Low-carb bread is a bit of an oxymoron. Bread is one of the richest sources of carbs you can eat, and if you're on a low-carb diet, it's typically off the menu. But don't despair. With the growing popularity of low-carb diets, there are more and more low-carb bread brands on the market and recipes you can try at home.
Bread for Every Low-Carb Diet
The best low-carb bread for you depends on what kind of low-carb diet you're following. Low-carb diets come in many varieties, from fairly relaxed to very strict. Generally, there are three categories:
Relaxed: The recommended daily intake for carbs for the general population is 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbs, or no less than 130 grams a day. So, technically, a relaxed, low-carb diet could include an amount only slightly less than that — say 100 grams per day, or 40 percent of calories from carbs. On this type of diet, people are usually just cutting out unhealthy carbs, such as sugar and refined grains, but they will often include some whole grains. In that case, any type of whole-grain bread could be an option.
Moderate: The middle ground is a diet that includes somewhere between 50 and 100 grams of carbs a day. There may be some wiggle room for grain foods, but not much. You might be able to include some breads made with high-fiber whole grains that have lower net carb counts, but you may also have to seek out very low-net carbs or zero-carb breads.
Strict: This includes the popular ketogenic diet. A very low carb intake causes the body to burn fat for fuel in a metabolic process called ketosis. Fifty grams of carbs per day is the max, but carb intake often needs to be much lower to get into ketosis. Some keto diets include only 5 percent of calories from carbs. There are some breads suitable for keto diets — those that are very high in fiber and thus very low or devoid of net carbs.
Best Low-Carb Breads
What is considered low carb? Again, that depends on your specific diet. It also depends on the other foods you eat in a day and how many carbs you have saved up for bread. Generally, you'll need to skip breads made with refined grains. These are lower in fiber, high in carbs and have a high glycemic value. Here is a brief list of a few examples of breads not to eat:
But even many whole-grain breads, although higher in fiber, are still too high in carbs for the average low-carb diet. Your best bet is to seek out products with 10 grams of net carbs or less per serving, which is one slice. Keep that in mind if you're planning on making a sandwich.
Net carbs are the number of carbs left when you subtract the fiber content and any sugar alcohols added from the total carb content.
Some of these products will be labeled as low carb, but not all of them. Most of these aren't the types of breads you're probably used to. The lower the carbs, the less likely they are to be made with flour. It's more likely that they are made from ingredients like wheat protein isolate, vital wheat gluten, resistant tapioca starch and oat fiber. Here are some examples of low-carb bread brands and products you can find in stores and online:
- Food for Life Ezekiel Flax Sprouted Whole-Grain Bread: 10 grams net carbs
- Healthy Life Honey Wheat Bread: 7 grams net carbs
- Great Low Carb Bread Co. Plain Bread: 1 gram net carbs
- Sola Golden Wheat: 3 grams net carbs
- Base Culture 7 Nut and Seed Bread: 8 grams net carbs
- SoLo Carb Bread Harvest Wheat: 3 grams net carbs
- Julian Bakery Paleo Thin Bread: 1 gram net carbs
Don't want any net carbs? With all the dieters jumping on the keto bandwagon these days, there are several zero-carb bread options available in stores and online, including:
Even keto dieters can eat these with abandon (OK, in moderation).
Homemade Low-Carb Breads
For a few reasons, making your own low-carbohydrate bread at home is a great idea. First of all, low-carb and no-carb breads are pricey, with a loaf costing $8 or more, as of publication. Also, when you make your own bread at home, you can control exactly what goes in it and avoid any additives or preservatives sometimes added to breads on store shelves. Plus, there's the satisfaction of creating your own bread deliciousness.
A basic list of ingredients you'll need to create low-carbohydrate bread includes:
- Almond flour
- Coconut flour
- Coconut oil
- Flaxseed meal
Most low-carbohydrate breads start with a base of either almond flour or coconut flour and eggs. From there, the ingredients vary. For example, you can make a cheesy garlic bread with:
- Almond flour
- Cream cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Baking powder
Or try a keto focaccia made with:
- Almond flour
- Psyllium husk
- Maple syrup
- Baking powder
- Xanthan gum
- Apple cider vinegar
Not much of a baker? You can make a 90-second microwaveable bread with just these ingredients:
- Almond or coconut flour
- Baking powder
Who Needs Bread?
Going low-carb doesn't mean missing out on tasty food, but it does mean being a little more creative. You can still have a sandwich or wrap using no bread at all. For example, grilled portobello mushrooms make unique burger buns, or you can use them as a "crust" for mini pizzas.
Or, try cauliflower bread or pizza crust made with riced cauliflower and cheese. Large lettuce leaves can hold tuna fish or egg salad like a pro, or you can wrap toasted seaweed sheets around hummus and veggies. Large steamed leaves of collard greens also make for a delicious and nutritious enclosure for grilled chicken and cheese.
- National Academies of Medicine: "Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients"
- StatPearls: "Ketogenic Diet"
- Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: "Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar"
- USDA: " Basic Report: 18003, Bagels, Egg"
- USDA: " Full Report (All Nutrients): 45284757, French Bread, UPC: 701990000086"
- USDA: " Basic Report: 18041, Bread, Pita, White, Enriched"
- Food for Life Ezekiel: "Flax Sprouted Whole-Grain Bread"
- Healthy Life: "Honey Wheat Bread"
- Great Low Carb Bread Co.: "Plain Bread"
- Sola: "Golden Wheat"
- Base Culture: "7 Nut and Seed Bread"
- SoLo Carb Bread: "Harvest Wheat"
- Julian Bakery: "Paleo Thin Bread"
- Smart Baking Company: "Hamburger Buns"
- Thin Slim Foods: "Zero Net Carb Bread"