Aldi's Crazy-Popular Bread Has Zero Net Carbs—but Is It Healthy?
What's *really* in that bread that seems like it's selling faster than the latest iPhone?
Step aside, whipped coffee and plant-based burgers. Aldi's super-popular, "keto-friendly" L'Oven Fresh Zero Net Carb Bread has returned to the scene—and it might just be the most popular food trend of 2020.
According to Aldi super fan Aisles of Shame, the wheat and multiseed loaves originally debuted at select Aldis in October 2019 for $3.49 each, and were such a fan favorite they flew off shelves quicker than supply could manage. L'Oven is now adding more ovens (okay, bakery suppliers), and is reintroducing the "keto bread" across the U.S.
When @Aldifindsforpresident posted this announcement from her local Aldi, commenters went bananas.
"I am doing keto so every time I see it I stock up. I have about 12 loaves in my freezer 😂," one said. Another chimed in to add, "Oh yes! I eat a slice every day! I was so happy to see it back last week."
Those who have tasted it say its texture is surprisingly similar to a slice of wheat or seed bread once toasted (otherwise it's a bit chewy), and works well as a vehicle for sandwich fillings, avocado and one of the most popular keto diet foods: butter. It has just a mild aftertaste, which we guess might be from one of the preservatives.
But isn't bread a dough-n't on the keto diet?
What Is in L'Oven Fresh Zero Net Carb Bread?
One 28-gram slice of the wheat bread has 45 calories, 1 gram of fat, 9 grams of total carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein. But since it also has 9 grams of dietary fiber, since fiber isn't digested and absorbed in the same way as simple carbs like white flour and sugar, some people subtract the fiber from the carbs to get net carbs. Voila: 0 grams of net carbs. (Learn all about net carbs and what they mean here.)
Similar to other best-selling low-carb breads, like SOLA, Aldi's bread is made with water and wheat gluten. Modified wheat starch, wheat protein isolate, oat fiber, vegetable fiber, wheat bran, soybean oil, yeast, vinegar, salt and preservatives are also in the mix. (That means this is far from gluten-free, BTW, if you have any allergies or intolerances.)
By comparison, the Whole-Wheat Sourdough Bread we've had on repeat all pandemic is made with whole-wheat sourdough starter, water, whole-wheat flour, a bit of all-purpose flour and salt. That's it, and the entire homemade bread recipe will probably cost you less than $1 in ingredients. Each big slice (about the size of two L'Oven pieces) has 175 calories, 1 gram of fat, 37 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.
So Is L'Oven's Fresh Zero Net Carb Bread Healthy—and Is it Keto?
The answer to both questions is a strong "maybe." 🤷
If you've been reading EatingWell for some time, you're probably aware that those two questions are very different. We're firm believers that the keto diet is not your best choice (for weight loss or wellbeing).
The keto diet promotes no grains, starches, sugars or preservatives, and Aldi's L'Oven bread has three out of the four of those features. Technically, it does have zero net carbs, though, and most keto diets aim for limiting carbs to 20 to 50 grams per day. (We must interject here to mention that our dietitians believe you need at least 200 grams or carbs per day as part of a 2,000 calorie diet, which equates to about 40% of your calories, to keep your motor humming at peak efficiency.) Similar to whether paleo dieters choose to eat or abstain from grass-fed dairy, it's a personal decision whether keto dieters will eat any of those "prohibited" items even if they're within the overall carb count goal.
In terms of the nutrition of this bread, we don't like to put anything fully off limits. That being said, we prefer to stick to bread that has as few additives as possible—even if it comes with more calories and carbs. And why not eat the real deal bread and *actually* cure your bread craving with what your body is truly in the mood for: a few carbs?