What Breads Should I Eat if I Have Diabetes

— Written By Lethia Lee and last updated by Patricia Burch

Those living with diabetes have been told to avoid bread. There are many healthy and beneficial kinds of bread that you can choose from. Whole grain bread such as whole wheat, rye, sprouted breads, and organic whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. They are a better option than white refined bread. The following is what you should look for when choosing bread the next time you go to the grocery store.

The Nutrients
Decide what you are looking for. Do you want a low calorie and low carb bread? There are many options, but they may include artificial ingredients and flavors. In organic bread, there are also many choices available for bread free of GMOs but they might be more expensive. When choosing bread make sure to follow some guidelines. The options mentioned have been recommended by people with diabetes and educators.

You want to read the nutrition labels and pay attention to the calories, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and sodium. You also want to make sure the bread is whole grain.

  • Calories: You want to keep your bread around 90 calories or less per slice. Bread containing nuts and seeds are great options as they can provide healthy fats, protein, and fiber, but they can have higher calorie count. If you choose a bread like that, you will want to eat only one slice.
  • Carbohydrates: Watching your carbohydrate intake is important when you have diabetes. They hold the most impact on your blood sugar. Most people aim for 15 to 20 grams or less of carbohydrates per serving. Always read labels and follow the serving size; if it doesn’t have a bakery label you can weigh it. One ounce of bread has 15 grams of carbohydrates.
  • Fiber: Fiber is an essential nutrient, it is very important for people with diabetes as it can slow down how quickly blood sugar rises. It also makes you feel fuller faster, keeps cholesterol away from the heart and keeps your bowels working regularly. A bread with a good source of fiber will have 3 grams of fiber in a two-slice serving.

Fat: There are different types of fat-saturated, unsaturated, and trans-fat. People with diabetes want to eat a diet that is low in saturated and trans-fat and contains adequate amounts of unsaturated, heart-healthy fat. Most breads aren’t very high in fat (unless they have seeds or nuts). However, you’ll want to choose a bread that has 0 grams trans-fat and less than about 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Sodium: Diets rich in sodium can contribute to elevated blood pressure, especially in people who are sensitive to salt. Aim to keep your bread to about 150 mg or less per slice.

You must always analyze the ingredients. Look for a bread that is 100 percent whole grain. This means that the bread has not been refined, and the grain is still intact. Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In order for something to be whole grain, the first ingredient should say “whole” You can also confirm a bread is whole grain if it has the whole grain stamp.

Remember, if you have diabetes your bread can still be a part of your meal plan if you choose wisely. When searching the grocery aisles, make sure to read the labels and check for things like calories, carbohydrates, and ingredients. Whether you are choosing whole wheat, another whole-grain variety, organic, or gluten-free, there is something out there for everyone.

For more information concerning the kind of bread to eat if you have diabetes, contact Lethia Lee at the N.C. Cooperative Extension of Sampson County office at 910-592-7161 Ext. 1273 or Lethia_Lee@ncsu.edu.