Whole wheat everything bagels can be a relatively healthy choice compared to plain or sweetened bagels, but they should still be eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet. The whole wheat provides more fiber, nutrients, and protein than white flour, but the high calorie and carb counts of bagels in general make them more of an occasional treat food.
What are whole wheat everything bagels?
Whole wheat everything bagels are a type of bagel made with 100% whole wheat flour instead of white refined flour. They are characterized by the topping of toasted sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic, dried onion, and salt. The whole wheat flour provides more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and protein than regular white flour bagels. However, all bagels are high in carbohydrates and calories, so portion control is important. A standard whole wheat everything bagel weighing around 4 ounces contains about 300 calories, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 500-650 milligrams of sodium.
Benefits of whole wheat flour
Here are some of the benefits that whole wheat flour provides over refined white flour:
Whole wheat flour contains all three parts of the wheat grain – the bran, endosperm, and germ. This provides more fiber than refined flour, which only uses the endosperm. Fiber aids digestion, prevents constipation, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Higher nutrient content
Refined white flour has the bran and germ removed during processing, stripping away many B vitamins, iron, and other minerals. Whole wheat flour retains these nutrients, providing higher amounts of selenium, magnesium, zinc, copper, folic acid, and more.
Lower glycemic index
Due to the higher fiber and protein content, whole wheat flour does not spike blood sugar levels as quickly as refined grains. This helps control insulin response and hunger.
Higher protein content
Whole grains provide more protein than refined grains. This helps promote satiety and muscle building.
Potential benefits of whole wheat everything bagels
Based on the nutritional advantages of whole wheat flour, here are some of the potential benefits of whole wheat everything bagels compared to plain white flour bagels:
The higher protein and fiber content can help whole wheat bagels be more satisfying and curb hunger longer than plain bagels made with refined flour.
Due to the lower glycemic index, whole wheat bagels provide a slower, steadier release of energy over time compared to the rapid spike and crash from high glycemic index white flour bagels.
Lower risk of diabetes
Eating more whole grains like whole wheat is associated with up to a 30% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, likely due to blood sugar control benefits.
The fiber content of whole wheat bagels may help reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and lower risk of heart disease.
The fiber in whole wheat bagels serves as prebiotics to feed the good bacteria in your gut microbiome. This supports digestive health.
Whole grains like whole wheat are linked to lower body weight and less weight gain over time. The combination of fiber, protein, and slower digestion makes whole wheat bagels more filling.
Whole wheat bagels provide more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than white flour bagels due to retention of the bran and germ.
Potential downsides of whole wheat everything bagels
Despite the benefits, there are some potential downsides to consider with frequent whole wheat everything bagel consumption:
Still high in calories and carbs
All bagels are high in calories and refined carbohydrates, including whole wheat varieties. An everything bagel provides roughly 300 calories and 60 grams net carbs, which can be excessive for some people, especially on a regular basis.
Blood sugar impact
While whole wheat bagels have a lower glycemic index than white flour bagels, they can still cause more rapid rises in blood sugar compared to low carb foods like eggs or yogurt. Individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance need to be mindful of portions.
May trigger gluten sensitivity
The wheat in whole wheat bagels contains gluten, which causes issues for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Symptoms like bloating, fatigue, and joint pain may occur after consuming whole wheat bagels.
For some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the wheat and onion contained in everything bagels can be high in FODMAPs, types of carbs that may ferment in the gut and cause gas and bloating.
Higher in sodium
The salty topping of an everything bagel provides 500-650 milligrams of sodium per serving, which is a significant amount, especially for those restricting sodium intake.
May cause overeating
The rich, carbohydrate dense taste and texture of bagels makes them easy to overconsume. Portion control is important when eating whole wheat bagels to avoid excess calorie intake. Moderation and balance are key.
Nutrition information comparison
|Whole wheat everything bagel
|White flour everything bagel
As shown, whole wheat everything bagels are higher in protein, fiber, and certain vitamins and minerals compared to white flour bagels. However, both types are still high carb options.
Healthier ways to enjoy whole wheat everything bagels
Here are some tips for making whole wheat everything bagels a healthier choice:
Watch your portion sizes
Stick to one medium whole wheat bagel at a time to control calories, carbs, and sodium. Avoid oversized bakery bagels. Splitting with a friend is a great option.
Load up on veggies
Choose lots of veggie toppings like tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, spinach, and avocado instead of just spreads, cheeses, and meats to boost the fiber and nutrient content of your bagel.
Go light on spreads
Limit high-fat, high-calorie spreads like cream cheese and butter. Opt for hummus, avocado, or natural nut butter instead.
Pair with protein
Eat your bagel with eggs, lean meats, nuts or seeds to balance out the carb load and keep you feeling fuller longer.
Drink water or unsweetened drinks with your bagel to avoid excess calories from sugary beverages that can lead to blood sugar spikes.
Watch the frequency
Keep whole wheat bagel consumption to 2-3 times per week max as part of a healthy diet, and choose lower carb options on other days. The carbs and calories add up quickly.
Healthy whole wheat everything bagel recipe
Try making your own healthier whole wheat everything bagels at home with this recipe:
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water for egg wash
- 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- 2 Tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/4 cup dried minced onion
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast.
- Add the warm water and honey and mix until a shaggy dough forms.
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise 1 hour.
- Punch down dough to release air and divide into 8 equal pieces.
- Shape each piece into a round bagel and poke a hole in the center.
- Let rise 30 minutes uncovered.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Boil bagels 1 minute per side.
- Drain and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Brush bagels with egg wash and sprinkle with desired toppings.
- Bake 20 minutes until deep golden brown.
- Let cool and enjoy!
This homemade version allows you to control the quality of ingredients for a healthier take on the whole wheat everything bagel.
The bottom line
Whole wheat everything bagels are a better choice than plain white flour varieties due to higher protein, fiber, and nutrients. However, all bagels are high carb and high calorie, so portion size is key. Limit consumption to a few times weekly and pair with protein, veggies, and healthy fats for balanced nutrition. Making your own whole wheat bagels allows you to limit sodium, added sugars, and undesirable ingredients. For most healthy adults, whole wheat everything bagels can be part of a balanced, moderate diet when enjoyed in moderation along with plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low fat dairy, and whole grains. Those with diabetes, gluten sensitivity, or irritable bowel syndrome may need to further limit or avoid consumption. As with any food, understanding your individual tolerance based on your health status and goals is important.