People with diabetes can still enjoy bread, and in this article we cover the best bread for diabetes.
Want to know how to enjoy bread when you’re living with diabetes? Let’s talk about the best bread for diabetes and how to enjoy it!
As I discuss often, you can absolutely enjoy bread. In fact, as a registered dietitian living with diabetes myself, I love bread and enjoy it often. Sometimes I want to enjoy plain old white bread, and sometimes I want to enjoy a heartier more blood sugar friendly option. You can eat both types while living with diabetes.
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What bread is good for diabetes?
Bread is one of the most commonly misunderstood foods for people with diabetes. Most people with diabetes assume they should not eat bread. This is not true!
If you are looking for a more blood sugar friendly bread, choose a type higher in:
- Plant-based fat
Then, you should also combine it with other foods that offer fat, fiber, and protein: nut butter, avocado, eggs, etc. And, you can also do this with plain white bread (or another lower fiber bread). Add in quality sources of fiber and protein to enjoy with it to help prevent a blood sugar spike.
My top bread picks as a diabetes dietitian
To jump to my bread brand picks for diabetes, click on a section below:
- Low glycemic bread
- Whole grain bread
- Gluten-free bread
- Grain-free bread
- Hamburger buns
- Hot dog buns
- Low carb bread alternatives
- Sandwich shop choices
Nutrition facts about bread and diabetes
Before we get to the best types of bread and best bread for diabetes, let’s look at the overall nutrition properties of bread.
Carbs in bread
The carbohydrate in bread comes from starch, sugar, and fiber. The type of carbohydrate matters and does differ. Some breads have more fiber, which is what we want. But, some breads have less.
How many carbs in a slice of bread?
The average slice of bread has anywhere from 12-20g carbohydrate. Some varieties have more and some have less.
Carbs in white bread
One slice of white bread contains 12g total carbohydrate, less than 1g fiber, and 2g protein.
Carbs in rye bread
A typical slice of rye bread has 16g total carbohydrate, 2g of fiber, and 1g protein.
Whole wheat bread carbs
Often the assumed best bread for diabetes, one slice of whole wheat bread contains 15-20g carbohydrate, 1-3g fiber, and 3-5g protein.
Does bread have sugar?
Yes, bread does have some sugar in it. Some amount of sugar is needed for the baking process. Sugar in bread ranges from <1g-5g/slice depending on the brand and variety. The types we’ve chosen below are lower in sugar.
Whole wheat bread glycemic index v. white bread glycemic index
Many people consider the glycemic index of foods when choosing what to eat. For bread it can be helpful but because bread is often consumed with other foods, it is not the only information to consider.
|Type of Bread||Glycemic Index|
|Whole wheat bread||71|
Both forms of bread are considered “high glycemic” foods. However, you can combine any form of bread with other forms of fiber and protein to reduce the overall glycemic impact.
Gluten free bread and diabetes
There’s a common misconception that gluten free bread is better for people with diabetes. It can be, but it also can be much worse. It’ll depends on the type of flour used and other ingredients.
Does gluten free bread have carbs?
The carbs in gluten free bread is roughly the same as their gluten-containing counterparts.
Is Ezekiel bread good for diabetes?
Yes! We’ll discuss more about Ezekiel bread below but it is a great option and one of the better breads for diabetes.
Is keto bread healthy?
This all depends on what’s in the bread and how it’s made. But, the more important question to ask is if you actually enjoy keto bread? Personally, I don’t enjoy the taste or texture of these breads and thus do not recommend them.
The types of carbohydrates in gluten free bread are similar to wheat and rye based breads: starch, sugar, and fiber. Many gluten free breads are lower in fiber, but not all.
Is sourdough bread good for diabetes?
Sourdough bread has similar nutrients to yeast-leavened bread and it may offer better mineral absorption.
Carbs in sourdough bread
Research does suggest that the fermentation process that helps create sourdough bread, reduces the glycemic response when people with diabetes eat sourdough bread compared to traditional bread. This is also true for pumpernickel bread which uses a sourdough starter.
Is pumpernickel bread good for diabetes?
Pumpernickel bread is a dense slightly sweet bread. It is made from rye flour using a sourdough starter. As mentioned above, breads made with a sourdough starter may have less of a glycemic impact on blood sugars for people with diabetes. You should still consider protein and fiber amounts when consuming pumpernickel bread though.
*Note: Because pumpernickel bread is made from rye, it should be avoided by people with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.
Best bread brands for diabetes
As you’d expect, there are many bread brands that offer diabetes-friendly options. Many brands have options that are perfect for people with diabetes, while also having options that aren’t so great. It’s not really about the brand, but more about the individual qualities of each variety.
- Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Thin-sliced 21 Whole Grains And Seeds Bread
- Ezekiel 4:9 Original Bread
- Silver Hills Sprouted Power The Big 16
- Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread
- Hero Seeded Bread
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat
- Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat
- Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread
- Schar Artisan Baker Multigrain Bread (gluten free)
- Little Northern Bakehouse Gluten Free Grains & Seeds
- Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix
- Dave’s Killer Bread Epic Everything Bagels
- O’Dough’s Whole Grain Bagel Thins
- Rudi’s Organic Multigrain Bagels
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
- Dave’s Killer Bread Burger Buns Done Right
- Schar Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls
- Sola Hot Dog Buns
- Angelic Bakehouse Whole Grain Hot Dog Buns
- Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Hot Dog Buns
Best low glycemic bread
An ideal bread for someone with type 1 or type 2 diabetes should be low glycemic and have plant based fat, at least 2g fiber, and some protein. And, should still taste good and have great texture. These are a few of the best low glycemic bread options, including the best bread for Type 1 Diabetes and best bread for Type 2 Diabetes.
- Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Thin-sliced 21 Whole Grains And Seeds Bread: Dave’s Killer Bread consistently offers breads higher in fiber and protein making them perfect for someone with diabetes. And, if you’re tempted to be worried about the sugar in the bread, it’s not as much of a concern because of the higher protein and fiber amounts.
- Ezekiel 4:9 Original Bread: Ezekiel bread is commonly found in the frozen bread section of most grocery stores and has lots of hearty nuts and seeds which help make it a blood sugar friendly option.
- Silver Hills Sprouted Power The Big 16: One slice of Silver Hills Sprouted Power bread has 6g protein and 4g fiber!
- Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread: If you’re looking for a classic whole wheat bread that checks all the blood sugar friendly boxes, Rudi’s is a great option!
- Hero Seeded Bread: Hero is a new to me brand that seems to have gotten the texture of high fiber bread down just right! And with 11g fiber/slice is low in net carbs!
Best whole grain breads for diabetes
Most whole grain bread options are also low GI breads. Some of my favorites in addition to the ones I’ve listed above include…
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat: For a more traditional sized sandwich bread slice (smaller) Nature’s Own whole wheat offers 2g fiber and 4g protein in each slice.
- Oroweat 100% Whole Wheat: For a larger slice of whole wheat sandwich bread, Oroweat tastes delicious and like other options contains 2g fiber and 4g protein/slice.
- Pepperidge Farm Whole Grain Oatmeal Bread: This option from Pepperidge Farm has a slightly different flavor profile thanks to the oatmeal and slightly more protein at 5g/slice.
Best gluten free breads for diabetes
Gluten free breads sometimes have a high glycemic impact if made with refined flours like rice and potato. There are many gluten free whole grain options out there though… these are a few of my favorites…
- Schar Artisan Baker Multigrain Bread (gluten free): Schar has been my favorite gluten free bread option for years. I have celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, so I love that Schar offers options that are both blood sugar friendly and gluten free!
- Little Northern Bakehouse Gluten Free Grains & Seeds : Little Northern Bakehouse is another great blood sugar friendly gluten free option that offers 2g fiber/slice!
Best grain free breads for diabetes
Grain free breads offer another option for people with diabetes and can’t be left out of a discussion on the best bread for diabetes. Grain free breads tend to be higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrate compared to traditional breads.
- Simple Mills Artisan Bread Mix: If you’re looking to make your own bread at home, I love this mix from Simple Mills. It’s higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate than other bread mixes and is delicious! I love to use it to make homemade focaccia bread!
Best bagels for diabetes
Bagels are naturally higher in carbohydrate than a slice of bread, but if you want to enjoy a bagel while living with diabetes, you absolutely can! Look for varieties (like the ones below) that are higher in protein and fiber, and pair it with an additional protein source.
- Dave’s Killer Bread Epic Everything Bagels: Who doesn’t love a delicious everything bagel?? These bagels have 13g protein and 5g fiber in each bagel.
- O’Dough’s Whole Grain Bagel Thins: These O’Dough’s Bagel Thins have only 19g carbohydrate and are gluten free!
- Rudi’s Organic Multigrain Bagels: For a classic bagel, you can’t beat this option from Rudi’s. Each bagel has 9g protein and 4g fiber.
Best hamburger buns for diabetes
Just like bagels, hamburger buns by nature contain more carbohydrate than a typical slice of bread. Look for varities with more fiber and more protein.
- Nature’s Own 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns: Just like their sandwich bread counterparts. Nature’s Own hamburger buns are a good whole wheat option for people with diabetes.
- Dave’s Killer Bread Burger Buns Done Right: Dave’s Killer Bread hamburger buns are just like their other bread products: loaded with nuts, seeds, and fiber!
- Schar Gluten Free Ciabatta Rolls: I love using these Schar ciabatta rolls when I want a thick bread option for sandwiches… that doesn’t have as much carbohydrate as other brands.
Best hot dog buns for diabetes
A blood sugar friendly hot dog bun can be hard to find but the brands below offer some great hot dog bun options for diabetes!
- Sola Hot Dog Buns: Sola is another brand that has mastered the low carb bread option. The flavor and texture are delicious with only 6g net carbs. And, you can even find their rolls at some Costco stores now!
- Angelic Bakehouse Whole Grain Hot Dog Buns: Angelic Bakehouse hot dog buns have 5g fiber and 7g protein in each bun!
- Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Hot Dog Buns: As mentioned above when we discussed sandwich breads, Ezekiel Bread is usually found in the frozen section. Their hot dog buns are a great option for people with diabetes.
Best low carb bread alternatives
People with diabetes may also enjoy these bread alternatives. My personal favorite is using crunchy cold iceberg lettuce to replace a hamburger bun. Something about the hot and cold flavors mixed together is just so good! But, also remember, if you don’t actually enjoy these swaps and would rather eat traditional bread, that’s totally fine too!
- Brazi Bites Brazilian Cheese Bread: As a dietitian living with diabetes and celiac disease, I always have a bag of Brazi Bites in my freezer. They have just 5g carbohydrate per roll, but 3g protein as well!
- EggLife Egg White Wraps: Egg white or egg based wraps started to rise in popularity several years ago and egglife has consistently been my favorite brand. They’ve mastered the texture and flavor for this category!
- Iceberg lettuce
- Bell pepper halves
Best tortillas for diabetes
While not technically bread, tortillas are another topic related to bread that offers a lot of great options.
- Siete Almond Flour Tortillas: Almond flour tortillas crisp up so well in a pan and make the perfect quesadilla base!
- OhLa grain free tortillas: Similar to Siete tortillas, OhLa tortillas are a tasty lower carb tortilla option for people with diabetes.
- LaTortilla Factory Low Carb Whole Wheat Tortillas: If you’re looking for a more traditional tortilla but lower carbohydrate, La Tortilla Factory makes the best product in my opinion. The flavor is good, and the texture is soft and doesn’t break when rolled into tacos or other dishes.
Best breads for diabetes at Subway and other sandwich shops
When eating out, choose a whole grain bread that’s higher in fiber. I discuss specific options from several large restaurants in another post.
Best breads for diabetes download
Download my easy guide (with photos) to the best bread for diabetes!
This post was updated from its original publish date in November 2021.
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