The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) published a guide for bread buyers in the September issue of its Nutrition Action Healthletter.
The article compares 88 mostly major brands of bread. Twenty-two earned "Best Bite" citations because they contain whole wheat or another whole-grain flour as the first ingredient and have no more than 350 milligrams of sodium in two slices.
"Don't get us wrong," said CSPI senior nutritionist Jayne Hurley. "Refined-flour breads aren't bad for you. They're low in fat, have no cholesterol, and supply some fiber, iron, and B-vitamins. However, if a bread doesn't have whole wheat, oats, or some other whole grain as the first ingredient, much of its vitamin-and-mineral-rich germ and bran have been milled away, along with most of its fiber."
Among the article's other findings:
|Bread (weight of 2 slices in ounces)||Calories||Sodium (mg)||Fiber (g)|
100% Whole Wheat
Rubschlager 100% Stone Ground Honey Whole Wheat (2)
Oroweat Light 100% Whole Wheat (1.5)
Arnold Stoneground 100% Whole Wheat (2)
Schmidt's Old Tyme 100% Whole Wheat (2)
Mrs. Wright's 100% Whole Wheat (2)
Grant's Farm 100% Whole Wheat (2)
Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain 100% Stoneground Whole Wheat (2.5)
Earth Grains 100% Whole Wheat (1.5)
Wonder 100% Whole Wheat (1.5)
Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Thin Sliced (2)
Brownberry Bran'nola Hearty Wheat (2.5)
Oroweat Original Honey Wheat Berry (2.5)
Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Sliced Wheat (1)
Arnold Country Wheat (2.5)
Rubschlager European Style Whole Grain (2)
Rubschlager Sunflower Multi-Grain (2)
Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain Crunchy Grains (2.5)
Nature's Cupboard Natural 10-Grain (2.5)
Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain Nine Grain (2.5)
Brownberry Health Nut (2)
Pumpernickel & Rye
Rubschlager Danish Style Pumpernickel (2)
Rubschlager Westphalian Style Pumpernickel (2)
The breads compared were mostly from major brands available in large supermarkets. Many delicious whole-grain breads that are sold in natural food stores would probably qualify -- including breads from Alvarado St. Bakery, The Baker, Food for Life, French Meadow, Natural Ovens, Nature's Path, and Shiloh Farms. If your favorite bread isn't among the "Best Bites," use Nutrition Action's criteria to see how it stacks up.
CSPI, a nonprofit health-advocacy organization, was founded in 1971. CSPI accepts no government or industry funding. It is supported largely by the 900,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter. The organization is well known for obtaining nutrition labeling on all packaged foods and for its nutritional studies of restaurant foods.
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