You may have heard potential benefits of low-carbohydrate diets and some reasons to avoid bread, but bread products can be the foundation of a healthy, low-fat diet. They provide essential nutrients, and can be a satisfying component of any meal. Choose whole-grain or enriched bread products, and avoid those with added sugars or saturated fats.
Meet National Recommendations
One benefit of bread products is that they help you achieve a healthy eating pattern. Recommendations for a 2,000-calorie diet are to get 6 ounce-equivalents of grains, per day, and to get 45 to 65 percent of your total calories from carbohydrates. Most bread products are low in fat and high in carbohydrates, and they count toward your recommended servings of grains. Emphasize whole-grain choices, and be aware that some sweet breads, such as banana bread or sweet rolls, can be high in calories, sugars and fats.
Bread products are convenient, as you can take them almost anywhere, and store them without refrigerating them. They are readily available. You can eat them for any meal, plain or with a topping or filling. Another benefit is that you can probably find a product that you like, as there are so many different kinds, such as bread, bagels, tortillas, muffins, fruit breads and pita bread. Possibilities include wheat, rye and multigrain breads.
By law, bread products made with enriched flour must be high in iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Iron is a component of hemoglobin in healthy red blood cells, thiamin, niacin and riboflavin are essential for energy production in your body and folate is an essential vitamin for heart health. Refined bread products made with unenriched flour do not contain substantial amounts of these nutrients.
Bread products may contain additional healthy ingredients with nutritional benefits. Many types of bread contain heart-healthy nuts or seeds, which are high in unsaturated fats, and walnuts and flaxseed even provide omega-3 fatty acids. Breads may contain dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries or cranberries, which are high in potassium and dietary fiber. Be careful not to choose breads with items that are high in saturated fat or added sugars, such as icing, cinnamon-sugar swirl or chocolate chips.