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What type of bread can diabetics eat?

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how the body processes blood sugar (glucose). In diabetes, the body either cannot produce enough insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it produces, causing glucose to build up in the bloodstream. To manage their blood sugar levels, people with diabetes need to carefully monitor their carbohydrate intake, including limiting foods high in carbohydrates like bread. However, with careful selection, diabetics can still enjoy bread in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

How does bread affect blood sugar?

Bread is high in carbohydrates, which are broken down into sugar (glucose) during digestion. This glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. In people without diabetes, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin in response to rising blood glucose. Insulin allows cells throughout the body to take up glucose from the blood for energy.

In diabetes, either insufficient insulin is produced or the body’s cells are resistant to the effects of insulin. This results in glucose remaining elevated in the blood, leading to high blood sugar levels. Therefore, eating foods high in carbohydrates like bread can cause spikes in blood glucose.

However, the effect bread has on blood sugar depends on a few factors:

The type of bread

Some types of bread are higher in carbohydrates and will have a greater impact on blood sugar. Breads made from refined white flour tend to be quickly broken down into glucose, while whole grain breads containing fiber, protein, and healthy fats are digested more slowly.

Portion size

Larger portions of bread will provide more carbohydrates and cause a greater rise in blood sugar. Consuming small portions can help lessen the impact.

What else is eaten

Eating bread alone may cause blood sugar to spike, while eating it with protein, fat, and fiber can slow digestion and glucose absorption, leading to a more gradual blood sugar rise.

Individual factors

How an individual’s body processes carbohydrates can also affect blood sugar response. Consulting with a doctor or registered dietitian can help determine how bread impacts your blood sugar levels.

Tips for choosing bread with diabetes

When selecting bread, diabetics should consider the following tips:

Opt for whole grains

Choose 100% whole wheat or whole grain breads whenever possible. The fiber in whole grains slows carbohydrate digestion and the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Look for the word “whole” as the first ingredient.

Check the fiber content

Breads higher in fiber, 3 grams per slice or more, are digested more slowly. Soluble fiber in bread can further help regulate blood sugar levels.

Limit added sugars

Avoid breads with added sugars like honey, molasses, corn syrup or dextrose in the ingredient list. These can cause blood sugar spikes.

Pick lower carb options

Some breads are made with fewer net carbs, about 15 grams per serving or less. These include sprouted grain or nut-based breads.

Watch portion sizes

Stick to a 1 ounce serving, about the size of one slice of bread. This limits carbohydrate intake.

Read nutrition labels

Check the serving size and nutrition information to compare carb content between different breads.

10 Best Breads for Diabetics

When chosen wisely, bread can still be enjoyed as part of a healthy diabetes diet. Here are 10 of the best bread options:

1. Sprouted whole grain bread

Sprouted grain breads are made from whole grains that have been allowed to sprout, which helps increase fiber and lower the glycemic index. Popular brands include Food for Life and Manna Bread. A 1 slice serving (1 oz) provides about 15 grams of carbs.

2. 100% Whole wheat bread

Whole wheat bread has more fiber than white bread, making it a better choice. Top options include Dave’s Killer Bread Organic Whole Wheat and Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Bread, with about 15 grams of carbs per slice.

3. Sourdough bread

The fermentation process of sourdough slows digestion and glucose absorption. One slice of sprouted sourdough provides around 15 grams of carbs.

4. Flaxseed bread

Breads with added flax like Arnold Flax & Oat Bran Bread offer fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. A slice has about 13 grams of carbs.

5. Rye bread

Rye bread is dense, high-fiber bread. A 1 ounce slice of light or medium rye offers 12-15 grams of carbs. Look for 100% whole grain rye.

6. Wheat bran bread

This bread is made by adding wheat bran, an excellent source of fiber, to the dough. One slice has about 17 grams of carbs.

7. Low carb or keto bread

Lower carb bread options, like Shared Bakery Keto Bread and ThinSlim Foods Multi-Grain Bread, contain about 5-10 grams of net carbs per slice.

8. Pumpernickel bread

This coarse, dense bread provides about 15 grams of carbs per 1 ounce slice. The fiber helps moderate blood sugar response.

9. Protein-rich bread

Breads made with added protein and fiber include The Baker Double Protein Bread and Julian Bakery Paleo Bread. They offer around 15 grams of carbs per slice.

10. Gluten-free bread

Those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can try breads made with gluten-free whole grains. A slice of Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread has about 15 grams of carbs.

Healthy ways to enjoy bread with diabetes

Here are some healthy tips for incorporating bread into a diabetes diet:

Pair with protein and healthy fats

Eating bread with protein sources like eggs, lean meats, nuts or seeds, and healthy fats like avocado, nut butter, or olive oil can slow digestion.

Use for open-faced sandwiches

Build sandwiches open-faced on just one slice of bread to control portions.

Opt for small slices or thins

Choose sandwich thins, small baguettes or bread sliced extra thin to limit carb intake.

Avoid breading or frying

Breading and frying adds excess carbohydrates from the breading along with unhealthy fats.

Watch condiments

Jams, jellies and honey raise the carb content. Use sparingly or avoid.

Fill half the plate with non-starchy veggies

Round out meals by filling half your plate with salads, broccoli, tomatoes and other lower carb vegetables.

Save bread for special occasions

If desired, work a small serving of bread you love into meals for special occasions only, instead of routine eating.

Sample meal ideas with diabetes-friendly breads

Here are some meal ideas incorporating healthy bread choices:


– Avocado toast – 1 slice sprouted whole grain toast, 1⁄4 avocado mashed on top, 1 poached egg

– Breakfast sandwich – 1 slice flaxseed bread, 1 scrambled egg, 1 slice low-fat cheddar cheese

– Peanut butter banana toast – 1 slice whole wheat bread, 1 tbsp peanut butter, 1⁄2 banana sliced


– Tuna sandwich – 2 slices whole wheat bread, 3 oz tuna mixed with onion and celery, lettuce and tomato

– Grilled cheese – 2 slices sourdough bread, 2 oz low-fat mozzarella, tomato soup

– Open-faced BLT – 1 slice rye bread, 2 slices turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato, mustard


– Bruschetta – 2 slices whole grain baguette toasted, tomato basil mixture on top

– Mini pizzas – 2 thin slices 100% whole wheat bread, 2 tbsp pizza sauce, 1 oz mozzarella, veggies

– Garden veggie sandwich – 2 slices protein bread, cucumber, tomato, roasted red pepper, sprouts


– Roll-ups – 1 slice deli turkey, lettuce, carrot wrapped in 1 slice wheat bran bread

– Mini sandwich – 1 thin slice pumpernickel bread, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1⁄2 banana

– Crostini – 3 thin slices French baguette, roasted garlic, part-skim ricotta

Precautions for bread consumption with diabetes

While bread can be part of a diabetes diet, the following precautions should be kept in mind:

– Focus on whole grain, high-fiber options in moderation

– Stick to the recommended serving size, usually 1 slice

– Avoid breads with added sugars

– Pair bread with protein, fat and non-starchy vegetables

– Check labels for net carbs and fiber content

– Monitor blood sugar levels carefully when adding or increasing bread

– Consult a registered dietitian to determine appropriate bread choices

The bottom line

Many types of bread can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet for managing diabetes. The key is to choose whole grain, high-fiber options and watch carefully portion sizes. Pairing bread with protein, healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables is recommended to help control blood sugar. By making smart bread choices and balancing intake with other nutrient-rich foods, diabetics can still incorporate bread into their meals and manage their condition. Testing blood sugar levels and working with a doctor or dietitian will also ensure bread fits into an overall healthy diabetes diet.