What Are Low-Carb Breads?

Lainie Petersen

Low-carb breads are made with low-carbohydrate ingredients, making them compatible with reduced carbohydrate diets. There are several different types of low-carb breads, including standard loaf breads, quick breads, and flatbreads. Some companies also make specialty low-carb breads, such as dinner rolls, bagels, and sandwich buns. These breads typically include flours that are relatively low in carbohydrates and do not contain added sugars. Finding low-carb breads can be tricky, although some major grocery stores do carry them and many specialty bakeries will ship frozen low-carb breads directly to customers.

Diabetics can find loaf breads with less added sugar and low carbohydrates.
Diabetics can find loaf breads with less added sugar and low carbohydrates.

Individuals who must restrict their carbohydrate intake either because of a desire to lose weight or because they must control their blood sugar often find that they miss eating bread. Bread is a staple in many world cuisines and is often used in various types of easy-to-eat and convenience foods, such as sandwiches and wraps. As most bread is made from high-carbohydrate grains such as wheat and corn, those who must control their carbohydrate intake must usually eliminate or greatly reduce breads from their diets. This typically relegates dieters to eating most meals with a knife and fork or using lettuce leaves to wrap sandwich fillings or burgers for easy eating. The frustration of these dieters has led cooks and businesses to produce low-carb breads that are compatible with controlled-carbohydrate diets.

Chestnut flour is a low-carb flour which consists of finely ground chestnuts that can be used as a wheat-flour substitute in bread.
Chestnut flour is a low-carb flour which consists of finely ground chestnuts that can be used as a wheat-flour substitute in bread.

The recipes used to make these breads are varied, but many rely on a combination of different types of flours, many of which are very high in fiber, as well as binders that can help high-fiber breads maintain their consistency. While fiber is a carbohydrate, it does not generally affect blood sugar, which allows dieters to subtract the fiber grams from the bread's total carbohydrate count. Some bakers rely on wholegrain flours combined with soy, coconut, or nut flours to produce a tasty bread. For an even lower carbohydrate count, some bakers leave out the standard flours entirely and bake quickbreads from coconut or almond flour. While these breads can be delicious, they are often somewhat crumbly and may not stand up well when used in sandwiches.

Low-carb flour tortillas can be used to make BLT wrap sandwiches with bacon, lettuce, and tomato.
Low-carb flour tortillas can be used to make BLT wrap sandwiches with bacon, lettuce, and tomato.

There has been some controversy in the low-carbohydrate dieting community about the quality of these breads and their appropriate use in low-carbohydrate diets. It is important for consumers of low-carb breads to monitor nutrition labels as well as their own reactions to any prepared foods. Some people may find that they are very sensitive even to low-carb breads and cannot continue to use them while losing weight or maintaining their blood sugar levels.

Although fiber is a carbohydrate, it usually has no effect on blood sugar levels.
Although fiber is a carbohydrate, it usually has no effect on blood sugar levels.

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