YES you can still have bread for lunch and be healthy!

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Whenever we are trying to lose weight we assume that this means no bread or carbohydrates.

This is mostly due to a big trend in the weight loss world over the past decade or so, where carbohydrates are eliminated completely.

Some of these weight loss diets, such as Atkins, advocate eating huge amounts of protein and fat but no carbohydrates, and promise dramatic weight loss results.

Many people however, find these sorts of restrictive diets very hard to stick to, and want a more balanced way to lose weight.

One of the foods which people miss the most when cutting out carbs is bread.


Can you still eat bread when following a weight loss plan?

The basics

In basic terms, anyone will lose weight if they are taking in less energy through their food than they are spending every day.

zucchini bread
Zucchini Bread from the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Foods which are very low in calories include fruit and vegetables, and foods which are higher in calories include the carbs like bread, pasta and potatoes.

The key to losing weight and sticking to a diet is eating a wide range of foods from all of the different food groups.

People trying to shift a few kilos don’t need to cut out bread completely, but it is important to understand that some breads are more appropriate for weight loss than others.

Join our 28 Day Challenge here

A grain-based loaf is nutritionally the best option for most people, wholemeal bread closely follows as the next best option. With higher fibre levels than white bread, it means you will get the nutritional benefits of a higher fibre bread.

When it comes to weight control, you want a loaf that offers a low-GI, wholegrain base, and a small slice size.

Then you get all the benefits of a higher fibre and protein loaf, with a controlled amount of carbohydrates. Breads including Burgen Soy-Lin or Baker’s Delight Cape Seed fit this description.

The best bread for energy

All varieties of bread will release glucose into the bloodstream and act as an energy source for the body, but if you need energy quickly before an activity, your best bet will be a high-fibre white or wholemeal loaf.

Glycaemic Index (GI)

GI is much talked about in diet and weight loss and is a measurement of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels.

Foods with a low GI index will keep you feeling fuller for longer, whereas foods which are starchy or high in sugar will rapidly raise blood sugar and make you feel hungry again more quickly.

Not all breads score equally on the GI scale, so as well as looking at the calorie content of the bread, the blood sugar issue should be examined as well.

White bread

Slice of bread

White bread is the most popular sort of bread found in our supermarkets and bakeries. Although it’s widely available, it’s not the best choice for someone trying to lose weight.

White bread is made from flour which is highly refined and processed, and the end product does not score well on the GI scale.

It is also relatively low in fibre and nutrients, and will raise blood sugar levels quite rapidly when eaten. Therefore, it is not the best choice for people trying to lose a few kilos.

Wholemeal bread

Sliced Bread on White Background

Unlike white bread, wholemeal bread is made from a more unrefined flour. It is higher in fibre and has more vitamins and minerals in it than white bread.

There is evidence that switching to wholemeal bread from white bread can help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer such as bowel cancer and strokes.

Wholemeal bread is also much lower on the GI index than white bread, meaning eating wholemeal will leave you feeling fuller for longer and less likely to raid the cake tin half way through the morning.

For people who don’t like the taste of wholemeal bread, some of the white breads on the market with added fibre can be a good alternative.

Wholegrain bread

toasted spicy chicken sandwich

Wholegrain loaves are even less refined than wholemeal, and therefore even higher in fibre and lower on the GI index.

Wholegrain bread also tends to be lower in calories than white or wholemeal bread, but packaging should be checked for full nutritional information. Wholegrain is the healthy choice even for those not trying to lose some weight.

On the Challenge, we recommend wholegrain bread in our sandwich recipes, like our Toasted Spicy Chicken Sandwich (pictured above).

Turkish bread

A gourmet ham sandwich on turkish bread at a modern delicatessen.

Turkish bread products are also made from refined flour and are although they do not differ hugely in terms of calories from other white breads, they not as good as the wholegrain breads at keeping you feeling fuller.

Some of the flat Turkish breads are often served with calorific fillings and sauces, but we have great alternatives check out our healthy dip recipes

Flat breads

flat breads

Flat breads come in many different varieties and the same rules apply when choosing which bread is most appropriate for those trying to lose weight.

Wholemeal or wholegrain breads are a far better choice than white flat breads or those made with other refined flour products.

Use our 2 ingredient dough recipe to make your own healthy flat breads. OR Naan Bread Recipe.

Sourdough bread

Can I Eat Bread When Losing Weight?

Recent studies have shown that sourdough breads are among the best sorts of breads for people who are trying to lose weight.

They out performed even the wholemeal and wholegrain breads, and subjects in the tests felt fuller and ate less than people eating other types of bread.

This is thought to be down to the action of the yeast and the fact the dough is fermented over several days.

Soy linseed bread

Tuna fish sandwich on multigrain bread with lettuce and tomato

Many dieters are put off soy or linseed bread as they are relatively high in fat compared with white bread.

However, the fats are healthy oils and the fact that the breads are high in fibre and take a longer time to digest make them another ideal choice.

How many calories are in bread

Nutritionist, Susie Burrell, compared different types of bread at the supermarket ranked in order from highest to lowest calories.

Calorie score is calculated per 2 slices of bread.

  • Coles Bakery High Fibre Low Gi 7 Seeds & Grains Sandwich Bread Loaf – 263 calories
  • Abbott’s Bakery Country Grains Sandwich Slice Bread Loaf – 225 calories
  • Helga’s Grains & Seeds Sourdough Loaf – 210 calories
  • Burgen Soy & Linseed Low Gi Sliced Bread Loaf – 210 calories
  • Abbott’s Bakery Rustic White Sandwich Slice Bread Loaf – 200 calories
  • Woolworths Country Loaf Wholemeal – 188 calories
  • Macro Spelt & Chia Loaf Bread – 186 calories
  • Abbott’s Bakery Light Rye Sandwich Slice Bread Loaf – 185 calories
  • Tip Top 9 Grain Classic Sandwich Bread – 184 calories
  • Helga’s Sourdough Loaf – 182 calories
  • Wonder White Smooth Wholegrain – 175 calories
  • Tip Top The One White Sandwich Slice Bread Loaf – 171 calories
  • Coles High Fibre White Sandwich Bread – 167 calories
  • Tip Top Sunblest Soft White Sandwich Slice Bread Loaf – 148 calories
  • Woolworths Multigrain Soft Sandwich Bread – 144 calories
  • Woolworths Wholemeal Soft Sandwich Bread – 136 calories
  • Essentials White Sandwich Bread – 135 calories
  • Buttercup Country Split White Bread – 121 calories

Healthy Mummy bread recipes

healthy olive and zucchini loaf

Try these delicious Healthy Mummy bread alternatives:

Healthy sandwich fillings

Smashed Avocado Recipe

A healthy toastie or wrap is a great option for lunch or snacks, here are a few yummy filling ideas from the Healthy Mummy app.

Remember bread isn’t off limits with our 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge, as it’s all about moderation, not deprivation! 

Read more:

Our picks for the best wholemeal breads from the supermarket

Different types of milk and what they mean for nutrition and weight loss

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