What's New -- CSPI Press Releases

For Release August 21, 1997

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Consumer Group Offers Bread-Buying Guide

CSPI Names 22 Breads as "Best Bites"

Not all breads are created equal. Some are made from 100 percent whole grains, with all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals intact. They're the ones that may help cut your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. The rest are all or largely refined white flour -- which has been stripped of most of its nutrients.

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:

For those who do not want to hunt through ingredients, cross-checking serving sizes and the thickness of individual slices, here are Nutrition Action's "Best Bite" winners (ranked within each category from most to least fiber):

Bread (weight of 2 slices in ounces) Calories Sodium (mg) Fiber (g)

100% Whole Wheat

Rubschlager 100% Stone Ground Honey Whole Wheat (2)

140 270 5

Oroweat Light 100% Whole Wheat (1.5)

80 230 5

Arnold Stoneground 100% Whole Wheat (2)

120 230 4

Schmidt's Old Tyme 100% Whole Wheat (2)

120 260 4

Mrs. Wright's 100% Whole Wheat (2)

120 280 4

Grant's Farm 100% Whole Wheat (2)

140 300 4

Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain 100% Stoneground Whole Wheat (2.5)

180 320 4

Earth Grains 100% Whole Wheat (1.5)

90 240 3

Wonder 100% Whole Wheat (1.5)

110 280 3

Pepperidge Farm 100% Whole Wheat Thin Sliced (2)

120 240 2


Brownberry Bran'nola Hearty Wheat (2.5)

180 270 6

Oroweat Original Honey Wheat Berry (2.5)

120 340 4

Pepperidge Farm Very Thin Sliced Wheat (1)

70 150 3

Arnold Country Wheat (2.5)

180 340 2

Mixed Grain

Rubschlager European Style Whole Grain (2)

140 270 6

Rubschlager Sunflower Multi-Grain (2)

140 240 4

Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain Crunchy Grains (2.5)

180 260 4

Nature's Cupboard Natural 10-Grain (2.5)

160 340 4

Pepperidge Farm Natural Whole Grain Nine Grain (2.5)

180 340 4

Brownberry Health Nut (2)

140 300 2

Pumpernickel & Rye

Rubschlager Danish Style Pumpernickel (2)

140 270 4

Rubschlager Westphalian Style Pumpernickel (2)

140 270 4

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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