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The Best Bread Options for Type 1 Diabetes from a Registered Dietitian

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This article and the links contained in it provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article is not a substitute for medical care, and should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or registered dietitian.

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Bread is often subject to scrutiny especially within the diabetes community. Many people with type 1 diabetes believe that it should be avoided altogether, but that is not the case. In fact, there are a variety of bread options that can easily be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet with diabetes. By incorporating the tips mentioned in this blog post, you will be able to enjoy your favorite bread without compromising your blood sugar levels (or taste buds!).

Should diabetics stop eating bread?

The short answer to this famous question is no, people with T1D do not need to stop eating bread! Bread may be feared (avoided, limited, or restricted) by people with diabetes because of the potential negative impact blood sugar levels due to its carbohydrate content. Many people with diabetes assume that bread, amongst other carbohydrates, should be completely eliminated from their diet in order to avoid spikes in blood sugar. As you continue reading, you will learn how to incorporate bread into a balanced meal and varieties that are loaded with blood sugar-friendly ingredients.

Is white bread good for diabetics?

White bread is a high-glycemic bread option that may cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, which can be a concern for individuals with type 1 diabetes. However, there are ways to incorporate white bread into your diet without sacrificing your blood glucose levels. Pairing white bread with a source of protein, fat and fiber can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and reduce blood sugar spikes. A simple example of this is a turkey sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. As you read on, keep in mind that food pairing is one simple strategy that can be utilized for any bread option to balance your meals and your blood sugars.

What kind of bread is good for diabetes?

There is no one variety of bread that is superior to others. As I discuss often, there are a variety of factors to consider when eating carbohydrates such as:

  • Amount of carbohydrates (# of slices)

  • Type of carbohydrate (high in fiber versus lacking fiber)

  • Food pairing (what foods are you adding to your bread to reduce the impact on your blood sugar)

  • Insulin dosing (do you need to make adjustments to your insulin timing or amount when eating this food?)

As a general rule of thumb, it can be healthful to look for bread options that are rich in fiber as fiber can promote glycemic control and satiety.

Benefits of fiber for diabetes

Fiber is a well-known nutrient that reduces blood sugar spikes, but many people are not meeting the daily recommended intake of 25-30g per day. Most Americans are only getting about 15 grams of fiber every day. You will see throughout this blog post that I often encourage people to choose bread options that have at least 3g of fiber per serving in order to boost daily fiber intake to meet the recommended daily intake.

High fiber ingredients in bread

Food labels can be tricky to determine which foods are rich in fibrous whole grains. To make sure that you are actually purchasing whole grain bread, look for 100% whole-grain at the very top of the ingredient list. Some other grains besides wheat that are often found in high-fiber breads include oats, rye, barley, spelt, and millet. High fiber breads usually contain about 3-5 grams of fiber per slice and often pack 3-6 grams of protein which can make them slowly digesting and easier on blood sugars.

For individuals with diabetes and celiac disease, I recommend reviewing the resources from Tayler Silfverduk from the Celiac Dietitian.

Which bread raises blood sugar levels the least?

It's worth noting that bread always contains carbohydrates that eventually convert into glucose, impacting blood sugar levels. However, opting for bread choices with 3-5g of fiber and pairing them with protein, fat, and more fiber can lead to a gradual rise in blood sugar.

It is common amongst individuals with diabetes to have varying blood sugar responses to different foods, including different types of bread. It may require some experimentation to find a bread option that not only suits your taste but also doesn't significantly impact your blood sugar levels.

graphic with photos of different bread brands with text "best store bought bread for diabetes"

Best Store Bought Bread for Diabetes

The next time you are at the store, keep these options in mind as the best store bought bread options for diabetes:

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Whole Grain and Multigrain Bread Options for Diabetes

Whole grain bread can be an excellent option for people with diabetes because it contains more fiber and nutrients that help to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates, thus resulting in a slower rise in blood sugar levels. When choosing whole grain bread for diabetes, it's important to aim for bread with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and 4g of protein. Consider these whole grain and multigrain options on your next grocery store trip:

graphic of sourdough bread options for diabetes

Sourdough Bread Options for Diabetes

Sourdough bread can be a diabetes-friendly bread option because it undergoes a fermentation process that can result in slower and smaller increases in blood sugar levels. During the fermentation process, naturally occurring yeasts and bacteria in the sourdough starter consume some of the carbohydrates in the bread dough. This helps to break down the carbohydrates into simple sugars, making them easier to digest and absorb by the body. As a result, sourdough bread has a lower glycemic index compared to other bread types. Some grocery store sourdough options can include:

image of english muffin brands for diabetes

Is an English Muffin good for a diabetic?

When looking for english muffins that are suitable for people with diabetes, it is important to look for options that have at least 3 grams of fiber and protein to increase daily fiber intake and reduce the impact on blood glucose levels Here are some options to consider:

image of bagel brands for diabetes

Which bagel is best for diabetics?

Bagels can be a satisfying breakfast option for people with type 1 diabetes, despite their higher carbohydrate count. There are ways to enjoy bagels while keeping your blood sugar levels stable. 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.

One option is to choose smaller bagels or to cut a larger bagel in half to reduce the carbohydrate content. Another option is to choose whole grain bagels, which are higher in fiber and lower on the glycemic index, resulting in a slower and more gradual increase in blood sugar levels.

It's also important to pair bagels with other foods that can help slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and keep blood sugar levels stable, such as protein, healthy fats, and fiber-rich vegetables. For example, you could have a whole grain bagel with a side of scrambled eggs and some avocado, or a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese.

image of ethe best wraps & tortillas brands for diabetes

Best Tortillas and Wraps for Diabetes

When it comes to wraps for people with diabetes, the key is to choose options that are made with whole grains and have a low glycemic index to help keep blood sugar levels stable. Here are some wrap options to consider:

image of the best pita brands for diabetes

Pita Bread for Diabetes

When it comes to wraps for people with diabetes, the key is to choose options that are made with whole grains and have a low glycemic index to help keep blood sugar levels stable. Here are some wrap options to consider:

What is a good substitute for bread for diabetics?

It's true that people with diabetes don't have to completely avoid bread, but there are low-carb options available for those who may choose to limit or reduce their carbohydrate intake. (PS: I would choose fries over a bun any day of the week).

image of low carb and keto bread options for diabetes

Low Carb and Keto Bread Options for Diabetes

Personally, I don't regularly buy low carb or keto bread although my T1D clients have shared that they find these options enjoyable:

image of low carb and keto wrap options for diabetes

Low Carb and Keto Wraps for Diabetes

Once again, individuals with diabetes don't have to completely eliminate carbohydrates from their diet. However, there may be situations where choosing a low-carb or keto alternative is preferable. In my experience, wraps made with low carb and keto ingredients tend to have a more satisfying texture compared to bread alternatives. Here are a few low carb and keto wraps:

Low Carb Bread Substitutes

Lettuce wraps

For a low-carb option, try using lettuce leaves as a wrap instead of bread or tortillas. Romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, or collard greens are all good options for making wraps.

Bell peppers

While bell peppers can't exactly be used as a bread replacement, they can make for a low-carbohydrate and nutrient-dense option as a wrap or a filling. Bell peppers are a great source of fiber, vitamins C and A, and potassium, and they are also low in carbohydrates and calories. Bell peppers are a great option for people with diabetes looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake, it's important to remember to still include a variety of nutrient-dense foods in your diet to ensure you are getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Bread doesn't have to be completely eliminated from the diet of individuals with type 1 diabetes. Despite its often-scrutinized reputation, there are numerous bread options that can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a well-balanced diet. By following the guidelines outlined in this blog post, people with type 1 diabetes can choose bread wisely and still satisfy their cravings without negatively impacting their blood sugar levels. So go ahead and enjoy your favorite bread while keeping your health in check!

Did you find this blog post helpful? Check out my FREE 5 Day Trader Joe's Meal Guide to show you how easy it can be to pair your favorite carbohydrates with protein, fat and fiber to help you keep your blood sugars in range!


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