The craving for bread is unmistakable. Whether it’s fresh out of the oven or cold and crispy, people love bread. But when you’re following a low-carb diet like keto, this longtime staple is a no-no. But what about the so-called healthy Ezekiel bread? Can Ezekiel bread carbs be the answer on a keto diet?
Maybe, maybe not.
Bread is one of the most widely consumed foods in the world. Recent studies have shown that humans started baking bread at least 30,000 years ago. Prehistoric man was making simple flatbread with only two ingredients: water and grains.
Similar to rice, bread comes in a variety of different types. This level of abundance is part of why it’s one of the most commonly found foods in the world. Its history and versatility are what make it such a familiar and popular side dish to almost any meal.
But with today’s increasing concerns about eating too many carbs (and gluten), more people are staying away from bread. There’s one type of bread in particular that has gotten a reputation as being a healthy option for low-carb eaters. Yes, it’s Ezekiel bread.
But do Ezekiel bread carbs make the cut for a ketogenic diet? Read on to find out.
What Is Bread?
Before looking at Ezekiel bread carbs, it’s important to go back to the basics and rediscover what bread is.
When it comes to bread, you can guarantee it’s a grain, with few exceptions.
The macronutrients for bread can depend on what kind you’re eating. However, you can assume that one slice of bread contains anywhere from 15-25 grams of carbohydrates, 4-8 grams of fat, and usually no protein.
While bread may satisfy your taste buds, some people struggle with gluten sensitivity, which can be extremely uncomfortable. Bread is also one of the first foods to go when switching to a low-carb or ketogenic diet, no matter what type of bread it is.
Ezekiel Bread Carbs and Nutrition
While bread tends to get a bad rep, certain types of bread can provide substantial health benefits. One of these types of bread is Ezekiel bread.
What Is Ezekiel Bread?
Food For Life makes the most popular type of Ezekiel bread, called Ezekiel 4 bread. You’ll most often find it at grocery stores in the freezer section as it’s not shelf-stable.
It’s named after the Bible verse Ezekiel 4:9, which lists all of the ingredients needed to make bread.
What separates Ezekiel bread from other bread is how it’s prepared. Ezekiel bread still comes from grains, but sprouted grains.
The unsprouted grains found in the majority of other types of bread contain antinutrients. Antinutrients bind to minerals, creating resistance from the body to use them[*].
Sprouting grains makes the food more easily digestible, as well as increasing the availability of nutrients the body receives from these foods.
Ezekiel bread is made from:
There are 15 grams of carbs in each slice of original Ezekial bread[*]. The carb amount changes with different varieties, such as the cinnamon raisin version.
Ezekiel Bread Is Not Gluten-Free
It’s important to note that this bread contains wheat, barley, and spelt. All three of these have gluten. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, avoid Ezekiel bread.
Benefits of Sprouted Grain Breads
While there are definite drawbacks to eating any sort of bread, there are four main benefits of eating sprouted whole-grain bread like Ezekiel 4:9.
#1: A Good Source of Protein
Sprouted grain bread has a lot of protein that helps build muscle.
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are the foundation of all fundamental processes in the body. Not only are they essential for metabolic processes, but they’re also required for optimal transportation and storage of all nutrients[*].
Sprouted grain bread (Ezekiel bread in particular) contains 18 amino acids, including all nine of the essential amino acids — phenylalanine, valine, threonine, tryptophan, methionine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, and histidine[*] — that your body cannot produce on its own.
#2: Abundant in Vitamins and Minerals
The sprouting process breaks down any of the antinutrients present, so your body is capable of absorbing more vitamins and minerals from the grains. It does this by reducing the amount of phytic acid in the bread[*].
Since Ezekiel bread is a rich source of vitamin C, B, and E, it can help strengthen your immune system. These three vitamins become much more concentrated in sprouted grains.
#3: Improved Digestion
Sprouted grains are full of fiber, which helps you feel more satiated and improves your digestion[*]. The sprouting of the grains breaks down the exposed starches and turns them into simple sugars, which allows your body to more easily absorb and assimilate them[*].
#4: Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
Ezekiel bread is only a 36 on the glycemic index (GI). The GI goes from 0-100 and measures total carbs and how quickly they are absorbed into the body and affect blood sugar[*]. Foods with a lower number take longer to affect blood sugar.
Whole wheat bread has a GI rating of 50, and white bread has a rating of 71.
You can see why Ezekiel bread would be considered a good choice for anyone who needs to monitor their blood sugar.
The main thing that affects the GI rating is how much fiber is in the food. Ezekiel bread is a good source of dietary fiber. This high-fiber content reduces blood sugar spikes[*].
Can You Have Bread on a Low-Carb Diet?
Deciding whether you can have certain types of bread on a low-carb diet will depend on the kind of bread it is and how high your carb intake is for the day.
However, if you’ve been following the keto diet for a while and have switched to a cyclical keto diet (CKD), certain sprouted grain bread could be OK on your carb-loading days, depending on how well your stomach handles gluten in the first place.
A CKD is best suited for athletes who have a high-demanding training schedule and need glucose for their bodies to recover and function properly.
If you’re following CKD, then enjoy a slice of toasted Ezekiel bread with a piece of avocado. You’ll enjoy a complete protein and a healthy fat source.
Generally, it’s a good idea to avoid all types of bread — including tortillas — when you’re eating low-carb.
When Should You Avoid Bread on a Low-Carb or Keto Diet?
Unless you’re following the CKD, you should avoid bread altogether. Unlike other diets, the ketogenic diet completely shifts the function of your metabolism. This means that when you get kicked out of ketosis, your body will resort back to using that little bit of carbs as its energy source.
Avoid Ezekiel Bread Carbs on the Keto Diet
Certain breads can be an acceptable part of your diet only in special circumstances. You can have bread in moderation if you:
- Follow the cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD)
- You’ve had no carbs for the day, and you eat one slice of sprouted grain bread
It’s best to avoid bread altogether or try low-carb bread substitutes such as cloud bread or cauliflower bread so you can still enjoy certain meals without feeling deprived. To be clear — bread is not low-carb or keto-friendly.