Whole Grain Bread Brands Ranked Worst To Best, According To Customers

whole grain bread loaves
whole grain bread loaves - ifiStudio/Shutterstock

Ahh, bread -- our finest creation, but perhaps to a fault. Eat too many slices and you'll be stuffed; take less, and you keep craving more. The solution? Seek complex carbs like whole grain or whole wheat bread instead of bread made from more highly processed grains. These can help to keep you fuller longer, digest more slowly, and have plenty of health benefits. To that end, we've compiled a list of whole grain bread brands available and ranked them from worst to best based on online customer ratings and nutritional information.

But before we slice into the complexities of bread, let's get to know the whole grain and what makes it a great breakfast option for many. Whole grain bread contains all three parts of the grain kernel, namely the bran, germ, and endosperm, which are packed with balanced proportions of carbs, protein, and fiber. According to the USDA-issued Dietary Guidelines for Americans, whole grains should comprise half of your daily grain intake, as they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more nutrient-rich components than refined grains, making them great for your heart and gut health. In order to distinguish whole grain bread at the grocery store from other healthy bread options like multigrain or rye, it's important to look at the ingredients, which should list the whole before the flour, such as whole wheat flour instead of wheat flour.

So bit by bit (or should we say bread by bread?) let's slice at some of the best and worst whole grain bread brands commonly available in your local grocery.

Read more: Ranking Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens From Worst To Best

12. Great Value 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Great Value Whole wheat bread
Great Value Whole wheat bread - Walmart

Let's get started with Walmart's brand Great Value brande, which promises quality products for an affordable price. However, its whole wheat bread may not be too high up on that list. With an unimpressive 3.1 out of 5 stars on Walmart's website, this bread has a pretty even split of five and one-star reviews. For the lowest price on our list at $2.17 for a 20-ounce loaf (10.9 cents per ounce), this bread is indeed great value for your money, but it's not good for much more than that. Reviewers constantly complain of the bread becoming moldy sooner than the pack's listed expiration date and containing allergens (such as sesame and flax seeds) that are not part of the recipe -- nor, some report, have those potentially troublesome ingredients been mentioned online. Many users also report the bread having decreased in size over time and not being sufficient for making decent-sized sandwiches.

However, for all its shortcomings, the bread does have perks. For a low price, you get a nutritious slice of whole wheat goodness that includes 60 calories per slice, 12g of carbs, 2g dietary fiber, 3g protein, and only 1g of added sugars. The Great Value whole wheat bread is also rich in minerals like calcium and potassium. So, you might try the bread if you're on a budget, but it's clear there are better options out there. Be sure to consume it well before the expiration date to avoid any chance of spoilage.

11. Sara Lee 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Sara Lee Whole Wheat Bread
Sara Lee Whole Wheat Bread - Walmart

A favorite in most homes for its variety of desserts and breads, the Sara Lee brand has mastered making a range of nutritious and delicious food items, such as its Artesano and Delightful lines, which deliver high-quality brioche and low-calorie breads. However, its 100% whole wheat bread seems to have missed the mark by a few points. With an average rating of 3.75 out of 5 stars on Walmart and Amazon (and more one-star reviews than five out of that number), customers complain of the bread lacking freshness as it goes bad well before its expiration date, having been delivered with moldy slices in some cases. Some consumers also add that the bread is dry and crumbly, with slices that have grown thinner over time, and which tend to fall apart when used. 

Despite its shortfalls, the bread comes at a decent price which is cheaper than other grocery store brands, at $3.28 for a 20-ounce loaf (16.4 cents per ounce). The Sara Lee whole wheat bread can also be considered a healthy option boasting 60 calories per 22g slice, with 12g of carbs, 2g fiber, 3g protein, and low sugar. The nutrition label, however, can't make up for the bread's many shortfalls that seem to have deteriorated its quality over time.

10. Oroweat Whole Grains 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Oroweat Whole Wheat bread
Oroweat Whole Wheat bread - Walmart

If you've never heard of Oroweat bread or seen it on your grocery store shelves, don't be alarmed. This nutritious brand is sold under a few different names in the U.S. -- namely, Brownberry on the Midwest, Oroweat on the West Coast, and Arnold on the East Coast. All of these are owned by one label, Bimbo Bakeries USA, which sells the same products and recipes under each brand.

Although Oroweat makes many carb-loaded loaves of goodness, its whole grain bread seems to have missed the mark. With an average rating of 3.85 stars out of 5 across Walmart and Amazon, customers complain of additives in the recipe such as oats and nuts, high sugar content (3g per slice!), and dampness in the bread that means it becomes moldy very soon (in such cases it's best to discard the entire loaf of bread).

Another concern is the bread's lack of overall flavor and a bad aftertaste. As for nutritional value, every 43g slice of bread has more calories (110) and carbs (21g) than is required for whole wheat bread by the USDA, as well as 3g sugar, 4g protein, and 3g fiber. It seems the Oroweat whole grain bread has had a drop in quality over the years, resulting in customer dissatisfaction and lower ratings overall which doesn't justify its $4.46 per 24-ounce loaf price tag (18.6 cents per ounce ).

9. Silver Hills 16 Grain Sprouted Grain Bread

Silver Hills sprouted grain bread
Silver Hills sprouted grain bread - Walmart

Moving on to the middle range category of our ranking is the Silver Hills 16 grain sprouted bread. If you're unfamiliar with sprouted grains, they are whole grains that have started to germinate and which typically contain more nutrients than bread made from processed white flour. The Silver Hills bread is indeed a healthier option than other whole grain and multigrain breads, bearing 16 seeds and grains and omega-3 fatty acids which can aid in boosting heart and brain health.

With an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 on Amazon and Walmart, this bread appears to bear the consumer stamp of approval, but isn't as well-reviewed as other whole grain breads, especially given that we found fewer than 100 total ratings online, all of which brings it to the lower end of our list. Some consumers have complained about the added sugars in the bread (2g per slice) which arguably takes away from the nutritional benefits of sprouted grains, as well as the fact that loaves have thinner slices that don't hold their own. These concerns correspond with the nutritional value of this bread, which contains 100 calories and 17g of carbs per 34g slice. The bread also has 6g of protein and 4g of fiber. Given that it costs $5.97 for a 20-ounce loaf, it's also on the pricier end of our list.

8. Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Pepperidge Farms Whole Wheat bread
Pepperidge Farms Whole Wheat bread - Walmart

Pepperidge Farms is a staple in most homes for its range of baked products, particularly its delicious breads which were introduced in the early 1900s. Consumers still rate these loaves highly for their great quality and taste, but healthier options like 100% whole wheat bread aren't always a customer favorite. With an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Walmart and Target, a concern among most people is the bread's sugar content that adds a strong sweet flavor, and the addition of GMOs, which to some peoples' minds may decrease the bread's whole grain nutritional benefits, though the untold truth of GMOs is perhaps more complicated. Pepperidge Farms has addressed its use of GMO ingredients on its website, listing all the ingredients that contain products made with GMOs.

As for the price, the bread is currently valued at $6 at Walmart for a 24-ounce loaf (25.0 cents per ounce), which is on the steeper end considering the bread's thicker slices and dense texture. You can also typically purchase the loaf for $3.99 at Target. Despite the nutritional concerns, this whole wheat bread is still liked for its taste and health benefits, and as a sandwich bread. For each 43g slice, you get 120 calories, 19g carbs, and 3g sugar, plus 5g of protein, 4g of fiber, and calcium and potassium.

7. Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain 15 Grain Bread

Pepperidge Farms whole grain bread
Pepperidge Farms whole grain bread - Walmart

Another whole grain contender from the widely available Pepperidge Farms brand is its 15 grain bread, which is packed with a rich blend of seeds and grains that includes sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, oats, wheat berries, and more. The bread has an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars across Amazon and Walmart, as consumers love the bread's texture, nutrients, and taste. However, consumer concerns include the high seed component making the bread too crumbly, thick and wide slices packing more calories into what would otherwise be a healthier bread option, and added sugars that take away from the bread's flavor.

Despite the mixed reviews, the bread is chock full of whole grains (23g per slice) and has 120 calories, 19g carbs, 3g sugars, 5g proteins, and 3g fiber in every 43g slice. You can buy a 24-ounce loaf at Walmart for $5.00 (20.8 cents per ounce), placing this bread in the middle category of prices on our list. All in all, this Pepperidge Farm bread is a decent breakfast option if you need a substitute for your regular whole grain loaf.

6. Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed Organic Bread

Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed
Dave's Killer Bread Powerseed - Walmart

Dave's Killer Bread is a beloved classic across homes in the U.S. for its reliable flavor and texture, and nutritious loaves. The company also has a great initiative called Second Chance Employment which hires ex-criminals to work with them. This conscious effort might be the reason its bread tastes so good, particularly the powerseed bread that's packed with pumpkin, flax, sunflower, and brown and black sesame seeds, as well as organic whole wheat. With an average of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Walmart and Amazon, and more than 2,000 reviews, it's clear that consumers love the bread's rich taste, moist slices, and great nutrients. Others aren't a fan of the seed-rich texture that comes with the bread, which some say makes it difficult to swallow, and suggest that Dave's mills the flour more finely for an easier bite.

At Walmart, you can purchase a 25-ounce loaf for $5.98 (23.9 cents per ounce) which is considerably pricey and remains a complaint among customers. However, for the impressive nutritional profile that comes with this bread, most people are willing to cough up the extra bucks. For every 42g slice, you get 100 calories, 17g carbs, 1g sugar, 5g protein, 4g fiber, 290 mg omega-3 fatty acids, and rich mineral components.

5. Nature's Own 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Nature's Own Whole Wheat bread
Nature's Own Whole Wheat bread - Walmart

Who doesn't love a slice of Nature's Own bread? Known for its plush texture and unmatched flavor, it's not a stretch to say Nature's Own is reportedly one of America's favorite bread brands. The same can be said for its whole wheat bread, which boasts an average of 4.25 stars out of 5 on Walmart and Amazon. Customers love the bread's soft texture, delicious taste, and rich nutrients as well as a low carb count and no processed ingredients or additives. The only concern that multiple consumers raise is the bread having holes from air pockets in the dough, as well as a few misshapen loaves that make for uneven slices. Although this doesn't necessarily compromise the bread's overall quality, it can be an inconvenience while making sandwiches and layering spreads.

Nature's Own retains its quality label alongside its prices and is valued at $3.64 (18.2 cents per ounce) for a 20-ounceloaf at Walmart, making it one of the more affordable brands on our list. It also offers balanced nutrients, with each 26g slice having 60 calories, 11g carbs, less than 1g sugar, 4g protein, and 2g fiber. Nature's Own is one of the better breads for folks looking for a low-calorie option, all while maintaining the flavor and texture of regular bread.

4. Sara Lee Delightful Honey Whole Wheat Bread

Sara Lee Delightful Bread
Sara Lee Delightful Bread - Amazon

In top four customer-favorite breads is the Sara Lee Delightful label, known for its low-calorie loaves of white bread made with whole grains and bearing just 45 calories per slice. Its whole wheat bread holds a strong average of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Target and Amazon, making it an ideal choice among customers who love the brand for its fresh loaves that are soft and often flavored with honey, while being a healthy alternative for those watching their calories. Although the bread has thinner slices than other brands of whole grain bread, it still holds up well in sandwiches and maintains its texture.

You can buy a 20-ounce loaf of this bread for $3.99 (20 cents per ounce) on Amazon and Walmart, which is a good deal given its many nutritional benefits. For every 22g slice of bread, you get 45 calories, 9g carbs, 1g sugar, 3g protein, and 2g fiber. Overall, the Sara Lee Delightful whole wheat honey bread is a good option for both those who are watching their weight and people wanting to incorporate more complex carbs into their diet.

3. Oroweat Whole Grains Oatnut Bread

Oroweat Oanut bread
Oroweat Oanut bread - Walmart

Oroweat's oatnut bread might have confused people by its name -- what exactly is an oatnut? -- but turns out it's just a combination of nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds) and oats in the recipe, which gives the bread its distinctive taste. Regardless of the name, this bread is a reliable choice for whole grain bread, scoring an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Walmart and Amazon (with nearly 4,000 reviews) due to its rich, nutty flavor, and sturdy texture for making sandwiches. The only real complaint from buyers is that the bread can be a bit dry and doesn't hold its shape well in the bag.

As for the cost, you can currently buy a 24-ounce loaf of this bread for $11.49 at Walmart (47.9 cents per ounce) and for nearly half the price on Amazon ($5.29). Since customers consider this bread worth the steep price point, it's worth the splurge so long as your budget can handle it. As for nutrition, every 43g slice has 120 calories, 21g carbs, 3g sugars, 4g protein, and 2g fiber. If you like your bread to have an extra crunch and hearty slices, then this one's for you!

2. Ezekiel Sprouted Grain Whole Grain Bread

Ezekiel sprouted grain bread
Ezekiel sprouted grain bread - Walmart

On your next grocery store visit, take a trip to the frozen section and find this incredibly nutritious sprouted grain loaf that's sure to change your perspective on healthy bread. The Food for Life Ezekiel bread is one of the few widely-available whole grain breads that contain no preservatives and is made from 100% organic grains, including sprouted wheat, barley, lentils, beans, millet, and spelt. With an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Walmart and Amazon, consumers love this bread for its unmatched nutritional benefits and its exceptional taste. One major thing to watch out for is that this bread molds quickly due to that lack of preservatives, and should be kept frozen to retain freshness.

Ezekiel bread is one of the most expensive loaves on this list and, as of this writing, is valued at $7.53 for a 24-ounce loaf (31.4  cents per ounce) at Walmart, but many consumers will gladly pay the price for the flavor and health benefits it provides. On the nutrient front, every 34g slice has 80 calories, 15g carbs, no sugar, 5g protein, and 4g fiber, making it arguably the most nutritious entry on our list. So if you're looking for a wholesome whole grain bread that lacks additives, Ezekiel sprouted grain bread is the way to go.

1. Dave's Killer Bread Organic 21 Whole Grain Bread

Dave's Killer Bread Organic 21
Dave's Killer Bread Organic 21 - Walmart

As for the bread winner, we have another bread from Dave's Killer Bread: the brand's organic 21 whole grain loaf. This bread is packed with a wide variety of seeds and organic flours, which add to its texture and make for a great-tasting bread. Consumers love this loaf for its delicious flavor profile and sturdy slices that hold their shape and stay fresh for a long time. With an average rating of 4.55 out of 5 stars across Walmart and Amazon, it's no surprise that this bread is the most-loved whole grain option on our list.

You can purchase it at Walmart for $5.98 per 27-ounce loaf (22.1 cents per ounce), which is larger than many other whole grain breads and has a decent slice size. For every 45g slice, you get 110 calories, 22g carbs, 5g sugars, 5g protein, 5g fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. All in all, this bread is a filling option and a great starting bread for those consumers who wish to shift to whole grain breads.

Our Methodology

whole grain bread slices
whole grain bread slices - Vladislav Noseek/Shutterstock

For our methodology, we took reviews for breads from Walmart, Amazon, and Target, and ranked them according to the highest rating per bread. In some cases, we also took the bread's price and the number of reviews into consideration. Each bread's nutritional information and the ingredient list were also examined side by side to ensure the loaves contained the whole grain amounts and ingredients identified by the Whole Grains Council, and the nutrients specified by the USDA for whole wheat breads. Additionally, only breads containing whole wheat flour in their ingredients were selected, as opposed to wheat breads which are an unhealthy alternative.

Read the original article on Mashed