The Lowest Carb Bread
Shopping for low carb bread just became easier. These low carb breads, wraps and tortillas are in your local grocery store, and they all have 10 net carbs or less per serving.
This printable low carb bread list makes it simple to choose bread by the number of net carbs per serving, from 1 to 10.
Here’s what to look for when you buy low carb bread, and which types of bread to avoid.
Let’s break it down, slice by slice.
Bread and Blood Sugar
Most breads are made of wheat, which is mainly starch. Starch breaks down into sugar in your mouth as you chew.
By the time they reach your stomach, most of these starches are already converted to sugar. Yes, that quickly. It’s mortifying. Insulin levels spike and your blood sugar rises…
If you don’t have a plan for eating bread on your low carb diet, your efforts are ruined.
What Can You Do?
Buying Low Carbohydrate Bread
There are certain low carb breads that convert to sugar much more slowly.
These low carb breads usually have higher amounts of fiber so they can be healthier, too. Here’s what to look for:
If you are counting carbs, you must read the bread label.
- Subtract the fiber grams from the total carbohydrates to figure out the “net carbs.”
- Aim for eating less than 9 to 10 carbohydrates per hour.
Smaller, thinner breads usually have less carbohydrates, because they have less of everything! So, go for it.
- Avoid very dense, thin breads- they often contain the same amount of starch as regular bread.
High Fiber Bread
Some low carb breads substitute fiber for some of the starch in the bread, reducing calories and carbohydrates.
High Protein Breads
Some breads are made with wheat gluten instead of the whole grain.
Since gluten is the protein part of the wheat, these high protein low carb breads are good options.
Rough, Grainy Texture
Finely ground wheat breaks down into sugar more quickly. Rougher textures generally indicate a lower glycemic bread.
Look for visible pieces of grains or cracked wheat.
Preliminary research shows that sprouted grain bread does not cause blood sugar to rise as quickly as regular bread.
However, sprouted grains are not entirely fiber and may still raise blood sugar in sensitive individuals.
Low Carb Tortillas
Low carb tortillas are great bread substitutes. Low carb tortillas last a long time in the refrigerator or freezer, and are available in most grocery stores and inexpensively online.
- Use low carb tortillas as a wrap.
- Fold tortillas in half to make a bun.
- Lay whole tortillas flat and use as the “crust” for a pizza.
Types of Bread to Avoid
Bagels and Rolls
Bagels and rolls are deceptive. A single bagel or roll can equal 2, 3 or even 4 normal servings of bread.
Bagels and rolls are far less likely to be 100% whole grain. However, there are also “thin bagels” with lower carb ingredients available in some grocery stores and online.
Soft bread is usually made from white and/or very finely ground flour which turns to sugar more quickly. Save a bite or two of these breads for your low carb cheat day, or a special occasion.
“Danger, Will Robinson!” Obviously, avoid any bread with added sugar. A good rule is to avoid breads where one of the first five ingredients is sugar, honey, molasses or fructose.
Alternative Grain Breads
Alternative grain breads such as gluten-free breads are often higher in carbohydrates than breads made with wheat (which are generally higher in protein). Check the labels before you buy!
Get the Low Carb Bread List
A printable list of 33 whole grain, high fiber low carb breads, buns, tortillas and wraps with 10 net carbs or less per serving.
(1 MB .pdf)
“International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002.” Leroux, Marcus Foster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002)
“The acute impact of ingestion of breads of varying composition on blood glucose, insulin and incretins following first and second meals.” Najjar, AM, Parsons, PM, et al. Human and Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 101, No. 3 391-398 (2009)
“The Impact of Breads of Varying Composition on Biomarkers of Glucose Metabolism in Overweight and Obese Adults.” Najjar, AM. University of Guelph, December 2009
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Rel 21
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