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The Search for Good Vegan Bread

Sometimes we look for healthy vegan bread in the supermarket. We read labels on dozens of different brands. We feel lucky if we find even one loaf that is both healthy and vegan. Let's compare the labels on a lousy product and a great one.

White bread

white bread loafFirst we will look at a loaf of white bread we bought. Our local grocery store sells tons of it so people must like it.

Let's analyze the label to see if it is vegan and healthy. Learn more about reading nutrition labels.

white bread label

First we check the Nutrition Facts:

  • A serving size (2 slices) contains 100 calories and 10 come from fat. Ten percent fat is perfect. So far so good.

  • The sodium content per serving is 210 mg, which is more than double what it should be. It should be 100 or less, the same as the calories. Strike one.

  • The calorie density is 100 calories in 41 g of bread. To calculate calories per oz, first divide 41 by 28.35. A serving weighs 1.45 oz. Second, divide 100 calories by 1.45. The calorie density is 69 calories per oz. Enough to cause weight gain, but typical for bread. We'll give them a pass on this one.

Now for the real test of this bread. Read the list of ingredients.
Is it healthy, and is it vegan?

white bread ingredients
  • The first ingredient is enriched four, which is just white flour. This is one of the bad carbs we try to avoid. As we read further, we learn that this stuff they call bread is just a concoction of white flour, high frustose corn syrup, and chemicals.

  • It contains whey, which is a dairy product. It is not a vegan bread. Some of those chemicals may be animal products too. Who would know?

We hated to spend the money on this stuff; we wouldn't even feed it to the ducks. Unfortunately, most of the bread in the supermarket is similar to this. Even brown bread that is labeled "wheat bread" is usually made of white flour. Try to find a bread that says "100% whole wheat". If you live in the U.S. have a local natural food store, you may find the next product there:

Ezekiel 4:9 sprouted grain bread

Ezekiel bread

This Ezekiel 4:9 bread is made by a company called Food for Life. Let's analyze the label and see if it is any better than the white bread.

Ezekiel bread label

First we look at the Nutrition Facts:

  • This is a little hard to read, but there are 80 calories in one slice, and 5 calories from fat. It is 6% fat. Excellent.

  • One slice contains 75 mg of sodium. Perfect.

  • Now for the calorie density. Divide 34 g by 28.35. A slice weighs 1.2 oz.
    Divide 80 calories by 1.2. The bread has a calorie density of 67 calories per oz. The calorie density is almost the same as the white bread.

Let's check the ingredients:

Ezekiel bread ingredients

This is a great product, a healthy vegan bread.

Ezekiel bread is interesting because it is not made of flour, but of sprouted whole grains and beans. It is dense and flavorful, and very healthy. However, it is important to note that the calorie density is high. If you don't understand the concept of calorie density, please read our page on the calorie content of foods. It is the key to our vegan weight loss plan and the secret of permanent weight loss.

 Food for Life also makes a low sodium version of this bread that contains no salt at all. Some people need a salt-free bread, but we must warn you that the favor is very bland. We like the regular version better, which is still a low sodium product, in our opinion.
Ezekiel burger buns
The company also makes burger buns, English muffins, and sprouted grain tortillas. Most stores keep them in the freezer, and we freeze or refrigerate ours again as soon as we get home.

These breads contain no preservatives and will get moldy at room temperature. If you are trying to lose weight and seldom eat bread, freeze individual slices (or 2 at a time) in ziploc bags.

We live in a small town, but our supermarket actually carries Ezekiel bread in their freezer. It is not cheap, but worth the money. The best prices we have found for this bread are at Trader Joe's. Get there early in the day, or the best breads may be sold out.

Other good breads

Check your natural food store for other good vegan bread. It will often be in the freezer section, unless your store is in a big city and does a lot of business. If you are sensitive to gluten, there are gluten-free breads like rice bread.
pita bread
We always keep some whole wheat pita bread in the freezer. Read labels carefully and try to find one without added oil. We cut it in triangles and dip it in fat free hummus.

Flour products like bread are a big part of the western diet. If you are trying to lose weight, focus on cooked whole grains instead of bread. Cooked grains are satisfying and they have a low calorie density.

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