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Pita Bread vs. Regular Bread: The Healthier Option for Making Sandwiches

Nov 15, 2010

Pita bread is a staple in many of the world's Middle Eastern as well as Mediterranean cuisines. A form of round pocket bread, pita bread is found all throughout North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The well-known pocket in the pita bread is left in the middle after the steam which puffs up the dough has been permitted to cool somewhat and flatten. The origin of the word "pita" goes back to Greek, where it literally means either pie or cake. On the other hand, regular bread is made out of just a dough of flour and water that is cooked, and some other ingredients. While regular bread is more common for making sandwiches in the West, pita bread has grown in popularity in the same region due to the use of its pocket as a way of making a sandwich.

Pita Bread

As far as the nutritional value of pita bread goes, it is a mixed picture. Pita bread has both healthy as well as unhealthy attributes in its nutritional value. As far as calories go, one large pita (60 grams) comes with 165 calories. While that may not seem like an awful lot, just remember that when you eat the whole pita sandwich, you will be worsening the calorie count by adding filling and sauce. The same serving of pita bread is very low in fat, with only 1 gram being present. There are also doses of iron and calcium in such a serving of pita bread. The distinct downside of pita bread is the enormous content of sodium. The same serving size of 60 grams subjects your body to 322 milligrams of salt.

Regular Bread

Depending on what bread you eat, either white or whole wheat, you will get different nutritional values. However, regular bread is not that much healthier than pita bread because while it beats pita bread in some areas of nutritional value, it is nearly equal to it in others. For instance, in a 60 gram slice of whole wheat bread, you get  4 grams of fiber, which is almost four times as much as in pita bread. Whole wheat bread has fewer carbs, too, with a 60 gram slice only adding nearly 28 grams of carbs; pita bread adds 33 grams for the same helping. In the area of sodium, the two kinds of bread are nearly equal, so you won't be eating less salt if you opt for regular bread for your sandwich.

Conclusion

By a narrow-though-decisive margin, regular bread is the healthier option for making sandwiches. While the salt content is somewhat worrisome in the same serving of both pita as well as regular bread, regular bread just doesn't have as many waist-busting carbs in a comparable serving, and it has more fiber, which is great for bowel movements, among other things. If you use regular bread for a sandwich, remember to use whole wheat instead of white.

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