How do you choose a healthy pita bread? Look for a whole grain version that contains little added sugar.
Pita bread, like other types of bread, can be either terribly healthy, terribly unhealthy or somewhere in between. Its wholesomeness depends upon the ingredients used to make it. The least-healthy breads, made solely of white flour or enriched white flour, don't contain any fiber, a food constituent linked to an array of wellness benefits. The healthiest pita breads are made from whole grain flours.
Healthy pita breads are made of whole grains.
Pick a Healthy Pita
According to the University of California Santa Barbara, the best way to pick a good bread is to look at the ingredients listed on the back label. When listing ingredients, manufacturers put them in order, from the greatest quantity to smallest quantity. In other words, the main ingredients are listed first, and the most minor ones are listed last.
With this in mind, take careful note of what type of wheat is listed first. The first ingredient should be whole wheat flour or another type of whole grain flour.
Read More: Whole Grain Bread Vs. White Bread
Also, look at the grams of fiber contained in the bread. Varieties with the highest fiber content will have the most whole grains.
Another constituent to note is sugar, says the University of California Santa Barbara. To avoid ingesting high amounts of sugar, which cause blood sugar spikes, pick a pita bread with a lower quantity. However, avoid breads labeled "diet" or "sugar-free" because they contain artificial sweeteners, chemicals that are linked to adverse health effects.
Comparing Calories and Carbohydrates
The United States Department of Agriculture database shows pita bread's calories in whole grain loaves can range between 100 and 200 in total. Calories in two slices of whole grain bread can vary from approximately 120 to 220 in total. Since calories vary widely among brands, it can't be said that pita bread contains more or fewer calories than standard, sliced bread.
Carbohydrate counts in Greek pita bread and regular sliced bread brands vary as much as calorie counts. Instead of focusing on whether a bread is low or high in carbs, focus on whether the carbs are healthy or unhealthy. A bread made mostly of white flour will be high in unhealthy carbs, especially if extra sugar is included. In contrast, a pita bread made of whole grains will be rich in healthy carbs.
Naan bread is made with various kinds of flours as well. What is the difference between pita and naan? Like pita bread, naan is a flatbread; but unlike pita bread, it contains eggs and yogurt. If you like the taste of naan bread, choose one made of whole grains.
In summary, pita bread isn't necessarily more or less healthy than a wrap, sliced bread or naan. Choose the form of bread you find appealing, but pick a variety made with whole grains.
Daily Servings of Grains Needed
The USDA recommends that women get 5 to 6 ounce-equivalents of grains per day, and 3 of these should be whole grains. For men, the amount is 6 to 8 ounce-equivalents, and 2 to 4 should be whole grains. Examples of a 1-ounce grain equivalent include a slice of bread, a mini bagel, half an English muffin or a half-cup serving of oatmeal.
Read More: Why Isn't White Bread Good for You?
To eat more whole grains, as aforementioned, choose whole grain breads. In addition, keep in mind the USDA tips below:
- Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
- Choose whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta.
- When making pancakes, waffles or muffins, substitute whole wheat flour for half of the white flour.
- Add grains like barley to vegetable soup, and include bulgar wheat in casseroles.
- Instead of coating chicken or fish with regular bread crumbs, coat them in rolled oats or a crushed, whole grain cereal.