9 Breads to Always Leave on Grocery Store Shelves
Gone are the days of just flour and water being used to make bread. Today, packaged breads can be sneaky sources of funky additives, added sugars, and more questionable ingredients. Instead of blindly trusting loaves that appear to be the right choice, shoppers might have to do some deeper digging to ensure they're choosing the healthiest option available. Ahead, we've rounded up some of the worst breads that you should steer clear of during your next grocery run.
So what should you be looking for instead? Fiber is one of the first spots your eye should go to on the nutrition label for more than a few reasons. "Fiber is important for overall health and can help with weight management and may reduce risk of various diseases such as heart disease and diabetes," says Sakiko Minagawa, MS, RDN.
Here's how ten different breads stacked up against each other, ranked from worst to better (but still not the best choice on the shelf).
And for more, don't miss these 15 Classic American Desserts That Deserve a Comeback.
Wonder Bread Classic White
Wonder Bread might bring you back to your childhood, but that's right where it should stay. In general, you should skip white breads, which lack the nutrition that whole wheat provides, explains Minagawa.
"When whole wheat flour is refined to make white flour, nutrients such as fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals (Vitamin E, and B vitamins) are removed. Whole-wheat bread is more nutrient-dense, making it a better alternative to white bread," she says.
Pepperidge Farm Sweet Hawaiian Bread
High in sodium and added sugars while low in the fiber department, this bread is an automatic no-go. But what else can you expect from a style of bread typically made with milk, sugar, eggs, yeast, and flour?
Pepperidge Farm Oatmeal Bread
Just because it uses the word "oatmeal" doesn't mean this is any heartier than your usual bread. Though it does contain four grams of protein per slice, you're better off going for a classic bowl of oatmeal that boasts more fiber than this Pepperidge Farm option and nixes the added sugar.
Nature's Own Butterbread
If you can't tell by the name, this bread is for butter lovers! But despite the added butter flavor, it's missing one major component: fiber! Minagawa suggests looking out for "ingredients like oats or seeds (flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds)" for a more nutrient-dense option.
Thomas' Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread
Though a slice of cinnamon raisin bread for breakfast might sound enticing, the high sugar content and relative lack of fiber don't! Instead, look for something with whole or sprouted grains, pair it with your favorite natural peanut butter, and top it with some cinnamon for a similarly sweet treat.
Martin's Potato Bread
More fiber leaves you feeling fuller longer, and we can bet that this just won't do the trick. Once grains have been refined, they're mostly stripped of fiber, so we'd stay away from this pick.
Pepperidge Farm Deli Rye & Pumpernickel Swirl Bread
Don't let the colors fool you! Although this bread boasts having no high fructose corn syrup on the front label, it's also lacking majorly in the nutrition department. With very little fiber and protein and a solid amount of sodium, you're better off going for a loaf with a better group of ingredients.
Glutino White Sandwich Gluten-Free Bread
Without celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, you might be doing yourself more harm than good by going for gluten-free options on a regular basis. Like some other white bread options on the market, there's no fiber to be found here and barely any protein. You might be better off making your own loaf with a fiber-rich flour option.
Sara Lee Delightful Honey Whole Wheat Bread
You don't have to get a "light" bread to make good choices. In fact, it's not always the best option available. This loaf from Sara Lee features fake fibers, preservatives, and sweeteners.
"Sometimes, 'low-calorie' bread is simply lower in calories because it's a smaller bread," Minagawa says. "Light or Low-calorie bread may be lower in calories but may also be lower in overall nutrients."
Correction: A previous version of this story included Arnold 12-Grain Bread, noting that the Whole Grain Council's 50%+ stamp doesn't always mean you're getting a predominantly whole-grain product. As Arnold clarified, the 12-Grain Bread is approximately 90% whole-grain, though other breads with the label can't say the same.
On your next trip to the store, keep this list handy. Remember, not all breads are created equal!