Are Bagels Healthier Than Bread for Weight Loss

Are Bagels Healthier Than Bread for Weight Loss

Are Bagels Healthier Than Bread for Weight Loss?

Bread and bagels are not suitable for weight loss due to their high carbohydrate and calorie content. Choosing between bagels and bread for weight loss can be challenging.

Bagels are a popular breakfast choice and a common addition to meals. These bakery products are typically made from refined wheat flour, salt, yeast, and other ingredients. The calorie content of bagels depends on their size, ingredients, and toppings. However, both bread and bagels are not recommended for weight loss due to their high carbohydrate and calorie content. Is one healthier than the other?

Bagels come in various flavors, but most contain flour, wheat gluten, sugar, salt, vegetable shortening or oils, yeast, and water.

Bagels can be made with additional ingredients such as seeds, cheese, fruits, nut meats, and chocolate chips. They are often sweetened with malt extract, granulated sugar, molasses, honey, dextrose, corn syrup, or high-fructose corn syrup. Bagels are commonly eaten with cream cheese or used to make bagel sandwiches.

Bagel nutrients

Bagels come in different sizes and may be enriched with dry fruits, sugar, honey, and other ingredients. A 100-gram serving of a regular, unsweetened bagel provides:

  • Energy: 269 calories
  • Protein: 8.65 grams
  • Total fats: 1.4 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 53.8 grams
  • Fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Sugar: 2.88 grams
  • Minerals: calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium
  • Vitamins: folate and riboflavin

Most bagels are made from refined flour, which is low in fiber and vitamins. Although additional vitamins are often added to the flour, it lacks fiber.

Bread nutrients

Compared to bagels, bread contains fewer nutrients. A 100-gram serving of white bread provides:

  • Energy: 209 calories
  • Protein: 4.48 grams
  • Total fats: 1.49 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 43.3 grams
  • Fiber: 11.9 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams
  • Minerals: calcium, iron, potassium, and sodium
  • Vitamins: folate and riboflavin
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Bread has fewer carbohydrates and calories, and the portion size is usually smaller. A slice of bread typically weighs 30 grams. If you consume two slices in a meal or snack, you will have consumed approximately 125 calories and 26 grams of carbohydrates. However, bread has less protein than bagels, which is important for weight loss.

Are bagels healthier than bread for weight loss?

It is not recommended to solely rely on bagels or bread for weight loss due to their high carbohydrate and calorie content. Both are commonly made from refined flour, which is high in carbohydrates and calories. Additionally, they do not provide enough protein for a satisfying snack or meal. A 100-gram serving of bagels contains 53 grams of carbohydrates, whereas bread contains 43 grams. Most weight loss diets restrict foods high in carbohydrates.

Meals with a protein content of 20 grams or more help increase satiety, prevent hunger for longer periods, control eating, and reduce calorie intake. A weight loss diet with 25% of calories from protein is recommended. Bagels and bread have limited protein content on their own, so it’s important to consume them with high-protein foods.

Refined flour has a high glycemic index, causing a rapid increase in blood sugar levels and triggering an insulin response. This is not beneficial for weight loss. If you choose to consume bread or bagels while trying to lose weight, opt for options made from grains with a low glycemic index.

Bagels and bread are not the top choices for weight loss. However, if you enjoy them, you can still include them in your diet as long as you choose them carefully and pair them with nutritious foods.

Can you eat bagels for weight loss?

Successful weight loss requires consuming fewer calories than you burn. Bagels have a high calorie content in a single serving, which can disrupt your diet plan. However, if your diet plan includes bagels and maintains a negative calorie balance, it can still lead to weight loss.

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Is bread suitable for weight loss?

Bread is lower in protein and less calorie-dense than bagels. Additionally, bread is often consumed with high-protein accompaniments like eggs or meat sandwiches, which is essential for preserving lean body mass during weight loss.


Weight loss with bagels and bread

Many weight loss diets restrict carbohydrates, including bread, bagels, sweets, chips, potatoes, rice, and apples. However, completely eliminating carbohydrates can be detrimental because these foods also provide essential nutrients. Reduced carbohydrate diets are not more effective than regular diets as long as calorie restriction is followed.

Consult a healthcare provider or dietitian to help plan a diet that provides 30% fewer calories than your daily requirement. Most men should aim to consume 1,500 to 1,800 calories, while women should aim for 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day. This will depend on your current weight and physical activity levels.

Maintaining a negative calorie balance is key to weight loss, regardless of the foods you consume. Vegetables and fruits are beneficial for weight loss due to their high fiber content and low calorie count. Protein-rich foods, although energy-dense, are valuable in weight loss diets as they promote satiety and prevent muscle loss. Bagels and bread are calorie-dense with limited protein content, but they can be included in your diet with caution. As long as you stay within your calorie target, your weight loss plan will remain effective.

A weight loss diet should include 120 to 180 grams of grains daily. Two slices of bread amount to approximately 60 grams, allowing for three servings per day. However, a single bagel may fulfill your grain quota for the entire day, potentially making it challenging to balance your other meals. Opting for mini bagels or consuming half a bagel at a time can aid in meal distribution.

Eating bagels in a healthy way

Bagels and bread are high in carbohydrates and calories, making them less ideal for weight loss. However, if you enjoy them, it is important to make wise choices.

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Size. Some bakeries offer large bagels with 300 or more calories. Opt for regular-sized bagels that provide approximately 100 to 120 calories. Check the labels to ensure accuracy. If regular bagels are not available, look for mini bagels, bagel thins, or simply cut a large bagel in half.

Ingredients. Certain bagels may contain added sugar or honey, increasing their calorie content. Choose unsweetened bagels made from whole grains. Apart from wheat, consider other healthy grains such as rye or oats.

Toppings. Butter and cream cheese are high in fat and calories. Swap them out for alternatives like hummus, nut butter, avocado, or yogurt. You can also top your bagel with fruits, vegetables, or tomatoes.

Accompaniments. Bagels are rich in carbohydrates, which may not keep you satisfied for long. Pairing your bagel with protein-rich accompaniments like smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, or turkey can significantly increase the protein content of your meal or snack. High-protein meals promote satiety, an important factor in successful weight loss diets.

When attempting to lose weight, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced diet that includes all major food groups, including grains. With careful consideration, bagels and bread can be a part of your healthy meal plan.


American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: "The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance."

Diabetes Care: "International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008."

Nutrition & Metabolism: "A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats."

Nutrition Reviews: "Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis."

Sinha, N. Handbook of Food Products Manufacturing, Wiley, 2007

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Enriched Plain Bagels."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adults."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Managing Overweight and Obesity in Adults."


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