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Bread vs. Bagels: Is Bread Healthier than Bagels?

Bread vs. Bagels: Is Bread Healthier than Bagels?

Posted on: Bread, Healthy Eating

By Dr. Jorge, Ph.D.

Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen subscription box for sourdough breads, fresh pastas, and artisanal pastries. 


Bagels lathered with various toppings are the favorite breakfast and snack options of many, but do you know what makes bagels different from other breads? This article will dive into what makes up a bagel, how it differentiates from other types of bread, and whether it’s healthier than sliced bread.

How is a bagel different from bread? 

The main difference between typical bread loaves and bagels is the baking method. Most bread types are baked in an oven after the dough has risen, whereas bagels are boiled before being baked in an oven. Compared to other bread types, bagels typically have a chewier inner texture with a crunchy outer layer. Another difference between bagels and bread is that most types of bread are formed into the shape of a loaf, while bagels have a signature ring shape.

Are bagels just bread? Are bagels just boiled bread?

Though bagels are similar to bread in many ways, bagels are not just bread. Bagels are more similar to a roll than to bread. One of the main differences between bagels and bread is that bagels are boiled before baking, whereas bread is not boiled. Briefly boiling bagels allow the bagels to gelatinize the starches on the bagel’s outer surface, revealing the crunchy exterior we are all familiar with. Other differences between bagels and bread include the shape and some ingredients. So no, bagels are not just boiled bread!

What is the difference between bagel vs. bread ingredients?

Bread and bagels are mostly made up of the same ingredients. Both bagels and bread contain yeast, flour, water, and sugar. However, many bagel recipes use barley malt syrup, a grain-based sweetener, instead of granulated sugar. Bagels also generally contain less water and more flour compared to other bread types, which is why bagels are denser than typical slices of bread.

How many slices of bread equal one bagel? What is the nutrition difference between bagels and a slice of bread?

Based on carbohydrates and calories, approximately three slices of bread are equivalent to one medium-sized bagel. Of course, the nutrition specifics of both bread and bagels depend on the type of bread or bagel, as well as the size. On average, a medium-sized bagel contains 190 calories, 9 grams of protein, 55 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of fat. In contrast, a slice of white bread contains 67 calories, 2 grams of protein, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 1.5 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of fat. 

Is bread healthier than bagels? Is a bagel better for you than bread?

Bread is not necessarily healthier than bagels, and bagels are not necessarily healthier than bread. The health benefits of bread and bagels depend on the varieties of each that you are considering, and the type of flour used to make the bagel and the bread. This also determines whether a bagel or a slice of bread is best for you. The healthiest types of both bread and bagel are ones made with whole grains, as well as options with limited added sweeteners, sugar, or artificial ingredients. For both bread and bagels, whole wheat, rye, and sourdough bread varieties are the healthiest choice compared to regular white flour alternatives.  

Which is better for weight loss: bread or bagels?

Both bagels and bread can work for your weight loss goals. Whether choosing a bread or bagel, whole grain flours and smaller portion sizes are best for weight loss. Whole grains contain more fiber, which can keep you full for longer. A smaller portion size means fewer calories which can help you remain in a calorie deficit, a crucial aspect of maintaining weight loss goals.

Where can I buy the best fresh bread and bagels online?

At Wildgrain, we specialize in making high-quality, fresh baked goods that are delivered directly to your door. Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen delivery subscription service for breads, pastries, and fresh pastas. Some of our popular breads and bagels include wood-fired plain bagels, wood-fired cinnamon raisin bagels, sourdough whole wheat loaf, and everything sourdough bread. Learn more about Wildgrain and our artisanal baking and cooking methods.


About the Author

Dr. Jorge has been a public health researcher for many years, holding both a Bachelor's degree and a Ph.D. in Chemistry. They presently work as a medical writer and love being able to assist others in understanding various health and scientific topics.


This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.