Flatbread and bread are both popular carb choices, but many wonder if flatbread is lower in calories than bread. There are a few quick answers to this question:
- On average, flatbreads do tend to be lower in calories than many types of bread.
- However, calories can vary greatly depending on the specific ingredients and preparation methods used.
- Some types of flatbread, like naan and pita, may be higher in calories than bread.
- Whole grain breads are generally lower in calories than white breads.
So in summary – flatbreads can be lower in calories than bread, but it depends on the specific type you choose. Looking at calorie counts and ingredients is important.
What is the Difference Between Flatbread and Bread?
While flatbread and bread share some similarities, there are a few key differences:
- Bread is made with yeast, which helps the dough rise. Many flatbreads do not use yeast.
- Bread dough tends to use more fat and sugar compared to flatbread dough.
- Flatbread dough is rolled and stretched out flat before cooking. Bread loaves are left thick and baked in enclosed pans.
- Flatbreads like tortillas and pita breads are often cooked on a griddle or pan, directly on the heat. Breads are more commonly baked in the oven.
So in summary:
- Bread uses yeast and tends to be higher in fat/sugar.
- Flatbread does not use yeast, is rolled flat, and cooked on a griddle or pan.
These differences in ingredients and preparation methods impact the nutrition profiles.
Calories in Different Types of Flatbread
There are many varieties of flatbread from cultures around the world. The calorie content can vary greatly depending on the specific type:
- Corn tortillas: around 50 calories per ounce
- Flour tortillas: around 70 calories per ounce
Tortillas tend to be one of the lowest calorie flatbread options, especially corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are a bit higher in calories.
- White pita: around 85 calories per ounce
- Whole wheat pita: around 80 calories per ounce
Pita breads can be a bit higher in calories than tortillas. Whole wheat pita is slightly lower in calories than white pita.
- Plain naan: around 130 calories per ounce
- Garlic naan: around 140 calories per ounce
Naan is usually made with yeast, milk and butter, so it tends to be one of the higher calorie flatbread options.
- Lavash flatbread: around 95 calories per ounce
Lavash is a soft, thin Armenian flatbread that is rolled out and cooked on a hot surface. It’s lower in calories than naan but higher than tortillas.
- Roti flatbread: around 100 calories per ounce
Roti is a whole wheat flatbread common in India. It has a moderate calorie density similar to lavash or pita bread.
- Injera flatbread: around 80 calories per ounce
Injera is a unique, spongy Ethiopian flatbread made from teff flour. It’s relatively low in calories for a flatbread.
So in summary, tortillas and injera tend to be the lowest calorie flatbread options, while naan is one of the highest.
Calories in Different Types of Bread
Like flatbread, the calorie content of types of bread can vary significantly:
- White sandwich bread: around 75 calories per ounce
- White baguette: around 95 calories per ounce
- White dinner rolls: around 80 calories per ounce
White bread made with refined wheat flour tends to be higher in calories and lower in nutrition compared to whole grain breads.
Whole Wheat Bread
- Whole wheat sandwich bread: around 65 calories per ounce
- Whole wheat baguette: around 90 calories per ounce
- Whole wheat dinner rolls: around 75 calories per ounce
Whole wheat breads are lower in calories than refined white breads, while retaining more fiber and nutrients.
- Sourdough sandwich bread: around 80 calories per ounce
- Sourdough baguette: around 105 calories per ounce
The sourdough fermentation process creates acids that give bread a distinct tangy taste. Sourdough breads tend to be dense and higher in calories than standard breads.
- Rye sandwich bread: around 65 calories per ounce
- Rye baguette: around 95 calories per ounce
Rye bread has a dense texture and rich flavor. It tends to be lower in calories than most white bread varieties.
So in summary, whole wheat and rye breads are usually lowest in calories, while refined white bread and sourdough are higher.
Comparing Calories: Flatbread vs Bread
When comparing flatbread to bread, there are some general trends in their calorie contents:
- Tortillas, roti, and injera are the lowest calorie flatbread options.
- Naan contains the most calories compared to other flatbreads.
- Whole wheat and rye breads are lower in calories than white and sourdough breads.
- Many flatbreads are lower in calories than white breads made with refined flours.
- Some flatbreads like naan or pita are higher in calories than dense whole wheat breads.
So on the whole, flatbreads do tend to contain fewer calories than most types of bread, but there are exceptions.
To illustrate calories in different flatbreads versus breads, here is a helpful comparison table:
|Flatbread/Bread Type||Calories per Ounce|
|Corn tortilla||About 50|
|Flour tortilla||About 70|
|White pita||About 85|
|Whole wheat pita||About 80|
|White bread||About 75-95|
|Whole wheat bread||About 65-90|
|Sourdough bread||About 80-105|
|Rye bread||About 65-95|
As shown, tortillas, injera, roti, and whole wheat breads are lowest in calories, while white bread and naan are higher.
Factors Affecting Calorie Content
Why can the calorie content vary so much between different types of flatbread and bread? There are a few key factors at play:
- Added fats: Oil, butter increase calories.
- Sweeteners: Sugar, honey increase calories.
- Enriched flours: White flour is higher in calories than whole grain flours.
Some flatbreads and breads contain more calorie-dense ingredients like oils, sweeteners and refined flours.
- Density: More dense and chewy breads weigh more per slice.
- Thinness: Thinner flatbreads like lavash weigh less than thicker bread slices.
- Size: Larger pieces equal more calories.
The density, thickness and size of individual pieces impacts how many calories they contain.
- Frying: Bread and flatbreads fried in oil absorb more calories.
- Baking: No added fat, but dry heat of oven can toast surface.
- Griddle: Flatbreads cooked on a hot griddle absorb less oil.
Frying bread dough adds more calories from absorbed oil. Baking uses no added fat but can toast the exterior more. Griddle cooking flatbreads directly adds minimal calories.
So in summary, differences in ingredients, density, portion sizes, and cooking methods all contribute to the calorie contents of breads and flatbreads. This helps explain why certain varieties are lower and higher in calories.
Tips for Reducing Calories
If you’re looking reduce calories when eating breads or flatbreads, here are some helpful tips:
- Choose whole grain varieties over refined white flour breads.
- Portion control matters – limit piece sizes to 1-2 ounces.
- Pick flatbreads cooked on a griddle instead of fried in oil.
- Avoid breads and flatbreads with added fats, sweeteners and toppings.
- Read labels and compare calorie counts to find lowest options.
- Enjoy bread alongside protein, veggies, fiber to balance your meal.
Focusing on whole grains, controlling portions, minimizing toppings and pairings are simple ways to reduce overall calories when enjoying breads and flatbreads.
Healthiest Low-Calorie Options
Based on nutrition content, here are some of the healthiest low-calorie bread and flatbread choices:
- Corn tortillas
- Whole wheat lavash
- Plain roti
- Injera made with teff flour
These flatbreads provide fiber, nutrients and protein with the lowest amounts of calories.
- Sprouted whole grain breads
- 100% whole wheat bread
- Rye bread
- Pumpernickel bread
These dense whole grain breads offer nutrition with lower calorie counts and a satisfying chew.
So by picking flatbreads and breads made from whole, minimally processed ingredients, you can enjoy the flavors and textures while keeping calories in check.
Is flatbread less calories than bread? In many cases, yes – flatbreads like tortillas, roti and lavash are lower in calories than a slice of white or sourdough bread made from refined flours. But calories vary widely based on specific ingredients, cooking methods, and portion sizes. Some flatbreads like naan can be just as high, or even higher in calories than many breads.
To keep calories low, choose flatbreads and breads made from whole grains over refined flours. Controlling portion sizes, avoiding added fats/sugars, and picking lower density options can also help minimize overall calorie intake when enjoying breads and flatbreads. With some simple considerations for nutrition, you can still enjoy the tastiness and versatility of flatbreads and breads as part of a healthy diet.