Ask Amelia Nutrition Weight Loss

What Makes Bagels So Bad For You?


Bagels have a bad rap, and for pretty good reasons:

  • Portion size. Just one bagel provides between 3-6 servings of grains – some peoples’ carbohydrate allotment for the entire day!
  • Low in nutrients. Even “whole wheat” bagels are usually only partly whole wheat. The majority of the flour in a bagel is white, refined flour, which provides no fiber and very few nutrients.
  • Highly refined. Most bagels are empty calories.  The refined nature of any white refined bread product means your blood sugar will spike and then drop, leaving you with little energy.

Despite these downsides, I still love bagels. So here’s how I enjoy them without overdoing it:

  • Choose whole wheat. Even if a bagel is only partially whole grain, it’s still better than a white bagel.
  • Eat half. Keep your portion size in check by eating half a bagel at a time. Save the other half for later or the following day.
  • Combine with protein. Add light cream cheese, smoked salmon, and cucumber; soft goat cheese with thick tomato slices; scrambled eggs with chives, or nut butter with banana slices. It’s always better for you – and your energy level – to combine carbohydrate, fat, and protein in every meal or snack.
  • Skip the carbs later. If you eat a bagel for breakfast, choose a salad or other mix of lean protein and veggies/fruits for your remaining meals that day.

One of my favorite bagel-based meals…

are bagels bad

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are bagels healthy

are bagels healthy



  • john@kitchenriffs
    October 17, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    I love bagels, but rarely eat them because of that calorie thing. It used to be bagels were much smaller, but now they’re huge – really too much food. Good tips on how to eat them on a regular basis. I just eat them occasionally now, so I’ll go whole hog and eat an entire one with cream cheese and everything. Then pretty much fast for the rest of the day. 😉

  • Amelia
    October 19, 2012 at 7:32 am

    Eating them occasionally is a good tactic!

  • Amanda
    November 15, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Can you tell me what is on your “favorite bagel-based meal” there? I can see cheese and tomatoes but is that pesto? Thanks

  • Amelia
    November 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Yes, Pesto!

  • RJ Moore II
    March 6, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    LOL I eat bagels because they taste good. I’d rather get cancer than eat food that doesn’t taste good.

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