The Bread Facts You Knead to Know

Last month, Subway was a little crusty about the information that came out of Ireland. The country’s Supreme Court rejected arguments from the popular fast-food chain challenging the added tax for their sandwiches. According to the Irish legislation, the Value-Added Tax Act can save companies by taxing “staple” food items at zero percent. However, all six of Subway’s bread options were deemed too sugary to be qualified as bread, thus Subway’s sandwiches would cost a bit more dough. We really got a rise out of this situation.

Anyway you slice it, sugar is frequently found in bread. Sugar feeds yeast breads, and affect the texture, size, and color of your loaf. However, how much sugar is necessary, and how much becomes excessive? Check out our comparison of popular bread choices and see who rises to the top.

Nature’s Own 

With just 60 calories per slice (28g), this choice contains 4 g protein, and only 1 g total sugar, or 7% of calories from sugar or 4% sugar by volume. This lower sugar bread contains 2 grams of fiber per serving, and has a pretty simple ingredient list including: Whole Wheat Flour, Water, Yeast, Brown Sugar, Wheat Gluten. Contains 2% Or Less Of Each Of The Following: Salt, Monoglycerides, Enzymes, Ascorbic Acid, Soybean Oil, Vinegar, Cultured Wheat Flour, Monocalcium Phosphate, Soy Lecithin.

Market Pantry 

In just 60 calories, 1 slice (26g) of Market Pantry bread contains >1 g sugar, 2 g fiber = 6% calories from sugar per slice, or 4% sugar by volume. This bread is low in fat and cholesterol, and the first ingredient is stone ground whole wheat flour.


Though the slices are almost double in size (43g), this 100% whole wheat bread contains a bit more sugar than the others. Brownberry’s 100% whole wheat bread contains 3 g of fiber per 100-calorie slice, and 11% of calories from sugar, or 7% sugar by volume. A fiber-filled choice, with an easy-to-pronounce ingredient list including: whole wheat flour, water, bulgur wheat, sugar, soybean oil, wheat gluten, honey, yeast, whole wheat, cultured wheat flour, salt, soy lecithin, grain vinegar, natural flavors, citric acid, soy and whey.

Sara Lee

Getting a little sweeter, 1 slice (28g) of Sara Lee bread contains 13% of calories from sugar or 8% sugar by volume. For each slice of this 100% whole wheat bread, there is 60 calories, 2g of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. Ingredients include: whole wheat flour, sugar, yeast, molasses, wheat bran, among other ingredients.

Home Pride

This 70-calorie bread has the lowest amount of fiber (<1 g per 26g slice), and contains 11% of calories from sugar or 8% sugar by volume. Ingredients include high fructose corn syrup, molasses, and honey, but further, this bread may be “wheat” but is free of whole grains.


How do these compare to Subway breads?

In the US, many of the breads from Subway are similar to the breads we compared. On the highest end, Subway’s 9-Grain Honey Oat contains 6 grams (12% calories from sugar) or 8% sugar by volume, and the 9-Grain Wheat contains 5 grams (11% calories from sugar) or 7% sugar by volume. However, these breads also contain 4 grams of fiber. The best choice at Subway? The Artisan Flatbread contains 4 grams of fiber, 3 grams of sugar (3% sugar by volume) and 5% of calories from sugar.


Bottom Line

Rather than checking the ingredients for sugar, or even the nutrition facts panel to determine the quantity of sugar in grams, try this little test. If your bread has more sugar grams than fiber grams PER SLICE, it probably isn’t going to be the best satisfying choice. Choose a bread with higher fiber (>3 g per slice), to keep you feeling fuller for longer.

Lara Field MS, RD, LDN is a Registered Dietitian and Specialist in Pediatrics with over a decade of clinical and client experience. When she’s not actively working to keep her clients healthy, she’s a busy mother of two active boys and loves testing new recipes in her kitchen. Follow her on Instagram to see her recipe ideas, product suggestions, and see how she manages a healthy lifestyle @larafield.