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Diabetes and bread…
So many questions come up about good ‘ol bread. And not surprisingly because it’s a staple food that we’ve all grown up on. Toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, a side of bread for dinner, it’s a pretty common practice right?
But if you’re diabetic, should bread get the cut? Is it okay to eat? Are there certain types of breads that are better than others?
These are all great questions so let’s dig in and go over this together now. If you have any questions, just leave them at the bottom of the post and we’ll chat about it.
What Kind Of Bread Is Best For A Diabetic?
We’ve recently covered the types of flours that are best for diabetes, so before we dig in and talk about breads, let’s briefly look at the flour cheat sheet.
See how everything above coconut flour goes up from 30 g net carbs and above, which is really getting up there.
In reality, the best breads for you to eat are ones made from flaxseed, almond, chickpea or coconut flour, which are a bit more difficult to come by.
Of course, the simplest way to overcome this is to make your own. But, we understand that not everyone wants to make their own bread. So thankfully, there are quite a number of companies that supply great low carb bread options you can buy.
Whole Wheat & Rye Bread and Diabetes
But, when you take the whole grain and grind it into a flour, it changes the way your body digests it. This mainly happens because the bulky fiber component of the grain gets broken down, meaning less digestion – for you as a diabetic that means higher blood sugar spikes.
Have you heard of the glycemic index before?
“The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating.” Source
High GI foods rapidly effect blood sugar, while low GI foods have a slow digestion and absorption and produce a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Below 55 is considered low GI. So the lower a food is the better, and the higher it is the faster it affects blood sugar and the worse it is for you as a diabetic.
So now we can look at the GI of both a whole wheat kernel and whole wheat flour as an example. Whole wheat kernels are 30 (low GI) and whole wheat flour is 71 (high GI).
What this really means is that whole wheat bread really isn’t that great.
Your best bet when it comes to rye bread is pumpernickel bread – it’s made from whole rye grains and is a low GI of 41-46. But, pumpernickel bread isn’t exactly a sandwich type bread, and has it’s own pungent flavor, too.
Let’s check out some more GI levels:
- Normal rye bread 57-78
- Wheat whole grain 68-69
- Wheat white bread 71
- 100% wheat white bread 85
So these are all high GI and aren’t good options.
Sourdough Bread and Diabetes
Sourdough bread is made by traditional methods, where the starter dough is fermented to provide the rise in the bread instead of yeast and sugar. Surprisingly, this bread making method is much better for us.
Making sourdough produces beneficial gut bacteria that help with digestion, and this has a strong impact on how it then influences the blood sugar response.
As a consequence, sourdough breads are lower in GI:
- sourdough rye bread 48
- 80% barley bread made via sourdough 53-66
- sourdough wheat bread 54
So having a slice of sourdough is going to be a better choice than most other breads.
But there is a bit more to the story.
Does Cutting Bread Help Diabetes?
The thing is, GI is important, but then you have to consider your overall carbohydrate intake as well.
Here are some of the above breads with carb quantity:
- Pumpernickel bread – 1 slice 26 g = 12.3 g carbs, 1.7 g fiber, 10.6 g net carbs (Total carbs minus fiber = net carbs)
- Oat bran bread – 1 slice 30 g = 11.9 g carbs, 1.4 g fiber, 10.5 g net carbs
- Buckwheat bread – 1 slice 47 g = 20 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 18 g net carbs
- Sourdough wheat bread – 1 slice 57 g = 29 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 26 g net carbs
- Sprouted grain bread 1 slice 34 g = 15 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 12 g net carbs
As you can see an average piece of bread is going to be anywhere from 11.9 to 20 g carbs.
One slice of bread is considered one serve, or one carb count and is around 15 g carbs on average.
While that’s not too bad, if you can keep your carbohydrate intake lower overall each day, you’ll be better off for it – meaning, yes, cutting ‘traditional’ forms of bread can help diabetes – you will see lower blood sugar and A1c levels.
This might not be the same opinion that you read elsewhere, or even the guidelines your dietitian might give you. Often they say 30 or 45 g carbs per meal is fine, some of them even recommend up to 70-80 g carbs per meal. But in our experience, (and what the research shows) many people with type 2 diabetes and prediabetes get the best results when they stick to eating that many carbs per day, not per meal.
Eating 50-80 g carbs per day might sound drastic but it is totally possible. And you can still have bread – if it’s the right kind.
To answer the question – does cutting bread help diabetes?
Well, if you’re cutting the ‘traditional’ types of bread, the types you’ll find at the supermarket, then yes, the less you consume it, the lower your blood sugar and A1C will be.
Making Low Carb Breads At Home
Baking breads at home is going to be your best option. And it’s actually very easy to do – if you know how.
For instance, we have a wholemeal bread where you put all the ingredients into a food processor, blend, pour into a loaf pan and bake. Easy prep, easy cook. And best of all, it’s just 1 gram net carbs per slice!
Since low carb breads use almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, and sesame flour, it can be an expensive trial and error because you can’t use low carb flours in the same way as you do regular wheat or gluten free flours.
That’s why we created the Low Carb Breads Masterclass for our members – it takes the guesswork out of making low carb breads at home and provides over 30 recipes and cooking classes to choose from. You can whiz up low carb breads you and the family enjoy, without wasting any ingredients!
Another example is our 3 Minute Bun. It is ZERO net carbs and can be loaded with any of your favorite fillings.
Is bread better than cereal for a diabetic?
This is another question that often gets asked and the answer is yes. If you had to choose, a slice of bread over most breakfast cereals would be a better choice any day because most cereals are way too high in sugar.
Of course, not all breakfast cereals are made alike, but generally speaking, bread will contain less carbs, and far less sugar (and salt) than most common breakfast cereals.
Low Carb Bread Options
Low Carb Breads at Local Stores
These can be harder to find, but since low carb is becoming more popular, if you look around there are more options available.
For instance, in the US and Canada, Walmart sells ThinSlim Foods Love-the-Taste Low Carb Bread Plain, 2pack and Joseph’s Bakery Mini Pita Bread, both of which are 7 grams carbs per slice/bread.
In the UK, Tescon sells Hovis Lower Carb Seeded Bread, which is around 9 grams carbs per slice – a little bit lower than regular bread.
In Australia, Aldi sells an 85% lower carb bread, which is just 5 grams per slice.
Low Carb Bread Options From Amazon
Here are some low carb bread options from our Amazon store, just to give you some examples.
Great Low Carb Bread Co has loaves that have just 1 g net carbs per serve. These cost around $7.99 but adding shipping of $9.24 soon hikes the price right up. Low Carb Bread Co has a low carb rye loaf, low carb hot dog buns, low carb hamburger buns and even makes bagels, again you’re looking at around $6-7 per pack.
LC-Low carb Sandwich Loaf is $12.58 per 25 slice loaf. It’s a spongy sandwich loaf, which is how most of us like bread. And it’s just 1 g net carbs per slice. In reality it breaks down to around 50c per slice, which isn’t too bad, but add shipping on top and it will hike up the price.
The same goes for this low carb pita bread. It’s a good price at just $3.99 for 6 pita breads, but then the shipping is $11, which seems a bit ridiculous.
Then there’s Mama Lupes Low Carb Tortillas $11.98 per 12.5 oz/ 360 g pack, 3 g net carbs per tortilla
You could try using Bob’s Red Mill Low Carb Bread Mix – that will cost you around $5-6 per pack. But once cooked it will end up costing more once you add eggs etc. 1 slice comes in at around 5 g carbs per slice.
Low Carb Bread Options From Netrition
Netrition is another great online store to purchase low carb goods from. If you live in the US, they have a flat rate shipping cost of $5.99, which is much cheaper than Amazon. They also ship worldwide, just make sure to check the shipping guide.
Another great thing is their prices for items are much cheaper too. For example, remember the Mama Lupes Low Carb Tortillas from Amazon were $11.98?
Well, you can get them from Netrition for just $3.89 per pack!
The MiRico Low Carb Bread is $6.39 per loaf, with 3 g net carbs per serve, so if you buy a few loaves at a time it won’t cost anymore in shipping so it makes the cost fairly reasonable. MiRico also have low carb bagels, and low carb tortillas too.
When it comes to choosing bread basically you just have to shop around, because there are many options and now there are many lower carb alternatives as well.
For a more comprehesive list of 50+ different breads and their nutrition facts, grab a free copy of our breads cheat sheet below.