A Dietitian Explains Why Wraps Are Worse Than Bread For Weight Loss

Sandwich chains like Subway, Panera Bread, and even your local deli can come with so many decisions. What type of meat should you get (and which deli meats you should avoid!), what type of cheese should you add, what are the healthiest sauces, do you want any toppings, etc? And, of course, you have to decide if you’re going to get a “healthy lunch” and ask your sandwich artist to put it on a wrap or indulge in an “unhealthy lunch” and ask for your sandwich to be put on a roll. But, are wraps actually healthier than bread for weight loss?

To learn more about just how healthy wraps are for weight loss, we spoke with Lainey Younkin, a registered weight loss dietitian at Lainey Younkin Nutrition. She says that both white wraps and white bread can be harmful to weight loss goals and to instead look for whole grain options that give you the most fiber and protein for the fewest calories. Read on to learn more!

READ MORE: This Is the Healthiest Kind Of Bread You Can Actually Lose Weight Eating

White Wraps Are Worse Than Bread For Weight Loss

When asked which type of bread you should use for your sandwiches, Younkin wants to clarify that not all wraps are unhealthy for weight loss. "Like most things in nutrition, it depends. When it comes to wraps and breads, the best option for weight loss will be the one that gives you the most fiber and protein for the fewest calories," she says. White bread can cause inflammation and weight gain. "Some wraps, especially those from sandwich shops and chain restaurants, can have 200-400 calories per wrap that mostly comes from refined carbohydrates, meaning they lack fiber." That's why opting for a whole-wheat wrap is always better.

"If it's a whole-wheat wrap that's high in fiber and protein, then that's a healthier option for weight loss than white bread with no protein or fiber," Younkin continues. "Joseph's Flax, Oat Bran, & Whole Wheat wraps, for example, pack 7 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber for just 80 calories, which is a better option than many whole wheat bread."

Next time you're at the grocery store or in line at the deli, Younkin says you should check the ingredients for "whole wheat" or "100% whole wheat." But, she warns that you shouldn't be fooled by marketing on the front of the packing that says "multigrain." This just means that the bread contains multiple types of grains—not necessarily whole wheat or wheat that's high in fiber. "Flip over the package and check the ingredients list and the nutrition facts panel. Aim for 3-5 grams of fiber and 3-5 grams of protein per serving," she recommends. "Fiber and protein work together to slow the rise of blood sugar, slow the emptying of your stomach, and suppress hunger hormones, which keep you full longer and aid weight loss."

"Check the label for sugar and sodium. Many breads have unnecessary added sugars. Limiting added sugars in your diet will make it easier to lose weight," Younkin adds. "The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day and men consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar per day. Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed bread and Ezekiel bread are two of my favorite brands to recommend to clients for weight loss." Noted!

And, while you may think that buying thinner or smaller slices of bread can be the best way to reduce calories for weight loss, that means the bread usually just have less protein and fiber. "You want your sandwich bread to keep you full so focus more on getting enough fiber and protein instead of choosing the lowest-calorie option," Younkin advises.

The Bottom Line

To wrap things up (no pun intended) Younkin says that wraps can be detrimental to weight loss goals when they're white bread rather than whole-wheat. "It all depends on the ratio of protein and fiber to the total calories. The best option is a whole wheat wrap or bread that's high in fiber and protein," she points out. And, always make sure you're checking the ingredients on the bread you buy at the grocery store—look for terms like "whole wheat" and "100% whole wheat." And, if you want to make your sandwich even healthier, you could ask for your sandwich without bread and turn it into a bowl or salad!

READ MORE: Nutritionists Say This Is The Best Subway Sandwich For Weight Loss (It's Only 270 Calories!)