The 7 best and 7 worst breads for your health

Bread has a bad reputation for being unhealthy, and it is not easy to cut out of your diet. Whether you need it for a quick breakfast or to build an awesome sandwich at lunch time, this carb is all around us.

While some breads are best to avoid, you don't need to cut bread out of your diet entirely. We gathered a list of the best and worst breads, based on calorie information provided by the USDA, to help you make better bread decisions.

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Best and worst breads for your health

Read on to see which breads are the best and worst for you.

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The Best

Based on their low calorie count, these are the best seven breads for you.

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Corn Tortilla

Corn tortillas are a great alternative to a heavy bread. With only 52 calories they are ideal for breakfast wraps or an on-the-go lunch.

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Pumpernickel Bread

If you love to build a sandwich with this brown bread you are right on target! Pumpernickel only has 65 calories in every slice, so no need to cut it out of your diet!

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Multi-Grain Bread

Next on our list of healthy breads is multi-grain, packed with tons of nutritious grains with only 65 calories a slice. Serve this for breakfast with a great egg dish and you are in business.

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Whole Wheat Bread

Right next to multi-grain bread, is whole wheat bread with 79 calories. An added bonus is that this bread is a great source of magnesium because of its whole grains! Magnesium helps to control the use of glucose and insulin in your body.

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White Bread

While white bread is highly lacking in terms of nutrition, with as low as 79 calories, it's not going to ruin your diet if you indulge every now and then. Check out this awesome sandwich idea for tomorrow's lunch!

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Rye Bread

Rye bread is rich in fiber which is amazing for a well-balanced diet. It also only has 83 calories, so what's not to love about this tasty bread?

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Flour Tortilla

Similar to corn tortillas, these ones, made of flour, are relatively low in calories with 85 for a regular size tortilla. It is a great way to make a delicious lunch that won't leave you feeling super bloated or over-stuffed.

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The Worst

After checking out the best breads for your health, let's take a look at the worst! You might want to beware of these high calorie carbs.

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Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread

Even though everyone is following the gluten-free trend, sometimes the alternatives are not the best! Most gluten-free breads have around 130 calories. It may be better to just stick with the real thing if you can.

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English Muffin

As tasty as they are, english muffins pack in a few calories as well. This type of bread might not be the best for your diet with 134 calories per muffin.

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Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Moving even further up the calorie ladder is cinnamon raisin bread with 160 calories per slice. Plus, it can be packed with unwanted, added sugars which are not beneficial for your waistline.

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Pita Bread

Although seemingly light and healthy, pita bread has about 165 calories and over 320 grams of sodium. This may not be the ideal bread to choose for your next sandwich.

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Hard Roll/Kaiser Roll

Everyone loves a great deli sandwich, but with 167 calories per roll, a kaiser roll is not the healthiest bread option.

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Biscuits

Even though these are a great southern classic, they might not be worth the 212 calories. And that is just for a regular size one. If you opt for the larger biscuit (like most restaurants serve) you will end up devouring over 300 calories just from your choice of bread!

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Bagels

With even more calories than a biscuit, bagels are a real diet ruiner. Most bagels contain 310 calories and lack many nutrients and vitamins that you could get from whole grains. Think of it this way: a bagel is equivalent to three or four pieces of bread.

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From slices with 65 calories to rolls with more than 200 calories, not all bread is created equal. Scroll through above to see what you should avoid.

RELATED: Cheeses to avoid

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The Worst Cheeses For Your Health
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The Worst Cheeses For Your Health

When eaten in moderation, cheese can be a part of a healthy diet. Many brands are rolling out low-fat and low-sodium versions, but are these alternatives better than the originals? Read on to discover the best and worst types of cheeses for your health.

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Low-fat cheese

Cheese is a major source of saturated fat, but some types of cheese are naturally low in fat like Parmesan, grated Romano and part-skim mozzarella. Consumers can also buy low-fat or fat-free varieties of cheese made from reduced-fat or skim milk. Low-fat options of cottage, ricotta, Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan, Colby, Meunster, provolone, Mexican blend or American exist on the market.

How do the experts weigh in on these low-fat alternatives?

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Fat equals flavor

Lower fat versions have a reputation for tasting milder, feeling rubbery in texture and cooking differently than their full-fat counterparts, and one cheese expert has likened the taste of low-fat cheese to that of “an eraser”. In addition, many brands replace fat with fillers to restore cheese’s creamy texture.

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Should I buy Full-fat or Low-fat?

You may need to shop around and experiment to find a great tasting, low-fat cheese that fits your needs. Otherwise, stick to your full-fat favorites, but consume them in moderation or use them to accent dishes.

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Avoid High-Fat Cheese

Try to consume high-fat cheese sparingly. Cheeses to watch out for include goat cheese, feta cheese and blue cheese. One ounce of semi-soft goat cheese has 6 grams of saturated fat, which makes up approximately 29% of the daily value.

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Low-Sodium Cheese

Salt helps transform liquid milk into cheese and determines the cheese’s taste, texture, food safety and shelf life. Since it is integral to the cheese-making process, cheese must contain some salt.

When you’re shopping for low-sodium cheese, one helpful tip is to choose softer, less-aged cheese, which tends to have less salt.

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Try These Low-Sodium Cheeses

Varieties like Swiss, Monterey Jack, ricotta, and Port de Salut are naturally low in sodium. There are also lower sodium varieties of Colby-Jack, provolone, Muenster, mozzarella and Cheddar on the market.

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Avoid these High-Sodium Cheeses

In general, processed cheese like American, blue cheese, Roquefort cheese, parmesan cheese, feta cheese and cottage cheese contain high amounts of sodium. One ounce of Roquefort cheese contains about 507 mg of sodium, which is more than one-third of the recommended average daily sodium intake level. One ounce of grated parmesan cheese contains 428 mg of sodium.

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Low-Lactose Cheese

According to the National Dairy Council, natural cheeses like Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss are great sources of calcium for individuals with lactose intolerance because most of the lactose is removed during the cheese-making process when the curds are separated from the whey.

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Low-Lactose Cheese

In general, more mature, hard cheese has lower lactose content. This is because natural bacteria Lactobacillus turn lactose into easily digestible lactic acid during the aging process.

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Cheese is High in Calcium

While cheese may be high in saturated fat and sodium, it is also an excellent source of essential nutrients like calcium. In fact, cheese is the second highest source of dietary calcium in the American diet.

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High Calcium Cheese

If you’re looking to add more calcium in your diet, the National Dairy Council recommends Swiss, Cheddar, ricotta, mozzarella, Monterey Jack, Gouda, queso blanco, Mexican blend and Colby. Half a cup of part-skim ricotta cheese provides 337 mg of calcium, which is about one-third of the daily-recommended calcium intake for adults ages 19 to 50!

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Is American cheese bad for you?

Many people turn their noses up at American cheese for being "unhealthy" and "not real cheese". American cheese is technically referred to as a "cheese product" because it contains additives like whey, emulsifiers and preservatives. As far as nutrition, one ounce of processed American cheese has 110 calories (80 of them from fat), 6 grams of saturated fat and 180 mg of sodium and provides 30% of the recommended daily amount of calcium and 10% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. American cheese may not be the healthiest choice, but, like other cheese, it can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in small quantities.

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Is Cheese Linked to Cancer?

In a new study, scientists from the Kaiser Permanente research center in California looked at questionnaires filled out by women with breast cancer. The questionnaires covered diet and the most commonly consumed dairy products included cheese, ice cream, yogurt, lattes and hot chocolate. According to the Daily Mail, those women who ate even one portion of one of these popular dairy products a day were 50 percent more likely to die from breast cancer within 12 years.

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Do Americans Eat Too Much Cheese?

According to SFGate, the average person in the U.S. eats 30 pounds of cheese each year, three times more than the average person ate 40 years ago. They report, "a variety of health problems are also on the rise, and studies have linked multiple diseases with the consumption of cheese." Heart attacks, caused by the fatty nature of cheese, are one of these frightening health risks.

What Cheese Attracts Mosquitos?

According to the American Mosquito Control Foundation, Limburger cheese has been found to attract mosquitos, so always avoid consuming this cheese before a camp out or hike.

Can Cheese Protect Teeth?

A study in the journal General Dentistry reports that consuming cheese and other dairy products may prevent dental cavities. Eating cheese raised the mouth's pH levels, which lowers the chance of developing cavities. Cheese also sticks to tooth enamel for further protection from acid.

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