GREENSBORO, N.C. — The wall of bread in your grocery store can be daunting. There seem to be more and more healthy ones to choose from - you’ll see labels like “multigrain,” “made with whole wheat,” “grains and seeds” and more.
To help decipher the labels to make a healthy choice, look for whole grains listed first on the ingredient list. A whole grain has all three parts it was grown with - the bran, the germ, and the endosperm- and is more nutritious than a refined grain which doesn’t include the two outer layers.
Whole grains are high in fiber, which generally makes you feel fuller. More good news - whole grains are linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems
But labels can be confusing. For instance, breads labelled ‘multigrain’ or ‘12 grain’ can contain a mix of grains and even white flour. Breads labelled ‘100% Whole Grain’ or ‘100% Whole Wheat’ won’t have other flours, like white, mixed in.
Less than half of the breads that Consumer Reports looked at that were labeled multigrain, oat, made with whole-grain actually contained JUST whole-grains
In addition to a high proportion of whole grains, Consumer Reports experts say the best healthy breads have -- minimal additives -- two or three grams of fiber per slice -- less than 150 milligrams of sodium -- and 2 or less grams of added sugars.
Nuts and seeds are an added bonus in bread - they add flavor, crunch, healthy fats, and fiber.
Here are some breads that CR raised a toast to:
365 Whole Foods Market OrganicAncient Grains 16 grams of whole grains low in added sugars and sodium $3.69
Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat. It has less than a gram of added sugar per slice, 13 grams of whole grains $2.88 at Walmart, $3.97 at Publix
Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Powerseed has more than a serving of whole grains with 19 grams $5.19 at Target
For anyone wondering whether homemade bread is healthier - the answer is that it certainly can be. CR points out that with homemade you can avoid extra sugars, and additives - and look for a recipe created specifically for whole grain flour.