How to choose the healthiest bread

Carbs are back in -- as long as they're the good kind. Learn how to pick breads that taste delicious, fill you up and keep your blood sugar steady.

The bread test

This article would not be complete if it did not discuss whole wheat bread. I have encountered numerous health-conscious shoppers picking up bread labelled whole wheat in an attempt to lose weight, eat higher amounts of fibre and prevent the onset of future disease. Unfortunately, the label "whole wheat" is not a guarantee that the bread you have selected is made from whole grains. In order to avoid purchasing whole wheat bread that is simply white bread with a little bit of extra whole wheat or blackstrap molasses added to make the bread look brown, I have designed a bread test to help ensure the grain you're eating is of the highest quality.

Dr. Joey's bread test
• When selecting bread, check the ingredient list and look for the words whole or whole grain before the name of the grain.

• Whole grain breads typically contain more fibre. Look for a minimum of 2 grams of fibre for every slice of bread.

• If there is a phone number on the packaging, contact the company to see if they have the glycemic index rating of the bread in question.

• When picking up the bread, it should actually feel slightly heavier due to the higher fibre content. You will not be able to roll this bread into a small ball like you can with white bread.

• After you eat the bread, notice if you feel tired soon after. Food items that are higher on the glycemic index bounce blood sugar around and often leave you in a hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and fatigued state. This is also the time that cravings for starch or sugar usually kick in.

• Look at the ingredient list rather than the colour of the bread to select whole grain foods.

Do not throw in the towel on bread altogether. Eating the right type of bread can help to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even obesity. Become a smart bread shopper by following the rules above and enjoy the goodness that whole grains have to offer.


Dr. Joey is the author of bestselling book The Natural Makeover Diet (Wiley, 2005). For more information, please visit


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