While choosing what to eat to promote weight loss, it is important to narrow down categories of food to focus on and types of food within those categories.
Sliced bread and bagels are two popular choices for breakfast or lunch sandwiches, or even as a snack, but which one is healthier?
The answer to this question depends on the quantity you eat, if the bagel or bread is whole wheat or a different kind of bread, and spreads or toppings you may consider adding.
Portion Size Matters
If you eat two pieces of plain whole wheat bread or a plain whole wheat bagel, you will get more calories from the bagel. However, if you eat only half a bagel, you would get fewer calories than eating two slices of bread.
Bagels are denser than sliced bread, so if you only eat half a bagel, you are still giving yourself a satisfying snack and will probably feel about as full as if you had eaten the two slices of bread.
White or Whole Wheat?
Health-conscious individuals are eating less white bread and more whole wheat bread, because they know that whole wheat bread is healthier.
This is true for sliced bread as well as bagels.
Any whole wheat bagel will be healthier for you than white bread, because nutrients have been taken away from white bread when the flour it is baked with loses its wheat content.
The most important aspect of whole wheat bread or bagels is the bran and fiber contained in the whole wheat, which promotes good digestive health and weight loss.
Spreads and Toppings Count
If you add spreads or toppings onto bread or bagels, there will be extra fat, calories, sodium, or sugar.
A piece of whole wheat bread slathered with butter and jam will not be as healthy as a wholesome half of a whole wheat bagel.
You can enjoy whole wheat bagels with fewer calories if you minimize spreads and toppings.
A small amount of healthy almond butter or natural peanut butter is enough to give your bagel extra flavor.
Bread or Bagel?
Ultimately, there is not a great difference between eating sliced bread or a bagel when they are both made with whole wheat.
The carb and nutrient counts for whole wheat bread versus a whole wheat bagel are nearly the same, so if you like bagels more than you like sliced bread, you should enjoy your bagels as long as you watch your portion size, choose whole wheat, and go light on spreads and toppings.