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The Best & Worst Store-Bought Bagels—Ranked

Learn which grocery store versions of this breakfast staple can make or break your diet.
The Best & Worst Store-Bought Bagels—Ranked

With its origins tracing back to Poland and Ukraine, the bagel has cemented itself in American culture as a go-to breakfast option. Over the years, the bagel's popularity soared to the point that nowadays, it sits in every bread shelf and freezer section at grocery stores. Multiple flavors have evolved for the U.S. market over the years, ranging from whole-wheat and multigrain varieties to bagels with fun flavors like cinnamon sugar and everything. With all of these options now available, it can be difficult to decide which store-bought bagels you should buy if you want to eat healthy.

Bagels naturally contain a high carbohydrate content—they are bread after all. Many of these bagels also contain high added sugar content, which will burn through your system quickly and leave you hungry well before lunchtime. While many bagel types will leave your diet wanting more, certain bagels are specifically made with very little sugar and contain a higher filling fiber content. To help keep your diet on track while guaranteeing you get your morning bagel, we slogged through numerous bread aisles to help decide what the most and least healthy bagels are at your fingertips.

How we judged each bagel

To decide which store-bought bagels would be the most and least healthy, we measured the sugar content in a recommended portion of a bagel. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that at most, 10 percent of your daily sugar should come in the form of added processed, which equates to about 50 grams. From this amount, we gauged which bagel would be the best.

Some bagels have the same amount of sugar per serving. In order to break the tie, we would check how many calories a product has. For example, if two products had 20 grams of sugar but one had more calories, the one with more calories would as a less healthy option. We ranked them from 5 to 1, with one being the best or the worst option in each category.

When you need to stock up on bagels for the week and keep the carbs out of your diet as much as possible, read on to find out what the best and worst store-bought bagels are.

The best store-bought bagels

5

Thomas' Plain Bagels

thomas plain bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 270 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 450 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 9 g protein

When you need to cut sugar out of your diet but still need your morning bagel, plain bagels typically keep your diet on the straight-and-narrow. The lack of added toppings keeps the added sugar to a minimum and you can even add on other spreads like peanut butter or cream cheese.

4

Lender's 100% Whole Wheat Bagel

lenders whole wheat bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 200 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 400 mg sodium, 38 g carbs (6 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 10 g protein

You would think that whole wheat bagel options might place higher in this list, but don't be fooled. While the whole wheat option packs in 6 grams of filling fiber, it still has similar health benefits compared to the plain bagel. Nevertheless, if you need a solid bagel, these are good choices that contain a minimal amount of sugar.

3

Bubba's Whole Wheat and Honey Bagel

bubbas whole wheat honey bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 210 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 400 mg sodium, 42 g carbs (8 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 9 g protein

For a bagel with "honey" in the name, you would think Bubba's whole wheat and honey bagel would add extra sugar. Luckily, the bagel tastes great, pairs with any breakfast spread, and only has 4 grams of sugar. At 210 calories, you can't beat these if you are dieting and need a tight-and-trim breakfast or snack.

2

Canyon Gluten-Free Everything Bagel

canyon bakehouse gluten free everything bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 220 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 400 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 4 g protein

Canyon's gluten-free everything bagel not only cut out the gluten, but also stripped out the sugar content. At only three grams of sugar, you can enjoy these bagels all week and not feel weighed down by any extra sugar. With a plentiful sprinkle of everything topping on the bagel, they are a great way to enjoy a classic bagel flavor.

1

Lender's Egg Bagel

lenders egg bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 210 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (1 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 8 g protein

Lender's egg bagel keeps the sugar to the bare minimum in this bagel, limiting the amount to a measly two grams. If you need to watch your waistline, these bagels will keep you powered through the day. And with only 210 calories, they are also one of the lowest-calorie content bagels on this list as well!

The worst store-bought bagels

 

5

Lender's French Toast Bagel

lenders french toast bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 220 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 45 g carbs (2 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 7 g protein

You may have guessed that a bagel with french toast in the name adds unnecessary sugar, and you would be right! Cinnamon swirls push this bagel to the limit of acceptable diet territory. When you top off this bagel with any sweet spread or butter, you are asking for trouble.

RELATED: No-sugar-added recipes you'll actually look forward to eating.

4

David's Deli Blueberry Bagel

davids deli blueberry bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 230 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 48 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 7 g protein

A bagel with blueberries sounds wholesome, but as a rule of thumb, fruits tend to add extra sugar into any item they appear in. David's deli blueberry bagels are no exception, and the added fruit pushes these bagels past the point of no return. If you need a low sugar option, stay away from these sweet bagels masquerading as a healthy option.

3

Thomas' Cranberry Bagel

thomas cranberry bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 250 calories, 1.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 420 mg sodium, 51 g carbs (2 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 9 g protein

Thomas' cranberry bagels also cram extra sugar into a bagel by including fruit. The added 10 grams of sugar serve a pragmatic function, as they mask the bitterness of the cranberries, providing an illusion of health. Do yourself a favor and skip cranberry baked goods altogether to keep your diet on the safe side.

2

Sara Lee's Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

sara lee cinnamon raisin bagels in packaging

Per 1 bagel: 260 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 350 mg sodium, 54 g carbs (2 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 8 g protein

If a bagel sounds too good to be true, don't count on it to fit your daily eating plan. Cinnamon makes a return to the list and pairs with raisins, another contender to bolster the sugar content. When you combine this bagel with any spread, you can easily throw your diet off for the day.

1

Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

Cinnamon raisin swirl bread bagels from Pepperidge Farm

Per 1 bagel: 270 calories, 1 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 290 mg sodium, 57 g carbs (3 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 9 g protein

This bagel pushes the limits of how much sugar you can pack into a bagel—it might as well be a pastry! Unless you want to eat dessert for breakfast, stick to any other bagel.

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Erich Barganier
Erich Barganier is a health and food writer. Read more
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