You have questions about eating bread while following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian plan and I have answers!
During Dr. Fuhrman’s Culinary Getaway last year I finally learned the lowdown on nutritarian bread options and I can’t wait to dish!
And this bread-411 isn’t just for nutritarians, if you’re living a high-nutrient, vegan, sos-free lifestyle, you’re going to want to stay tuned…
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Can you eat bread on the eat to live plan?
- How much bread can you eat?
- What are the best breads to buy when you’re following a nutritarian lifestyle?
- What if I can’t find those suggested brands in my area?
With summertime picnics, BBQs and beach days stretched out before us, there’s no better time to get on the same page about nutritarian bread options.
Let’s do this!
Bread & Nutrient-Density
Bread is a processed food.
The goal of the nutritarian lifestyle is to eat the most nutrient-dense, un-processed, natural plant foods as possible.
Yeah, it’s no surprise to think that bread doen’t really fit in there.
Ground up wheat flour doesn’t occur in nature–I’m quite sure you’ve never stumbled into a field of wheat powder.
Wheat flour is created by an undoubtedly man-made process of ripping apart the bran and the germ (essentially removing the fiber) and grinding up the remaining interior of the wheat seed into a calorically-concentrated powder.
In The End of Dieting (p. 271) Dr. Fuhrman explains “the more finely ground the grain … the higher the glycemic load.” And as nutritarians, we want to steer clear of foods that our bodies are going to break down into simple sugars within minutes (what Dr. Fuhrman calls “fast foods” p. 81).
But the good news is Dr. Fuhrman doesn’t agree with the anti-wheat-and-gluten hype. Dr. Fuhrman has no problem with “intact whole grains such as boiled wheat kernels, sprouted wheat or wheat berries” (The End of Dieting, p. 57).
While there’s no doubt that whole wheat bread is more nutrient-dense and fiber-filled than white bread, that doesn’t mean you can let whole wheat bread play a major role in your nutritarian lifestyle.
Dr. Fuhrman ranks whole wheat bread at a level of 30 on his ANDI scoring system. Surprisingly higher than oatmeal (26) and white potatoes (28) and almost three times as nutritious as white bread (9).
So, where does all this information leave you on your nutritarian mission?
Yes, you can eat bread on a nutritarian diet. It should be whole wheat, minimally processed and make up a very small portion of your daily calories.
And that brings us to our next consideration…
How Much Bread Can You Eat on the Nutritarian Plan?
There are two plans I discuss here on Hello Nutritarian: (1) the Aggressive Weight Loss Plan which is what’s often meant when you hear “the 6 week challenge” or “the 6 week plan” and found in Eat to Live; and (2) the Basic Guidelines plan which is a less restrictive plan that Dr. Fuhrman outlines in The End of Dieting.
If you’re following the Aggressive Weight Loss Plan: Whole wheat bread should be counted under your 1 cup quota of whole grains for the day.
If you’re following the Basic Guidelines: Whole wheat bread should make up less than 10% of your daily calories while focusing on meeting your GBOMBS quotas daily.
Dr. Fuhrman suggests using 1 slice of whole wheat bread for your sandwiches and bean burgers (The End of Dieting, p. 264). At the Culinary Getaway last year Dr. Fuhrman said this is the best practice because you don’t want to use up your whole grain quota in one shot.
So, can you eat two slices of bread when you’re following the Aggressive Weight Loss Plan?
Yes, but you’re going to use up your whole grains serving for the day, or come very close to it.
To put it all into perspective, one cup of brown rice has 45 grams of carbohydrates and 1 cup of diced potato has 28 grams. Two slices of “Sesame” Ezekiel bread have 28 grams of carbohydrates, but we know bread is more processed than potatoes or brown rice.
The “whole grains” allotment issue has become more nuanced in recent Dr. Fuhrman appearances. Where he qualifies his seemingly draconian 1-cup whole grain rule by saying that some people have more trouble losing weight when they include too many foods in this category into their diets. And he concedes that when your activity levels are higher you can likewise level-up your “whole grain” intake.
In my opinion, it’s worth your effort to test which level of whole grain intake works best for you, your health, weight-loss goals and your activity levels.
Which Kinds of Breads are Best When You’re Following a Nutritarian Diet?
One word, eight letters…
“Sprouted grain breads are made from whole wheat kernels or other whole wheat grains that are allowed to sprout and then are ground up. As far as nutrition goes, they are the best whole grain choice.” The End of Dieting, p. 271.
There are two brands that Dr. Fuhrman featured at the Culinary Getaway and in The End of Dieting, that you’re going to want to know about:
- Food for Life “Ezekiel” Bread
- Manna Organics Breads
These breads stand apart from the pack because they use such a variety of sprouted grains like: wheat, rye, millet, barley, oats, and even lentils! And probably more importantly is what they don’t have in their ingredient lists (sugar, sweeteners, oils or dairy).
I’ve found both these brands in the frozen section at Whole Foods and occasionally at Sprouts.
The Manna breads are a denser and moister bread with incredible taste and interesting flavor combinations like “Fig , Fennel & Flax,” and “Carrot Raisin.”
Ezekiel bread comes in with a bit more sodium than Manna, the Sesame variety has 80 mg per slice.
I recommend Ezekiel if you’re looking for a more traditional sandwich bread experience and Manna if you’re making an open-faced sandwich with avocado, nut and seed butters or chia jams.
What Should I Do If I Can’t Find a 100% Compliant Bread?
If you don’t have access to the recommended breads listed here, you want to find the best of the “less-than” bread choices.
Look for a brand that has the most of the following features:
- made from 100% whole wheat flour (the first ingredient listed and the only flour named in the ingredients)
- dairy free
- does not contain hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated oil or vegetable oil shortening
- preferably doesn’t have sugar, high fructose corn syrup or honey
- falls below 180 mg of sodium per slice (no more than 200 mg per slice)
- provides at least 3 grams of fiber
If a given bread meets all 6 of the criteria above, congratulations! You found yourself a mighty fine whole wheat bread choice and you don’t have to worry too much about what other “less-than” ingredients you may find in there.
I say not to worry because if you’re faithfully following a nutritarian diet you’re certainly not engaging in a bread-centric lifestyle.
Dr. Fuhrman also lists a few more commonly-found brands in The End of Dieting (p. 273) including Pepperidge Farm’s “100% Natural Whole Wheat” that contains both sugar and oil. So, you’ve heard it from the doctor’s mouth: you don’t have to be perfect with your bread selections!
Beware of white flour masquerading as wheat!
In The End of Dieting (p. 272), Dr. Fuhrman lists these as the following misleading terms the industry uses :
- wheat flour
- unbleached wheat flour
- enriched wheat flour
- stone-ground wheat flour or bran
- multigrain, five grain or seven grain
- 100 percent wheat flour or bran
More Hidden Health-Derailers in Bread
It’s very hard to find unadorned whole wheat breads on your supermarket shelf–believe me, I’ve tried!
So many seemingly healthy breads harbor sugars and other sweeteners, oils and even dairy products in their ingredient lists. One great example is “Dave’s Killer Bread” that lists organic dried cane syrup (sugar) as the third listed ingredient. Another is “Milton’s Original Healthy Multigrain Bread,” that used to be my go-to Trader Joe’s choice, which has brown sugar and honey listed in the top half of their ingredient
It’s no surprise that as a general rule of thumb you want to seek out whole wheat breads (and bread-like products e.g. pitas, wraps and tortillas) who boast the shortest ingredient lists.
This is a clear signal that the whole wheat bread is less processed with fewer man-made chemicals or vitamins added during the manufacturing process.
Okay, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been thoroughly schooled in all things bread when you’re following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian lifestyle or care about eating the most nutritionally-dense bread as possible!
Did you find this post to be a helpful resource for you? Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think!