Is French Bread Healthy?

The grain group is a source of several important nutrients, such as fiber and B vitamins. Not all grains, however, are created equal. While whole grains contain fiber that the body needs for healthy digestion, refined grains contain little to none, and should be limited in the diet. French bread falls into this category.

Several baguettes on a wooden table. (Image: Elena Elisseeva/iStock/Getty Images)

Fat

French bread is generally low in fat or completely fat-free. Farm Fresh brand French bread, for example, contains just 0.6 g of fat per slice, fulfilling about 1 percent of the daily value for fat based on a 2,000-calorie diet. French bread is also low in saturated fat, which should be limited in the diet due to its effects on "bad" blood cholesterol. Since it is not high in fat, it is also moderate in calories, with 92 per slice.

Protein

While French bread is not high in protein, it does contain some, with 3.8 g in one slice of Farm Fresh French bread. If you are watching your weight, protein plays an important role in keeping you satisfied after eating and holding food in the stomach for a long period. If you eat your French bread with some lean meat, such as turkey breast or some low-fat cheese, you increase the protein content even more.

Fiber

Since French bread has been refined, it contains little fiber, with just 0.8 g in one slice of Farm Fresh French bread, or about 3 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. This makes it a less healthy choice than whole-grain breads. Fiber plays an important role in weight management, as it holds food in the stomach after eating and creates a feeling of fullness. It also plays a role in regulating blood cholesterol and blood sugar.

Vitamins and Minerals

French bread does not contain much in the way of vitamins and minerals, with just 6 percent of the daily value for iron and 1 percent of the daily value for calcium in a slice of Farm Fresh French bread. It does, however, contain a fairly large amount of sodium, with 9 percent of the daily value in one slice, or 208 mg. Most Americans consume too much sodium from processed foods, so it should be limited as much as possible.

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