The 18 Unhealthiest Store-Bought Sliced Breads You Can Buy

Convenience often trumps healthiness. This is even evident in the bread aisle of the supermarket. Sliced bread has long been a staple in households across the globe, providing a convenient and versatile option for meals morning, noon, and night. While the focus of dieting and health is usually on counting calories and monitoring carbohydrate and fat content, it's essential to delve deeper into the composition of these loaves, to truly understand their impact on our health.

The true nutritional value of bread lies in the presence of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Unfortunately, the 18 sliced breads discussed in this article fall short in various ways, because they contain less nutrients, as well as undesirable ingredients.

One prominent offender is excessive sodium content. While salt is an essential mineral, high sodium levels can lead to detrimental health effects. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these include increased blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

From refined flours to artificial preservatives, we dove into the reasons why these breads are unhealthy. Whether you are a health-conscious individual seeking to optimize your diet, or a concerned consumer aiming to provide your family with better options, this article will give you the knowledge to navigate the bread aisle with confidence and choose the most nutritious options available.

1. Wonder Bread Classic White

Wonder Bread, a widely recognized brand, is a popular choice for many households. But when it comes to nutritional value, the Wonder Bread Classic White falls short. Each two-slice serving contains 140 calories, 180 milligrams of sodium, and 5 grams of sugar. While these numbers may seem relatively moderate, it's important to consider the hidden drawbacks of this bread. Wonder Bread's ingredient list includes numerous ingredients that are difficult to pronounce, due to the presence of various additives and preservatives.

Additionally, the company's claim of providing the equivalent calcium content of one 8-ounce glass of milk per two slices may not be as beneficial as it initially seems. The high sodium content and presence of additives detract from the bread's overall nutrient density.

2. Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White

Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White bread, while marketed as a wholesome choice, still falls short in terms of nutrition. With 130 calories per one-slice serving, this bread may seem to contain a moderately low amount of calories. However, a closer look at this product reveals its drawbacks. Each serving contains 230 milligrams of sodium. This can be bad, because too much sodium can contribute to health issues like high blood pressure, according to the CDC.

Furthermore, one slice contains 4 grams of sugar, all of which comes from added sugars. The ingredient list also reveals the presence of processed ingredients, which can diminish the overall nutritional value of the bread. Despite its branding as a farmhouse-style bread, Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Hearty White still leaves room for improvement in terms of its healthiness.

3. Sunbeam Texas Toast

Sunbeam Texas Toast is a sliced bread option that appears to be relatively low in calorie content, with 100 calories per serving. However, its nutritional profile still raises concerns. The bread contains a moderately high amount of sodium, at 180 milligrams. Ingesting such high amounts of sodium can have a potentially negative impact on heart health, according to the CDC. On the other hand, this bread's sugar content is relatively low, with only 2 grams of sugar per serving.

However, like many other store-bought sliced breads, Sunbeam Texas Toast also contains processed ingredients. These can cause health side effects, especially in children, according to Harvard Medical School. These ingredients can compromise the overall nutritional value of the bread, as they often are used as the cheaper alternative to whole foods, which may contain more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Although Sunbeam Texas Toast may offer convenience and a unique product, it's not exactly healthy.

4. Sara Lee Italian

Sara Lee Italian Bread is a sliced bread option that appears to be low in calorie content, but in terms of sodium, it contains 240 milligrams. While relatively moderate, sodium intake should be monitored, as high percentages can lead to adverse health effects.

Overall, Sara Lee Italian Bread seems to have a relatively favorable nutritional profile compared to some other options, but it's essential to consider the composition of the bread. The ingredient list contains preservatives which lessen its nutritional value, in our eyes.

While this bread may be a convenient choice for many, we encourage shoppers to balance their bread selection by prioritizing whole, unprocessed options to ensure a more comprehensive array of essential nutrients in their diet.

5. Freihofer's Premium Italian

Freihofer's Premium Italian Bread is a long-time favorite when it comes to sliced bread. However, it also contains a significant amount of sodium, with 230 milligrams per slice.

While Freihofer's boasts no artificial colors, flavorings, or high fructose corn syrup, it still contains a lot of salt. At over 400 milligrams of sodium per sandwich — even without the good stuff inside — this gives us pause. The bread itself also has preservatives. When ingested in high doses, this makes this sliced bread even less healthy. The next time you head to the bread aisle, we would recommend skipping Freihofer's Italian Bread.

6. Country Kitchen Hearty Canadian White

Country Kitchen Hearty Canadian White Bread presents itself as a relatively moderate sliced bread option in terms of calories. It comes with 110 calories per one-slice serving. The bread also contains a lower amount of sodium, with 150 milligrams in each slice. While these numbers may seem appealing, it's important to take into account the overall nutritional composition of the bread.

For example, check out the ingredient list. This list is long and full of words that don't feel like they should be in a bread recipe. While this is common in most sliced bread to help keep its shelf life, there are a bit too many of these ingredients for our liking. Although Country Kitchen Hearty Canadian White Bread may offer convenience and a satisfying taste, we consider it to be unhealthy.

7. Sara Lee Delightful 100% Honey Whole Wheat

Sara Lee Delightful 100% Honey Whole Wheat sliced bread offers a healthier alternative to traditional options since it's made with whole grains. The bread also prides itself on not using artificial colors, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup. With just 90 calories per two-slice serving. It also contains 210 milligrams of sodium and a modest 2 grams of sugar. Compared to other options out there, this isn't so bad.

While the inclusion of whole wheat ensures a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals — along with the use of honey to provide natural sweetness — this bread is also made with added sweeteners, such as Stevia leaf. This ingredient can cause bloating and nausea, according to WebMD. Overall, this sliced bread offers consumers a more nutritious choice, but that choice still contains processed ingredients and artificial sweeteners.

8. Pepperidge Farm Sweet Hawaiian

Pepperidge Farm's Sweet Hawaiian Bread, known for its soft texture and sweet flavor, falls into the category of sliced breads that are higher in sugar content. While most sliced bread contains anywhere from 1 gram to 3 grams of sugar per slice, this delectable bread has 6 grams per slice — 5 of which are added sugars. This sweet Hawaiian bread also has a high sodium content of 210 milligrams per slice, which can cause health problems down the road if not eaten in moderation. It also includes enriched wheat flour, additives, and preservatives. 

However, what saves this bread from a true lack of nutrition is the fact it contains no high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, or flavorings. For special occasions, this bread is a real treat, but it's one option that truly doesn't hold nutritious value, especially if consumed regularly.

9. J.J. Nissen Canadian White

J.J. Nissen's Canadian White Bread, despite its popularity, falls short in terms of its nutritional value. Each serving of this bread contains 110 calories, and it packs 200 milligrams of sodium in just one slice, contributing to the high sodium intake commonly associated with processed foods.

Moreover, sliced bread, including J.J. Nissen's, often lacks the beneficial nutrients found in whole grains. This bread is no exception, as it is made from enriched flour (flour that has most of its nutrients first extracted) and preservatives. While convenient and tasty, it's important to be mindful of the potential health drawbacks of relying heavily on sliced bread — especially sliced white bread.

10. Arnold Whole Grains Double Protein

Arnold's Whole Grains Double Protein bread offers a healthier option for individuals looking to incorporate more nutrients into their diet, with 38 grams of whole grains, 6 grams of fiber, and 14 grams of protein in every two slices of bread. Unfortunately, the bread still contains 150 milligrams of sodium per slice. 

There are healthier ways of getting your daily protein and fiber intake than this sliced bread. Arnold's doesn't have high fructose corn syrup, but it does contain preservatives that keep the bread fresh on the shelves. In moderation, it's not a problem, but consistent consumption could lead to health issues. 

11. Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Oatmeal

Pepperidge Farm's Farmhouse Oatmeal bread contains oats. This is a positive aspect in our eyes, due to the fiber content contained in this food. However, other nutritional aspects of this sliced bread raise concerns. Each slice of this bread contains 210 milligrams of sodium. Too much sodium can contribute to increased blood pressure levels. Additionally, each slice contains 4 grams of sugar. Of course, sugar should always be consumed in moderation, as it can lead to issues like weight gain, according to the CDC.

The inclusion of enriched wheat flour also raises questions about the overall healthiness of this sliced bread. Enriched flour is often processed so that many of the nutrients contained in whole grain flour are lost, according to Intermountain Healthcare. Unfortunately, this product is also made with preservatives.

12. Panera's Everything Sliced

Panera's Everything Sliced Bread may look appealing — thanks to its "everything" seasoning blend — but its nutrition facts are concerning. With 180 milligrams of sodium in one slice and a host of unnatural ingredients, this bread falls short in terms of healthiness. 

While it does include nutritious components — like sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onions, dried garlic, and other seasonings – it lacks the extensive nutritional benefits found in whole-grain alternatives. It may advertise the presence of grains, but it's actually made with enriched wheat flour. A diet high in sodium can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease, making this bread a less-than-ideal choice for individuals seeking a nutritious and health-conscious option.

13. Sun-Maid Raisin Cinnamon Swirl

Sun-Maid's Raisin Cinnamon Swirl sliced bread may satisfy those with a sweet tooth, but its nutrition facts give us pause, health-wise. With a high sugar content of 8 grams per slice, this loaf of bread stands out as an extremely sweet choice. Excessive sugar intake can contribute to various health issues, like weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes.

While it does contain raisins and cinnamon — which provide some nutritional value — the ingredient list also includes an assortment of unnatural additives. For individuals looking for a healthier option, choosing bread with lower sugar content and fewer unnatural ingredients may be more beneficial for overall nutrition and well-being.

14. Glutino Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread

Glutino's Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread is a viable option for those adhering to a gluten-free diet. With 170 milligrams of sodium in one slice, it doesn't contain that much sodium, in our opinion.

However, the removal of gluten necessitates the addition of alternative ingredients that may not provide the best nutritional value for overall health and wellness. While this bread may offer variety with its multigrain composition, it's important to note that gluten-free alternatives often rely on processed starches, which can lack essential nutrients. Individuals seeking a healthier option may benefit from exploring other types of gluten-free sliced bread.

15. Martin's Potato Bread

Martin's Potato Bread may present itself as an innovative alternative, with its use of potatoes. However, it's important to note that the potato component of this bread comes from reconstituted potatoes, which may not offer the same nutritional benefits as real potatoes. 

The sodium content is lower than that of many sliced breads, at 105 milligrams. However, there are unfortunately 3 grams of sugar per serving, along with an assortment of unnatural additives. This combination raises concerns, for us, about the overall nutrition and health value of the bread. We would consider it to be relatively unhealthy.

16. Bimbo Large White Bread

Bimbo's Large White Bread raises concerns about its overall nutrition and healthiness. With 150 calories, 250 milligrams of sodium, and 3 grams of sugar, this bread offers little in terms of nutritional value. Although it does not contain high fructose corn syrup and has added calcium, the presence of enriched flour and a range of other additives concern us. 

Enriched breads lack the fiber and nutrients found in whole grain breads, making it a less nutritious choice. Individuals looking for a healthier option may benefit from choosing bread made with whole grains, minimal additives, and lower sodium and sugar content to improve their overall nutrition and well-being.

17. Udi's Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin

Udi's Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread — while catering to those with gluten restrictions — is a sliced bread product we consider unhealthy. Each serving packs 140 calories, 220 milligrams of sodium, and 7 grams of sugar, making it a less healthy option.

Although the ingredient list leans towards more natural ingredients — as it's made with raisins, brown rice flour, and cane sugar — there are still several additives that may not offer superior nutrition, compared to other gluten-free alternatives. Individuals seeking a healthier option may benefit from exploring gluten-free bread with fewer calories, salt, and sugar.

18. Home Pride Butter Top Wheat

Home Pride's Butter Top Wheat sliced bread may seem like a low-calorie and low-sodium choice, with 70 calories and 140 milligrams of sodium per serving. However, this is the nutritional content of only one slice of bread. Additionally, the ingredient list for this product isn't great. Enriched wheat flour, high fructose corn syrup, artificial additives, and preservatives are all present in the list. 

Individuals seeking to buy a healthy sliced bread product should skip this one. Instead, look for something made with whole grains and natural ingredients, and without artificial additives and excessive sugar content.