Pita is a rather simple bread, made only of a few whole ingredients, but is pita bread healthy? First, we have to examine what a healthy diet means. Diets that excel in healthiness tend to have adequate calories supplied by whole grains, low-fat foods. and/or healthy fats. Though it is lower in calories and fat to swap out your usual sandwich bread and substitute pita (this can save 35 calories or more,) pita is a food traditionally high in carbohydrates and gluten. This means that while pita is great for many people who are simply cutting calories or eating whole foods, it can potentially be hazardous for people following a restrictive diet.
General Information About Pita
Pita bread is a soft, Greek flatbread traditionally baked with wheat flour. As pita bakes, it forms an air bubble that is commonly called the “pocket.” This pocket makes it ideal to use as a wrap for sandwiches. This delicious, pocketed bread is very common amongst Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines. Pita is often paired with dips such as hummus or baba ganoush. So, it may be versatile and tasty but is pita bread healthy? Let’s find out.
List of Ingredients
- Dry Yeast;
- Warm Water;
- Unbleached Flour;
- Olive Oil.
When you break down the ingredients in the pita, they are pretty simple and straightforward. The dough is made with very basic ingredients and then baked at a high temperature.
Dangers of Pita
1. High in Carbohydrates
If your diet does not include a lot of carbohydrates, you may be better off avoiding pita bread. Pita is notoriously high in carbohydrates, with each serving of pita bread providing a whopping 33 grams. So, if you are on one of the many restrictive low-carb diets such as Keto or Paleo, pita might be better off avoided altogether.
2. Contains Gluten
Gluten appears to be a real concern these days as the awareness of celiac’s and gluten sensitivity is on the rise. Anyone with a gluten sensitivity may find pita bread to be aggravating to their digestive system as it is made with wheat flour. Wheat flour is a major source of gluten so most traditional pita is not gluten-free.
3. High in Sodium
If sodium is a concern, one serving of pita contains 322 milligrams of sodium. That is 20% of the recommended daily intake. So, you will need to be cautious of your pita consumption if you are watching your sodium intake.
Are there Benefits to Pita?
1. It Is Lower in Calories
If you are counting your calories, you may say pita bread is an ideal option. A traditional pita bread tends to be around 165 calories compared to two slices of bread averaging at 200. Therefore, if you are looking to cut calories, pita may be a reasonable option.
2. High in Nutrients
Is pita bread healthy? One piece of pita bread contains more than 10 percent of the recommended daily intake of the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. These vitamins are shown to increase energy, boost blood circulation, prevent disease, and protect your nervous system. These nutrients prove to increase your overall health.
3. Low in Fat
Pita contains less than 1 gram of fat per serving. And, following a low-fat diet has been said to prevent weight gain and lower the risk for obesity.
Unfortunately, if you are one of the many suffering from a gluten allergy, it is recommended that you avoid ALL foods that contain gluten. Even small amounts of gluten from cross-contamination can cause damage to your small intestines. And pita, could potentially make you sick.
But, is pita bread healthy? Without any specific dietary restrictions, pita can be enjoyed as a healthy alternative to most other types of bread. Like many breads, pita bread is high in carbohydrates. However, pita bread is also high in nutrients and low in fat which makes it an ideal upgrade in place of the very popular (yet nutritiously obsolete) white bread. The nutritional density certainly makes a good case for the health benefits of the baked bread. In order to consider pita bread unhealthy, you’d have to have some major dietary restrictions.
What do you think? Is pita bread healthy? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Please, leave your own thoughts concerning pita bread in the comments.
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