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…

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  • Reply
    [email protected]
    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. 😉

    • Reply
      October 19, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Eating them occasionally is a good tactic!

  • Reply
    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

    • Reply
      November 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Yes, Pesto!

  • Reply
    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.

  • Reply
    Bruno de Landevoisin
    September 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    I have stage 1V liver cancer and have been given 20 months to live. I assure you that you would not rather get cancer than eat food that tastes good……………………………think again.

    • Reply
      Amelia Winslow
      September 11, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that, Bruno. Take good care and thanks for sharing your sentiment.

    • Reply
      February 3, 2019 at 3:15 am

      i said the same thing right before i read your reply.

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