The Best & Worst Bread in America in 2021—Ranked!
Bread is possibly both the most beloved and most feared food you can find in any aisle of the grocery store. You use it to make sandwiches you take to the beach, as a base for delicious avocado toast in the morning, or as a late-night indulgence slathered with peanut butter and jelly. And while just about everyone loves bread, many are also wary of it.
"When most people think of carbs, bread pops into their head, usually with a negative connotation," says Laura Burack MS, RD, founder of GetNaked® Nutrition and author of Slimdown with Smoothies. But like many foods, there are types of bread you may want to steer away from and other options that can actually add healthy nutrients to your diet.
"If you think about it, bread has been around for many, many years, so it can and should be part of a healthy delicious diet like any food," says Burack. "But like most foods that can be healthy when made with nutritious ingredients, they can also be ultra-processed and last on the grocery shelf for many weeks or longer."
When it comes to deciding which bread to buy at the grocery store, it can be an overwhelming process. With the hope of helping you feel more equipped when you go to grab a store-bought loaf of bread, we carefully ranked common grocery store bread choices from the worst to best. We took everything into account, including fat, sugar, sodium, fiber, protein, and which ingredients were used in each loaf.
Our list of best and worst bread focuses on the loaves you'd find in the bread aisle of most stores, but Burack recommends avoiding the packaged bread whenever possible.
"I recommend buying sprouted bread or a fresh-baked whole grain bread from a bakery that doesn't have preservatives and sticking it in the freezer," says Burack.
But for those times when we need to opt for the quick store-bought bread because we are on a tight schedule or budget, here are the most common ones you'll find, ranked from worst to best! And for more, check out The Best & Worst Italian Dressing on Grocery Store Shelves—Ranked!
King's Hawaiian Sweet Sliced Bread
There is nothing quite like a sweet, fluffy slice of Hawaiian bread. Even though this type of bread is delicious and comforting, it's packed with tons of sugar and almost no fiber, making it the worst on this list.
King's Hawaiian Honey Wheat Sliced Bread
The King's Honey Wheat option has a bit less sodium than the Hawaiian option, but this one is also packed with sugar and very little fiber or protein to help it out.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Honey White
This slice of Honey White has quite a few calories and sodium to its name, but you'll at least get a small amount of fiber and protein.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Oatmeal Bread
The calorie and sodium content in this oatmeal bread is extremely high for just one slice. The small saving grace of this one is that it's a bit lower in sugar and has a handful of protein, at least.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Sweet Hawaiian
Pepperidge Farm's Sweet Hawaiian bread is very similar to King's. Even though it has more sodium and a few extra calories, it does have a gram of fiber and 6 grams of protein. That at least helps balance some of the sugar out.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Honey Wheat
Who doesn't love a slice of toasted honey wheat? Before you pick out your favorite nut butter to pair with this one, just know that it is very high in calories, sodium, and sugar.
Udi's Gluten Free Delicious Soft White Sandwich Bread
This one may be gluten-free, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's the best for you. It's high in calories, fat, and sodium and very low in fiber. This sandwich bread also contains canola oil, which is an ingredient you should stay away from when you can.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Multigrain Bread
"Multigrain" sounds a bit healthier, but don't let the title fool you. Each slice is loaded with calories, sugar, and sodium. The one thing that helps push this one down on the list is the fact that it's made with whole wheat flour instead of enriched white.
Martin's Maple Brown Sugar Swirl Potato Bread
This brown sugar swirl bread sounds amazing, but each slice contains a little too much sugar. Although it isn't too bad with calories or sodium, it still contains some ingredients you want to steer away from like cane sugar syrup, enriched wheat flour, and a ton of preservatives.
Pepperidge Farm White Sandwich Bread
You may want to choose another bread when making your lunches for the week. This one is particularly high in fat and sodium, and doesn't contain enough fiber to make a difference. You do have only 2 grams of sugar, which makes it a better option than something like the Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Honey White.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Sourdough
Sourdough is usually a healthier option, but be careful with this one. The sugar content isn't terrible, but you'll still find a lot of calories and sodium in each slice.
Arnold Premium Butter Bread
It's difficult to keep a butter bread on the healthier side, which is why it's not surprising that this one is high in calories, fat, and sodium. The sugar count isn't terrible, but there's also just less than 1 gram of fiber.
Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Bread
This oatmeal bread is still high in calories and sodium for just one slice.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Butter Bread
This butter bread is technically a safer choice than the Arnold Premium brand, but it isn't much better. It's lower in fat and sodium, but still has 4 grams of sugar and not enough fiber. All to be expected with a classic butter bread, though!
Arnold Premium Buttermilk Bread
The Arnold Buttermilk bread is a tricky one. It's a bit lower in sodium and sugar, but it still isn't a great option. You'll get almost no fiber and only 2 grams of protein, so steer clear if you're looking for some nutrients.
Udi's Gluten Free Whole Grain Sandwich Bread
Udi's products are usually packed with fat, so you have to be careful before buying. This particular bread also has a ton of sodium and very little fiber, but the low sugar content helps it out a bit.
Arnold Premium White Bread
Better than a lot of white breads on the list, but still not awesome. We recommend reaching for something like this over the previous buttermilk option because you'll get a little less sugar and an extra gram of protein.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Potato Bread
This potato bread isn't much better than the bread options before it. But its fat content isn't awful and you'll snag 4 grams of protein to help.
Sara Lee Artesano Texas Toast
This isn't a horrible option for Texas toast, but it's still packed with sodium and lacks fiber. At least you don't have to worry about too much sugar with this one.
Udi's Gluten Free Hearty 7 Seeds & Grains Artisan Bread
It's easy to assume that if something is gluten-free, it's going to be better for you. Well, that isn't always the case with Udi's. The Hearty 7 Seeds & Grains bread comes with 5 grams of fat per slice, which is a lot if you're going to use two slices for a sandwich. It does have some fiber and protein, which helps us feel a tiny bit better about this choice.
Arnold Premium Oatmeal Bread
If you're going to grab a slice of oatmeal bread, this one isn't terrible. Even though it's lower in fat and sugar than the other oatmeal options, it's still a bit high in calories and sodium. So proceed with caution!
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse 100% Whole Wheat
The calories, fat, and sodium here are still a bit high. A highlight, though, is the fact that there are 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving.
Martin's Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Potato Bread
You can't have cinnamon-swirl without the sugar, and this one comes with a whopping 7 grams per slice. What helps this one out is the lower amount of calories and sodium, as well as the few grams of protein.
Sara Lee Artesano Potato Bakery Bread
For potato bread, this Sara Lee option isn't horrible. But like other brands of potato bread, you're still getting a higher amount of calories and sodium with very little fiber.
Sara Lee Artesano Brioche Bakery Bread
It's difficult to tell the Sara Lee Brioche bread apart from the Potato option, as they are almost identical in everything, including many of the ingredients. In the end, it came down to the fact that the Brioche slice contains extra vitamin B.
Arnold Premium Potato Bread
The Arnold Potato bread is similar to the Sara Lee version, but with this choice you'll at least consume less sodium and less sugar.
Arnold Premium Oatnut Bread
Many of the Arnold Premium breads have a bit more fat than we'd like to see in one slice. At least with the Oatnut choice, you'll have more fiber and protein than some of the other options.
Wonder Texas Toast
The calories, fat, and sodium aren't all that bad, but this definitely isn't an option that will give you any nutritional value. If you're really hankering for some buttery Texas toast, this is fine as a treat once in a while.
Nature's Own Whitewheat
If you haven't guessed it yet, we are true fans of breads that are high in fiber and protein content. This helps Nature's Own Whitewheat stand a chance, although the sodium content could be better.
Arnold Premium Oat Bran Bread
Not to be confused with the Arnold Premium Oatnut Bread, this one has less fat, fewer calories, and less sugar. It's also an added bonus that you get 4 grams of protein.
Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Whole Grain White
Some upsides of this option? It's made with whole-grain and has a decent amount of fiber and protein. What we don't love is the higher calorie count and 4 grams of sugar.
Sara Lee Artesano Bakery Bread
We lose out on the fiber with the Bakery Bread, which is sadly to be expected with almost all of the Sara Lee options. You do, however, get a few grams of protein in each serving, so it's not a total loss.
Sara Lee Artesano Golden Wheat Bakery Bread
We aren't too upset with the calorie count in this one, and the sugar isn't all that bad either. Plus, we love to see the 4 grams of fiber. But it's not all good news, as the sodium count is still pretty high at 180 milligrams.
Arnold Premium 22 Grains & Seeds Bread
Don't be scared off by the higher calories and sodium content. Although those numbers aren't ideal, this bread comes with plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy ingredients like flaxseed, oat, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and chia seeds.
Pepperidge Farm Deli Swirl Rye & Pumpernickel
At first glance, this one might not seem that dangerous because of the average calorie and fat count, but each slice is a swirl of sodium and preservatives.
Arnold Premium Sourdough Bread
We don't love the fact that this one has almost no fiber, but what helps its case is the 3 grams of protein and zero sugar added.
Arnold Premium Italian Bread
If you're watching your sodium content, it might be best to skip the Arnold Italian bread! This one is a bit of a sodium bomb, but we also couldn't help but notice that it's lower in calories, fat, and sugar. Confusing, right?
Martin's Potato Bread
You can take or leave this one. It's not the worst choice when it comes to fat, sugar, or sodium, but this potato bread is heavy in preservatives and lacks nutrient-dense ingredients.
Wonder Bread Classic White
This bread is heavy in preservatives and low in nutrients. We know, it's often a childhood favorite, so if you want to treat yourself to a slice every now and then, it's not the worst. But just know there are plenty of better options out there!
Wonder Italian Bread
Like most Italian breads, this one lacks in fiber and protein, and is fairly high in sodium. You don't have to worry too much about fat or sugar here, but maybe try the Pepperidge Farm version to at least get some more fiber and protein.
Pepperidge Farm White Seedless Italian Bread
The calorie and sugar count aren't too bad, and it's nice to see a few grams of protein in a white bread. But we would ultimately still love to see something with a little less sodium per slice.
Arnold Premium Healthy Multi-Grain
You can find an Arnold Premium option with less sugar and fat, but we love this one for the fiber and protein that you get from ingredients like flaxseed, oats, and brown rice.
Martin's Cinnamon-Sugar Swirl Potato Bread
Ideally in a slice of bread, you'd have some fiber and protein. This bread doesn't have much of either, but it's decently low in calories, fat, and sodium compared to other potato-based breads.
Pepperidge Farms Dark Pump Pumpernickel
At 230 milligrams of sodium per slice, you can do better than this one. Its redeeming qualities are the 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein, though.
Arnold Premium Pumpernickel Rye Bread
The sugar and fat in this choice are low, but we can't ignore the 200 milligrams of sodium for just one slice.
Pepperidge Farm Seeded Rye
If you haven't guessed it yet, there seems to be a pattern with rye breads and higher sodium. This one isn't the worst choice because you're still getting some fiber and protein. For more nutrient-dense ingredients, it's a good idea to try something like Dave's Killer Rye instead.
Martin's Butter Bread
Martin's uses nonfat milk in its butter bread, which helps keep the calories at bay. This bread is a middle of the road choice, so you won't be getting many nutrients but you'll keep your calories, sugar, and fat fairly low.
Pepperidge Farm Jewish Rye
These little party slices are small, so if you stick to two or three, you'll be fine. But if you eat the serving size according to the package, you'll be consuming 460 milligrams of sodium. Yikes!
Dave's Killer Righteous Rye Bread
This choice is higher in sodium, just like other rye options. But at least with Dave's Killer Rye, you are getting more fiber, protein, and organic, whole ingredients.
Nature's Own Butterbread
We have mixed emotions about Nature's Own because the calories and fat content are usually on the lower end. However, with the preservatives often found in the breads, you can find a better option at the grocery store.
Sara Lee Butter Bread
Just like Nature's Own Butterbread, the Sara Lee version is low in fat and sugar, but high in preservatives. It also comes with zero fiber and only 2 grams of protein. If you're really craving a butter bread, overall, this may be your best bet.
Udi's Gluten Free Omega Flax & Fiber Bread
Despite the name, this choice isn't made up of that many nutrient-dense ingredients. Yes it contains some flax and chia seeds, but it's loaded with preservatives and sodium. Unless you're someone who has to avoid gluten, go for another "fiber bread."
Arnold Premium Health Nut
The Health Nut bread is a pretty decent choice for the health nuts out there, but still not the best. Its winning points are that it's lower in sodium than other Arnold Premium choices and has a good amount of protein.
Arnold Premium 12 Grain Bread
This one isn't a bad option. It's full of protein and has a decent amount of fiber, something we would hope to get from a multi-grain bread. It also helps that it's fairly low in sugar as well.
Sara Lee Classic White Bread
This is exactly what you'd expect from a white bread. Not terribly high in fat or sugar, but low in nutrients, fiber, and protein.
Pepperidge Farm Original White Bread
Almost identical to the Sara Lee version of white bread, except this one's list of preservatives is shorter. Still, if you're set on a white slice, you'll get far more nutrients with something like Dave's Killer White.
Dave's Killer White Bread Done Right
Dave's ingredients are hard to beat. This bread is made with healthy grains like organic quinoa, rye, millet, barley, and spelt, which is rare to find in a white bread. It's one of the better white bread options you'll find.
Sara Lee Honey Wheat
The Sara Lee Honey Wheat is one of those bread choices that's easy to forget about. It's not terrible, but it's not amazing. You'll keep your fat and sugar count low, which is a plus for honey wheat bread. But you're getting almost zero nutrients with each slice.
Udi's Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
This option for cinnamon raisin bread is not too shabby, especially one that's gluten free. The 4 grams of protein are solid, but we'd definitely like to see more fiber.
Martin's 100% Whole Wheat Potato Bread
The only reason this potato bread option made it further down on our list is because it contains some fiber and protein. Other than that, it's definitely a whole wheat option you can pass by in the aisle.
Nature's Own Honey Wheat
This one would be for someone who's trying to keep their fat and sugar count low while still enjoying the fluffy sweetness of a honey wheat option. But since you're not getting any fiber in this option, you may want to consider not making it your daily bread choice.
Nature's Own Honey Oat Bread
No, you're not seeing double. Nature's Own has a Honey Wheat and Honey Oat option, and they're almost identical in ingredients and nutrition. The main difference being the oats you'll find in the Honey Oat choice.
Nature's Own Honey 7 Grain
Again, another bread that is almost identical to Nature's Own Honey Wheat and Nature's Own Honey Oat. The main difference with this choice is that you get a small amount of fiber that comes from the oats and sunflower seeds in the ingredients list.
Dave's Raisin the Roof Bread
If you are a cinnamon raisin fan, you can't really go wrong with this option. A perk of Dave's Killer Bread? You know it's made with organic ingredients.
Sara Lee Delightful Healthy Multi-Grain Bread
We love to see 5 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, especially in a Sara Lee option. However, if you're watching your sodium, you may want to keep walking.
Arnold Premium 100% Whole Wheat
You can probably do better than the Arnold Premium choice if you're looking for a whole wheat. The fat and sugar content isn't terrible, and you do get some fiber and protein, but we'd prefer a whole wheat with fewer calories and sodium, as well as less preservatives.
Sara Lee White Made with Whole Grain Bread
People often assume that just because something says "whole grain" that it's the healthiest option. The Sara Lee Whole Grain choice is an example of that not necessarily being 100% true. Although this bread isn't a terrible option by any means, it still lacks the nutrients we'd want to see from a whole grain bread.
Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread
This option is slightly better although you'll still get a rather small amount of fiber and protein.
Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat with Honey Bread
You're keeping your calories, fat, and sugar low with this honey bread, but you're also sacrificing the fiber and nutrients that you could possibly get from another whole-wheat option.
Wonder 100% Whole Wheat
Okay Wonder Bread, we see your efforts. The calories, fat, and sugar are fairly low while still maintaining 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving. Not too shabby, if you ask us.
Dave's Killer 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Although this one is higher in sugar than most whole wheat choices, we love the use of organic ingredients and lower levels of preservatives.
Sara Lee Delightful Honey Whole Wheat Bread
So the sodium count here isn't the greatest. But this bread does manage to keep the fat and sugar content low while sneaking in 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein per serving. So that makes it a pretty great choice.
Nature's Own 100% Whole Grain
We love bread that is high in protein, and this one makes the cut. You're still not getting a ton of fiber here, but overall, this one isn't a bad choice at all.
Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat
Although we wish there was more fiber to round it out, we really like this whole wheat option for its protein and low calories.
Sara Lee Delightful White Made with Whole Grain
You could do without the high sodium content here, but with 6 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in each slice, this is a better Sara Lee option.
Dave's Killer 21 Whole Grains and Seeds
Don't knock this one before you try it. Yes, there is some sodium, but it also comes packed with fiber, protein, and an enormous list of whole grains and seeds.
Dave's Killer Good Seed Bread
At first glance, you might be tempted to skip the Good Seed bread because of its calories and sugar. The organic ingredients, however, are truly hard to beat. Additions like flax seeds, oats, and sunflower seeds help make this a great choice full of nutrients.
Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed
And the best bread choice is none other than Dave's Killer Powerseed Bread! The organic, fibrous, protein-heavy ingredients in this choice give you 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein in each slice. It's hard to beat that!
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