Bagels have long enjoyed a reputation as a healthy, delicious breakfast option that is guaranteed to fill you up while keeping your blood sugar steady and your energy levels high.
But are bagels really the healthiest choice for breakfast?
We took a closer look at the health benefits of bagels, as well as the risks that can come with overconsumption, and some options to make your bagels healthier.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Bagels?
Bagels have been around since the early 1900s, but they didn’t become popular until after World War II when soldiers started bringing them back from overseas.
Today, bagels are one of America’s favorite foods.
They’re easy to eat on the go, and they’re also an affordable option for those who want to start their day off right.
Bagels are made by mixing dough into a large ball shape, then rolling it out flat before baking.
This process creates a thin crust that contains less fat than other bread products.
In fact, bagels contain only about half the amount of calories found in white bread.
And because they’re baked instead of fried, they don’t contain any trans fats or saturated fats.
The nutritional value of bagels comes mainly from carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamins B6 and C, iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, folate, pantothenic acid, vitamin D, and selenium.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Bagels?
While bagels are generally considered a healthy food, there are some potential downsides to eating too many of them.
Here are three things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about adding more bagels to your diet:
High Sugar Content
One of the biggest concerns with bagels is their high sugar content.
While most people know that bagels are loaded with carbs, they may not realize how much sugar they actually contain, and this can be an issue if they form a large element of your daily diet.
According to the American Heart Association, a single serving of bagel has between 10 and 15 grams of added sugars, and this can cause major issues for your long-term health and wellbeing.
Low Fiber Content
Another downside to bagels is that they lack fiber.
A typical bagel contains only 2 grams of fiber per slice, which isn’t enough to help maintain regular bowel movements.
If you’re looking to improve your overall digestive system, you should consider increasing your intake of dietary fiber.
Too Much Fat
One of the reasons why bagels are so low in fat is because they’re usually baked rather than fried.
However, this doesn’t mean that they’re completely free of unhealthy fats.
According to the USDA, bagels contain anywhere from 0.5 to 1 gram of saturated fat per slice.
If you’re concerned about your cholesterol level, you might want to limit your consumption of bagels.
Although they’re lower in total fat than other bread products, they still contain significant amounts of cholesterol – especially if you are consuming more than one a day.
High In Refined Carbs
If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to traditional breakfast sandwiches, bagels aren’t going to cut it.
Because they’re made from refined flour, bagels are higher in carbs than other bread products, and this can result in weight gain over time.
In addition, bagels are often made using bleached flour, which means that they contain even more carbs than normal.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you could end up consuming way more carbs than necessary.
How Can I Make Bagels Healthier?
There are plenty of ways to make bagels healthier without sacrificing on taste.
ou can try making them yourself at home, but if you’re short on time, you can always buy pre-made bagels online.
Here are four tips to ensure that you get the best possible bagels when you do decide to eat them:
Choose Whole Grain Bread
When buying bagels, look for brands that offer whole grain options.
This will give you a better chance of getting a product that’s packed with nutrients instead of empty calories.
Choose Organic Flour
When baking bagels, choose organic flour whenever possible.
This ensures that you’re getting a product that’s as close to natural as possible, and will allow you to enjoy more significant health benefits.
Use Natural Flavors Instead Of Artificial Ones
While artificial flavors can add flavor to foods, they also come with their own set of problems.
For example, artificial flavors have been linked to cancer, obesity, and heart disease. To avoid these risks, stick to natural flavors such as cinnamon or vanilla extract.
Buy Gluten-Free Options
Bagels are typically made using wheat flour, which means that gluten-free options don’t exist.
If you’d like to enjoy a bagel without worrying about any potential adverse effects, you should opt for a brand that offers gluten-free options.
Choose Healthy Toppings
When eating bagels, it’s important to remember that toppings are just as important as the bread itself.
While some people prefer to simply spread butter on top of their bagels, others go for cream cheese or jelly.
Regardless of what topping you choose, be sure to keep an eye out for ingredients that are high in sugar or sodium.
These types of toppings can contribute significantly to your overall calorie intake, so it’s important that you only consume healthy ones.
Some of the healthiest toppings for your bagel include:
Smoked salmon is a great choice to boost the healthiness of your bagel; it offers benefits such as protein, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and B vitamins.
It’s also low in saturated fats and contains no trans fats.
Adding cinnamon to your bagel is another simple way to boost its nutritional value.
Cinnamon has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, improve digestion, and increase metabolism.
Another popular topping option is peanut butter.
Peanuts are one of the most nutritious nuts around, and adding peanut butter to your bagel gives you a delicious snack that’s packed full of protein and fiber.
If you want to add a little healthy extra fat to your bagel, avocado is a great option.
Avocados contain monounsaturated fats, which can lower cholesterol levels and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
They’re also rich in potassium, magnesium, folate, and other essential minerals.
While it is important to enjoy a balanced, healthy diet, bagels are food that can be delicious and healthy in the right quantities.
By following the tips above, you can ensure that you get all the nutrition you need while enjoying this classic breakfast treat, and enjoy bagels the healthy way.