The demand for gluten-free products continues to rise, but, contrary to popular belief, a slice of gluten-free bread is not necessarily healthier than a slice of whole-wheat. In fact, unless you do have an intolerance, you’re better off leaving the gluten-free products on the shelf.
The store-bought options are often made with refined gluten-free grains (meaning they’re stripped of fiber and nutrients), such as rice flour, cornstarch, and potato flour. They’re also high on the glycemic index, are just as carb-heavy as their gluten-full counterparts, and are often more expensive.
Because of this, we’ve been hesitant to recommend any gluten-free bread products—until now. Barely Bread’s new 100 percent gluten-free, grain-free breads have ingredient lists we feel good about—and they taste great, too. All the products (sliced loaves, bagels, baguettes, and rolls) are made with protein-packed, vitamin-rich almond flour, fiber-packed coconut flour, sweet potato flour, and flaxseed meal (high in omega-3 fatty acids). They’re also soy and dairy free, non-GMO, certified Paleo, and are free of artificial flavors, preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and gums. Oh, and the packaging is 100 percent recyclable.
Our favorite is the Onion-Garlic-Sea Salt Baguette, which is topped with sea salt, onion, garlic, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds. We warmed ours in the oven, sliced it into rounds, and dipped it in olive oil for a tasty addition to dinner. Our food editors agreed that all the products tasted better either warmed or toasted, and benefited from a splash of olive oil or a smear of cream cheese. For a healthy gluten-free bread, however, it’s the best we’ve ever tasted. The line is currently rolling out in stores nationwide, beginning with Earth Fare, and the breads are also available for purchase online.
If you’re not avoiding gluten, it’s still important to pay attention to the labels and ingredient lists on all packaged breads. To help you make the healthiest choice, we’ve broken down the difference between whole wheat, whole grain, and multigrain bread.