Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Nature's Own Bread Bad For You?



Short answer

Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread can be a healthy option as it's made with whole wheat flour, a good source of fiber and nutrients. However, the added ingredients such as soybean oil, salt, monoglycerides, calcium propionate, soy lecithin, and added vitamins and minerals may not suit everyone's dietary needs or preferences, particularly those with specific health conditions or sensitivities. The healthiness depends on individual requirements and the balance of one's overall diet.



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Long answer

Analyzing the Ingredients in Nature's Own Bread

When we take a closer look at Nature's Own Bread, understanding the composition of the ingredients within is key to evaluating its healthfulness. The company offers a variety of bread products, so for the purpose of our analysis, let's zero in on one of their popular choices—Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread. It’s essential to remember that ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, which means that the first few ingredients comprise the majority of the bread.

The primary components of Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread include:

  • Whole wheat flour: As the first ingredient, it’s a positive sign that this bread is made mostly from whole grains, which are a good source of fiber and other nutrients.
  • Water: Often the second ingredient in bread, necessary for the dough to form.
  • Honey: Adds a touch of sweetness naturally, but also contributes a minor amount of sugars to the nutritional profile.
  • Wheat gluten: Gluten provides elasticity and strength to bread dough, helping it rise and maintain its shape.

But alongside these primary components, there are other additives which require consideration:

  • Soybean oil: It serves as a fat source in the bread, which can contribute to a softer texture. However, soybean oil may be a concern for those avoiding processed oils high in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  • Salt: Necessary for flavor and yeast fermentation. The sodium content should be watched, particularly for individuals with hypertension.
  • Monoglycerides: These serve as emulsifiers to provide texture and extend shelf life. Although generally recognized as safe, there is some debate around the health implications of synthetic emulsifiers.
  • Calcium propionate: A mold inhibitor to preserve freshness, but there are concerns about added preservatives and their effects on the gut microbiome.
  • Soy lecithin: Used as an emulsifier, soy lecithin is generally considered safe, but could be an issue for those with soy allergies or sensitivities.

The bread also includes vitamins and minerals typically used in flour fortification, such as reduced iron and vitamin D. While fortification can help in meeting certain nutritional requirements, it is essential that individuals also get these nutrients from natural food sources.

Current dietary guidelines recommend choosing whole grain foods to make up at least half of one's daily grain consumption. Given that whole wheat flour is a primary ingredient in Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread, this product can be part of that whole grain intake. However, it’s important for consumers to be mindful of the added ingredients that might not align with specific dietary needs or preferences.

It's also worth noting that individual susceptibilities and medical conditions vary widely. For example, for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the presence of wheat gluten would make this product unsuitable. Similarly, the added sugars from honey, though minimal, and soybean oil might be of concern to those on specific diets or with particular health conditions.

Research on the health implications of various ingredients is always evolving. For instance, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry suggested a potential link between certain emulsifiers and an increased risk of metabolic syndrome in mice, but whether this would apply to humans, especially at the levels consumed through bread, remains to be conclusively determined.

The ingredients in Nature's Own Bread, like many bread products, are a mix of naturally derived ingredients and added components meant to enhance texture, flavor, and shelf life. Whether these added ingredients are bad for you depends on your individual health needs, dietary restrictions, and the balance of the rest of your diet.

Exploring Whole Grains vs. Refined Grains in Nature's Own

When considering the health implications of Nature's Own bread products, it's essential to distinguish between whole grain and refined grain options. The brand offers both varieties, and understanding the difference can be crucial to making an informed decision about your diet.

Whole Grains in Nature's Own Bread:

  • Nutrient-rich: Whole grain breads retain all parts of the grain kernel – bran, germ, and endosperm, which contain fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals like iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium.
  • Health benefits: Numerous studies link whole grain consumption to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. For example, a comprehensive review in the BMJ found that higher consumption of whole grains can lead to a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality from all causes.
  • Digestion and satiety: The fiber content in whole grains aids digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness, which can aid in weight management by reducing overall calorie intake.

Refined Grains in Nature's Own Bread:

  • Lack of fiber and nutrients: The refining process removes the bran and germ, stripping the grains of vital nutrients and dietary fiber.
  • Health implications: Regular consumption of refined grains has been associated with various health issues, such as obesity and inflammation. An article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that refined grain intake is correlated with a higher risk of obesity and metabolic syndrome.
  • Glycemic index: Refined grains have a higher glycemic index, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, which can be particularly concerning for individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance.

Given these differences, opting for Nature's Own whole grain breads over their refined grain counterparts can contribute significantly to a healthier dietary pattern. It's important to check the label when purchasing bread – look for the term "whole" as the first ingredient, such as "whole wheat flour," to ensure you're getting the benefits of whole grains.

While whole grain breads from Nature's Own may be a healthier option overall, individual dietary needs and health goals should always be considered. Consulting with a healthcare provider or nutritionist can provide personalized advice.

Added Sugars and Sodium Content in Nature's Own Bread

When assessing whether Nature's Own Bread is bad for you, it's crucial to consider the added sugars and sodium content, two components that can have significant implications for health when consumed in excess.

Understanding Added Sugars in Bread

Added sugars are sweeteners incorporated into foods during processing. They differ from the naturally occurring sugars found in whole fruits and dairy products. According to the American Heart Association, the maximum daily intake for added sugars should be no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men.

While bread isn't typically known for being high in added sugars, some products, including certain varieties of Nature's Own Bread, may contain more than you might expect. Consuming bread as a staple food could contribute to an intake of added sugars that surpasses the recommended limits, potentially leading to health issues such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Examining Sodium in Bread

Sodium is a mineral essential for bodily functions but often consumed in excessive amounts, mainly due to its prevalence in processed foods. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest an upper limit of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, the average American often exceeds this, sometimes consuming more than 3,400 milligrams daily.

Bread, including many Nature's Own varieties, is a significant source of dietary sodium. It's not just about the salty taste—sodium in bread acts as a preservative and a flavor enhancer. The sodium levels in bread can vary, so it is imperative to read labels and opt for lower-sodium varieties where possible, especially for individuals who are sodium-sensitive, hypertensive, or at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Nature's Own Bread Varieties: A Comparison

Variety Added Sugars (per serving) Sodium (per serving)
100% Whole Wheat 0g 125mg
Honey Wheat 2g 110mg
Butterbread 1g 150mg
White Wheat 2g 130mg

Note that the butterbread variety, while modest in its added sugar content, has a higher sodium level that can quickly accumulate over multiple servings. Conversely, the 100% whole wheat variety may appeal to health-conscious consumers with its lack of added sugars and relatively low sodium count. It's essential to analyze the nutritional information to make an informed choice tailored to individual health goals and dietary restrictions.

Expert Opinions on Bread Consumption

Nutrition experts generally advise monitoring the intake of added sugars and sodium, not just in bread but across all consumed foods. They recommend opting for bread with the least amount of added sugars and sodium to mitigate the associated health risks. When in doubt, consulting with a dietitian can help tailor dietary choices to one's personal health needs.

For those especially concerned about added sugars and sodium, making bread at home might be an alternative, giving full control over the ingredients used. However, for convenience and the benefits of fortified bread varieties, like those containing added vitamins and minerals, selecting store-bought bread with the lowest amounts of these components remains a viable option.

Preservatives and Additives: Necessary or Harmful?

When analyzing the impact of bread on our health, a critical evaluation of preservatives and additives is essential. These substances are often included in commercially produced breads to extend shelf life, maintain freshness, and improve texture. However, there's a growing concern among health-conscious consumers regarding their potential health effects.

A common preservative found in some variations of Nature's Own Bread is calcium propionate. Research, including a study from Food Additives & Contaminants (2002), suggests that excessive consumption of calcium propionate might lead to irritability, restlessness, inattention and sleep disturbance in some children. Nevertheless, the FDA considers calcium propionate as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) when used in amounts necessary to preserve food.

For those sensitive to preservatives, it's worth noting that Nature's Own also offers a line of preservative-free bread. It caters to a growing demographic eager to minimize additive intake. The importance of reading labels cannot be overstated; consumers looking to avoid certain additives should diligently check ingredient lists.

Another additive, monoglycerides, are often added as emulsifiers. While monoglycerides themselves are considered safe, concerns arise about the presence of trans fats formed during their processing. The American Heart Association highlights the risk of consuming trans fats, associating them with increased heart disease risk.

Furthermore, some Nature's Own Bread products contain soy lecithin, an additive used to maintain the consistency of the bread. Soy lecithin may have potential health benefits, including cholesterol-lowering effects according to a study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (2008), but may also pose allergen concerns for those with soy allergies.

Dough conditioners, such as azodicarbonamide (banned in Europe but allowed in the US), are occasionally found in bread products. These improve the bread's volume and texture. Their health implications are ambiguous, with some suggesting a possible link to respiratory issues and allergies when inhaled in its raw powder form as per a report from the Environmental Health Perspectives (1999).

Given these varying factors, consumers' best approach is to be informed and opt for bread varieties that align with their health goals and dietary needs. It is also advisable to consult a healthcare provider or a nutritionist if there are specific health concerns related to preservatives and additives.

How Nature's Own Bread Fits into a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet consists of a variety of foods that provide the macronutrients and micronutrients necessary for optimal health. This not only includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats but also whole grains and fiber-rich products such as bread. When considering where Nature's Own Bread fits into a balanced diet, it's important to evaluate its nutritional content, ingredient quality, and how it complements other dietary components.

Nature's Own Bread offers several options, including whole wheat and white bread varieties. Whole grain breads, as recommended by dietary guidelines, can be a beneficial part of a balanced diet due to their content of fiber and nutrients. For example, one slice of Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread typically contains:

  • Calories: Around 60-70 kcal
  • Protein: 3-4 grams
  • Fiber: 2-3 grams
  • Fats: Less than 1 gram
  • Sugars: 1-2 grams

Consuming whole grain bread from Nature's Own can contribute to the daily recommended intake of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential for digestive health, aiding in bowel regularity and may help in maintaining a healthy weight. It is advised that adult women consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day, and men 38 grams, as per the American Heart Association recommendations.

When aligning Nature's Own Bread with a balanced diet, it's crucial to consider portion sizes and the food's pairing. For instance, pairing a slice of Nature's Own Whole Wheat Bread with a healthy fat source like avocado or natural peanut butter can provide a sustaining mix of carbohydrates, protein, and fats for a satisfying meal or snack.

Nature's Own Breads also usually do not contain artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, which is a positive aspect when looking to minimize the intake of unnecessary additives. The absence of these artificial additives aligns with a whole-food-focused balanced diet, which emphasizes minimally processed ingredients.

For those with specific health concerns such as diabetes, the glycemic index (GI) of bread can be an important factor. Whole grain options from Nature's Own are likely to have a lower GI compared to their white bread, which means they have less of an impact on blood sugar levels. This is beneficial for maintaining steady energy levels and for overall metabolic health.

However, it's essential to read labels closely. Some Nature's Own products may contain added sugars or other ingredients that might not fit into every balanced diet, especially those tailored for individuals with allergies or sensitivities.

Consumers seeking to incorporate Nature's Own Bread into a balanced diet should aim to select their whole grain varieties while being mindful of their unique dietary needs. It's always recommended to consult with a healthcare provider or a nutritionist to ensure that any brand of bread, including Nature's Own, is suitable for one's individual health goals and dietary restrictions.

Frequently asked questions

Nature's Own does offer some bread varieties without soy-containing ingredients; however, individuals with soy allergies should always read product labels carefully to avoid soy lecithin and other soy derivatives commonly found in commercial breads.

Yes, Nature's Own Bread, particularly the whole grain varieties, can be included in a weight management diet. Whole grains help in promoting satiety due to their fiber content, potentially aiding in calorie control. Nonetheless, portions should be moderated and considered within the context of an individual’s overall daily caloric and nutritional needs.

To determine if a Nature's Own Bread variety is high in added sugars, check the nutrition facts label for the sugar content per serving. Compare this with the American Heart Association's recommended daily limit of no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugars for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men. Choose bread with minimal added sugars, ideally listed lower on the ingredient list.

Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread includes whole wheat flour as its primary ingredient, which indicates the presence of whole grains. However, since product formulations can include both whole and refined grains, it's important to verify the label for terms like '100% whole wheat' to ensure you're getting the full benefits of whole grains.

Ask a question about Nature's Own Bread and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Possible short-term side effects

  • bloating
  • minor digestive issues
  • blood sugar spikes

Possible long-term side effects

  • weight gain
  • increased risk of chronic diseases
  • metabolic syndrome
  • elevated blood sugar
  • hypertension
  • altered gut microbiome

Ingredients to be aware of


  • provides fiber
  • aids in digestive health
  • contributes to satiety
  • offers essential nutrients
  • lower risk of chronic diseases
  • may lower cholesterol

Healthier alternatives

  • whole grain varieties
  • preservative-free options
  • homemade bread
  • lower-sodium products

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Dave’s Killer Bread

  • Organic ingredients
  • Rich in whole grains
  • Contains nutritious seeds
  • Non-GMO
  • High in fiber
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-31-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-31-2024

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