whole-grain or sprouted flour and without added sugars and vegetable oils.
The Bottom Line
Some breads are healthier than others.
To choose a beneficial bread, look for varieties made from 100% whole-grain and/or sprouted-grain flours. Make sure your bread has no added sweeteners or vegetable oils.
A few good options include sourdough, rye, flax, and oat breads.
Whichever you choose, remember to eat bread in moderation as part of a balanced diet, alongside a variety of nutritious whole foods.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
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By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.
We Need More Than Listening<p>By now we have all become sadly accustomed to the current administration sidelining scientists, most prominently Dr. Anthony Fauci, because the facts they provide do not fit with the political rhetoric of the moment.</p><p>I have <a href="https://www.csldf.org/2019/08/22/csldf-helps-climate-scientist-maria-caffrey-fight-for-scientific-integrity/" target="_blank">my own history</a> of filing a scientific integrity complaint with the National Park Service (which falls under the Department of the Interior) after senior ranking employees attempted to censor one of my scientific reports. I know all too well the damage and pain that these actions cause, not just for the individual scientist, but also because these <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/attacks-on-science" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">attacks on science</a> over the last few years have undermined sound, evidence-based decision making.</p><p>President-elect Biden has repeatedly said that he will <a href="https://thehill.com/homenews/521638-trump-biden-will-listen-to-the-scientists-if-elected" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">listen to the scientists</a>. While this is certainly a welcome change, listening can only take us so far. This past week Lauren Kurtz from the <a href="https://www.csldf.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Climate Science Legal Defense Fund</a> and my colleague <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/about/people/gretchen-goldman" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Gretchen Goldman</a> published <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ten-steps-that-can-restore-scientific-integrity-in-government/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">an article</a> listing 10 actions the new administration should implement to show their commitment to strengthening government science:</p><ol><li>Clearly prohibit political interference and censorship.</li><li>Protect scientists' communication rights.</li><li>Acknowledge that attempts to violate scientific integrity, even if ultimately not fruitful, are still violations.</li><li>Protect federal scientists' right to provide information to Congress and other lawmakers.</li><li>Commit to incorporating the best science as part of agency decisions.</li><li>Elevate agency scientific integrity policies to have the full force of law.</li><li>Publicly release anonymized information about scientific integrity complaints and their resolutions at every agency.</li><li>Institute an intra-agency workforce, potentially under the White House <a href="https://www.ucsusa.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/strengthening-science-and-si-at-ostp.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Office of Science and Technology Policy</a>, to coordinate scientific integrity efforts across agencies, foster discussion of policy improvements, and standardize criteria for policies across agencies.</li><li>Strengthen whistleblower protections.</li><li>Ensure that policies cover all actors who will be dealing with science.</li></ol>
Time for Action<p>I have spoken to many scientists, particularly federal scientists, who are eager to turn the page so they can hurry back to the work they had been doing before this administration, but I urge caution in assuming that things can be "normal" again.</p><p>Before Trump, I naively thought the scientific integrity policies established during the <a href="https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2016/12/19/scientific-integrity-policies-update" target="_blank">Obama administration</a> would be sufficient. I never imagined that any administration could so willfully ignore and attack expert advice and evidence that is intended to protect us and our public lands.</p><p>I have personally witnessed how hard our federal scientists work. They put in long hours with minimal pay (far less that what they could get if they worked in private industry) to pursue one simple goal: to make things better for the nation.</p><p>We need stronger scientific integrity policies to protect these people and their work. But more than that, we need stronger scientific integrity laws because they also benefit society.</p>
By Andrea Germanos
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
<div id="da98c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="478a197b7c59c92787c92bec92f1ac39"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1331662923710693376" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Bristol Bay forever, Pebble mine never. #NoPebbleMine #SaveBristolBay https://t.co/CBQ9zuy8A5</div> — Save Bristol Bay (@Save Bristol Bay)<a href="https://twitter.com/SaveBristolBay/statuses/1331662923710693376">1606328156.0</a></blockquote></div>
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By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.