Can a healthy weight loss diet include bagels?

The average bagel is made from simple carbohydrates that break down into sugar rapidly. Due it its super size, bagels average between 300 and 350 calories. Ironically, a donut may have fewer calories due to its smaller size.


Can a Weight Loss Diet Include Bagels?


Can a weight loss diet include bagels? I’m a New Yorker and very reluctant to give up my bagels. They were a dietary staple of my upbringing.

Store bought or bakery bagels are not a healthy addition to a weight loss diet. Many low-fat dieters believe that bagels are a healthy choice for breakfast, but their low protein and low fiber content sets you up for failure. You will get a sugar rush of energy and then a crash since the bagel is quickly digested and then you will fill hungry again, despite consuming a lot of breakfast calories.

One culprit is the super-sizing of bagels. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, the size of bagels has increased from a 3-inch diameter to a 6-inch diameter in the last decades. That’s why many bagels are now about 350 calories.

A 6-inch bagel contains 66 grams of carbohydrates and almost no fiber, protein or fat. This high amount of carbohydrate is equivalent to that found in more than four slices of bread. The carbohydrates in bagels account for more than 78 percent of the calories.

More importantly, even though bagels don’t taste sweet like sugar, the carbohydrates they contain in the form of starches are easily broken down into sugars.


A typical bagel therefore becomes the equivalent of over 16 teaspoons of sugar in your blood, which is approximately the same as a can and a half of regular soda.


Bagels Have a High Glycemic Index


Another reason bagels are not a good choice for a weight loss diet is that they have a high glycemic index. This is according to the 2002 international glycemic index database published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Your body quickly digests the starches found in bagels, even more quickly than table sugar, which causes your blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

The higher the glycemic index of a food, the more it affects your blood sugar levels. This is particularly dangerous for diabetics. Sucrose has a glycemic index of 60, while the glycemic index of bagels averages 70. A breakfast rich in high-glycemic foods such as bagels can predispose you to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems.


Lack of Protein


Holistic Nutritionists and Dietitians recommend that a healthy breakfast provide about 30 grams of protein to help boost your metabolism and build muscle mass. Protein can also help you feeling full and energized all morning. Eating a bagel for breakfast is likely to leave you hungrier for the rest of the day.


Bagels Can Be Part of a Weight Loss Diet


Bagels can remain a staple of a weight loss diet with a few changes to the traditional recipe. Don’t despair New Yorkers!

This easy homemade bagel recipe from the Skinnytaste cookbook is made from scratch with just five ingredients – flour, Greek yogurt, egg whites, baking powder and salt. They don’t contain yeast and you don’t need to boil them or use a fancy mixer. Just bake them in the oven. They can also be made in an air-fryer.

The addition of Greek yogurt and a smaller size allow this healthier bagel to be part of a weight loss diet. There are many yogurts on the market, and plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is a standout.

All yogurts are excellent sources of calcium, potassium, protein, zinc, and vitamins B6 and B12. What distinguishes Greek yogurt is its thicker, creamier texture because the liquid whey is strained out. Also, it contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts.

Judith Rodriguez, PhD, RD, says, “Skip the extra sugar calories found in most yogurts and pump up the protein by choosing Greek yogurt. It’s great for weight control because it keeps you feeling full longer.”


Weight Loss Diet Recipe for Healthy Bagels


These homemade bagels are a good addition to a healthy diet. They are high in protein thanks to the addition of Greek yogurt. They taste great when they’re warm right out of the oven.
You can make the dough ahead and refrigerate it. Then roll them up and let them bake as you get ready for your day.


Tips for Perfect Bagels

1. Use a silpat or parchment paper sprayed with oil to prevent them from sticking to the baking sheet. To hold the parchment to the baking sheet, spray a little oil on the corners.
2. The bagels expand when they bake so you’ll want to make sure they have plenty of room so they don’t stick together.
3. Greek yogurt instead of plain is a must, if there’s any liquid in the yogurt be sure to drain it. Fage and Stonyfield Greek are good brands to use in this healthy recipe.
4. This recipe makes four bagels but is easily adaptable to different portions. It’s easy to double or triple this recipe. You can also half or quarter it to make less.
5. If you choose to us self-rising flour, just omit the salt and baking powder.


Tips for Storing and Freezing Bagels


• Wrap leftover bagels in plastic and reheat the next day without refrigerating. Or you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
• To freeze, slice open and wrap individually with foil or plastic wrap. To reheat them, just pop them back into the oven, toaster or air fryer until warm.
• You can make the dough ahead and keep it wrapped tight with plastic for up to 3 days refrigerated. If you’re cooking for 1, simply take 1/4 of the dough and bake it in the morning.


Healthy Bagel Recipe


This easy homemade bagel recipe is healthy and nutritious. No shortening is used. The moisture comes from the Greek yogurt.


Ingredients (makes 4 bagels)


• 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, whole wheat or gluten-free mix (see special instructions)
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt (don’t use regular yogurt)
• 1 egg white, beaten
• Optional toppings: bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic flakes, or dried onion flakes


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet. If using parchment paper, spray with oil to avoid sticking.
2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well. Add the yogurt and mix with a fork or spatula until well combined. It will look like small crumbles.
3. Lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl. Knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky, about 20 turns. Tip: It should not leave dough on your hand when you pull away.
4. Divide into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball into 3/4-inch thick ropes and join the ends to form bagels.
5. Top with egg wash. (You can use water if you don’t like eggs.)
6. Sprinkle both sides with seasoning of your choice.
7. Bake for 22 minutes in 350F degree oven. Then increase the temperature to 550F degrees for 4 minutes. Don’t worry is the oven does not reach 550F in 4 minutes. You can just leave them in until it reaches that temperature.
8. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.


Nutrition (per bagel)


Calories: 152
Total Fat: 0.3g
Carbohydrates: 26.5g
Fiber: 1g
Protein: 10g

Click here for full healthy bagel recipe to include in your weight loss diet.