Flatbread is an alternative to traditional raised yeast bread, and it can be just as healthy and nutritious. Although some diets are more accommodating to flatbread than others, careful planning will allow you to fit it into any balanced, low-calorie eating plan. To get the most health and weight loss benefits, choose a whole-grain variety and stick with small servings.
You can make your own flatbread or buy a commercial variety. It’s easiest to control ingredients and serving size when you prepare your own, so if you have a very strict diet that may be your best option. But also pay attention to the ingredient list and nutrition facts. A large piece of naan bread made with refined white flour, for instance, may contain up to 350 calories and 12 g of fat or more. In contrast, a small homemade roti could have fewer than 100 calories and 2 g of fat.
Flatbread is best for you when it’s made with whole grains and has little added fat or sugar. Whole grain breads have high amounts of fiber, an essential nutrient that can help prevent obesity, according to ChooseMyPlate.gov. Whole grain flatbread may also help reduce your risk of constipation, diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol.
Nutrition facts can vary widely, depending upon the type of flatbread. For example, the USDA notes that a piece of pita bread made with refined white flour has about 165 calories, 5.5 g of protein, 1 g of fat, 33.5 g of carbohydrates and 1.5 g of fiber. In contrast, a piece of pita made with whole wheat flour has about the same number of calories, 170, and a similar fat count at 1.5 g, but more protein and fiber at 6.25 g and 4.7 g, respectively.
Losing weight comes down to more than just the type of bread you choose to eat. You must burn or save 3,500 calories to lose 1 lb., and you must consistently burn more calories than you eat to gradually lose weight and keep it off. To that end, the number of calories you eat matters more than the source of those calories and whether they’re coming from flatbread, yeast bread or any other type of food. If you want to take off weight reliably and safely, the National Institutes of Health recommends increasing the amount of physical activity you do and eating a daily balance of low-calorie dairy products, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins in addition to grains.