If you are living with diabetes or recently got diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering if you can incorporate bread into your diet. And if so, what is the best bread for diabetics?
When determining which type of bread is suitable for diabetics, you need to consider the American Diabetes Association guidelines on foods that cause a blood sugar spike, serving size, and nutritional profile of the bread.
Ideally, a diabetic’s meal plan should consist of low-carb and low-sugar foods to avoid disrupting your blood sugar levels. Starch is discouraged as it causes an excessive spike in blood sugar.
Starch is found in various carbohydrates, including fruits, grains, vegetables, milk, and even bread. However, all carbohydrates are not equal. Some have a high glycemic index and cause a more rapid and heightened spike in blood glucose levels. These are mainly over-processed carbohydrates.
On the other hand, there are healthier options of carbohydrates that you can incorporate into your meal plan, including some breads. The American Diabetes Association recommends whole grains or whole wheat breads instead of white bread. White bread contains highly processed sugars.
This article will discuss various breads suitable for people with diabetes and highlight specific brands. We will also provide tips for incorporating bread into a diabetic’s diet.
Best Bread For Diabetics: By Type
The best bread for diabetics should be low-carb, low in sugar, and high in fiber. Below are some of the best options.
Whole Grain Bread
Whole grain breads are made with the grains intact, unlike whole wheat bread, where the grains are processed but retain the bran, endosperm, and germ. Whole grain breads also include the kernel part of the grain. Aside from wheat, whole grain breads can be made with various grains, including rye, oats, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, etc.
Whole grain breads are suitable for people with diabetes as they are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They also contain complex carbohydrates, which have a lower glycemic index and take longer to digest. Therefore, they do not cause a sudden spike in blood sugar and are better for managing blood glucose.
That said, whole grain breads are quite high in calories and carbohydrates. Therefore, they should be incorporated sparingly into a diabetic’s meal plan. Dieticians recommend only one slice of whole grain bread—about 40g—per day.
Sprouted breads can be considered another form of whole grain breads. However, the grains are sprouted to enhance their nutritional value and lower their glycemic index. Sprouted grains are rich in fiber and proteins. They contain all nine essential amino acids.
They are also easier to digest as the sprouted grains have a higher moisture content and lower lectin levels. They are lower in gluten, which improves tolerability in most people.
The sprouted bread can be made of single or multiple grains. Aside from being beneficial for diabetes management, its nutritional profile is also suitable for blood pressure management.
Like whole grain breads, sprouted breads are calorie dense, so they should be consumed sparingly to prevent the risk of obesity. Despite their high nutrient and fiber levels, whole grain and sprouted grain breads are unsuitable for people with celiac disease.
Sourdough is a fermented bread. It is a considerably healthier alternative to white bread. It is also more tasty than sprouted and whole grain breads. It has a light and airy interior but a crunchy crust.
Sourdough bread has a sour, tangy taste from the fermentation process. The fermentation process also infuses the bread with a wide range of prebiotics for improved gut health. It is made with flour, salt, and water. Instead of yeast, a starter is used.
It was traditionally baked in a Dutch oven but can also be cooked in the conventional oven. Although you can buy sourdough bread readily in your local bakery or grocery store, if you want the taste of authentic sourdough, bake it yourself or buy it from an artisan bakery store near you.
While the fermentation process offers people with diabetes several benefits, keep in mind that sourdough bread is made with white flour, which has high sugar and starch levels. Also, it is made with processed wheat flour, which does not contain a high fiber content. Therefore, it should be consumed sparingly to prevent a calorie and starch overload in the body.
Rye bread is another excellent choice for people with diabetes. Since it does not rise as much as white bread or whole wheat bread, it has a denser crumb. It is dark in color and has a distinctive sour, earthy taste.
It is beneficial for people with diabetes in several ways. First, it is high in fiber and has a low glycemic index. Therefore, it has minimal impact on your blood sugar levels. It is also high in nutrients such as copper, thiamine, niacin, iron, folic acid, selenium, Vitamin B6, and manganese.
Rye contains phenolic compounds—caffeic acid and ferulic acid—which slow down the release of sugar and, consequently, the release of insulin in the bloodstream. The downside of rye bread is that it can cause bloating. Also, some people find its taste unpalatable.
Organic bread refers to any bread that is made with organic ingredients. They are free of pesticides, fertilizers, and other synthetic ingredients. They are healthier than other non-organic options.
Nevertheless, not all organic breads are suitable for people with diabetes. For example, organic sourdough or whole grain bread is suitable for diabetics, while organic white bread is not. The same applies to gluten-free bread.
Pumpernickel bread is another great option for people with diabetes. Pumpernickel flour is made from coarsely-ground rye berries. It preparation process involves fermentation. Acetic acid is used as a starter for the fermentation process. The bread is lower in carbohydrates, sugar, and calories and has a lower glycemic index than rye bread. It also has higher soluble fiber content, making it easier to digest.
The traditional German pumpernickel bread is best suited for people with diabetes. The whole rye kernels give it a brown color. It is made through a special baking process and is mostly sold in artisan bakeries. The traditional pumpernickel bread sold in artisan bakeries is pricier than store-bought pumpernickel bread.
Some store-bought pumpernickel breads are not suitable for people with diabetes. They are mass-produced without adhering to the traditional baking process. For instance, some producers use yeast instead of acetic acid as a sourdough starter.
They also combine the pumpernickel flour with wheat flour and use molasses to sweeten and make the bread brown. These ingredients increase the glycemic load and index of the bread, making it unsuitable for people with diabetes.
Keto bread is typically a low-carb bread. It is high in proteins and low in sugars and carbohydrates. Some have zero carbohydrates. Therefore, keto bread helps keep blood sugar levels low and is suitable for diabetics.
Our Top Recommendations for the Best Bread for Diabetics
Some of the best breads for diabetics on the market include:
- Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed Organic Bread
- Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Powerseed
- Silver Hills Sprouted Power Low Fat Bread
- Trader Joe’s 100% Whole Grain Fiber Bread
- Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat
- Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Bread
- Sprouted for Life Gluten-Free Flax Bread
- Little Northern Bakehouse Gluten-Free Grains & Seeds
- Rudi’s Organic Multigrain Bagels
- Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat
- Alvarado St. Bakery’s Sprouted Wheat Multi-Grain Bread
- Joseph’s Flax, Oat Bran, and Wheat Pita Bread
- Canyon Bakehouse Heritage Whole Grain Gluten-Free
Tips for Buying the Best Bread for Diabetics
Don’t Judge the Bread by Its Color
It is assumed that healthy breads are brown. However, not all brown breads are healthy. Sometimes, the bread is brown because its recipe incorporates molasses. In other cases, it may be brown because of the addition of bran or the use of food color. Therefore, scrutinize the bread to ensure it is a healthy option by checking the ingredient list.
Read the Ingredient List Carefully
Don’t be fooled by the mere advertising of bread as healthy, whole grain, or multi-grain. Check the label to ensure that different grains are listed among the first ingredients.
You should also check the label for ingredients that are not suitable for diabetics. For instance, avoid breads with “enriched wheat flour” or “wheat flour.” Also, avoid breads that contain high fructose ingredients, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Buy Your Bread From a Local Bakery or Independent Baker
Although there are select reputable breads for diabetics sold at grocery stores, most sold in stores are mass-produced and may contain ingredients that are not suitable for people with diabetes.
On the other hand, local bakeries, especially artisan bakeries, produce higher-quality breads. They also know the exact ingredients used in the bread, so you can easily clarify if a bread is suitable for your diabetic meal plan.
Consider the Recommended Serving Size
One servicing size may be a slice or two of bread, depending on the ingredients and thickness of the bread. The recommended number of calories per serving size of diabetic bread is about 80-100. The serving should have 15-20g of carbohydrates or below and 2-3g of fiber. The bread should be low in fat and sodium.
Conclusion: Best Bread for Diabetics
If you have diabetes, you can eat certain types of bread. Whole grain breads are a better choice than whole wheat and white breads. They have a lower glycemic index; therefore, they do not cause a blood sugar spike. They are also high in fiber and a wide range of nutrients.
As such, they help in diabetes management and enhance overall health, including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood pressure, improving gut health, and enhancing immunity.
You can buy one of our recommended diabetic bread brands at your grocery store or from an artisan baker near you. Always check the ingredient list to confirm that the ingredients listed are suitable for a diabetic meal plan. Also, check that the serving size and nutrition value are within the recommended range for a person with diabetes.