Bagel [bey-guh l]; a circular roll of leavened dough that is first poached then baked in order to produce the most perfect of breakfast carbohydrates. Originating in Poland, this delectable delight has nourished millions over the span of centuries. It has evolved to be more than a paradox of smooth, chewy crust with a soft fluffy core; bagels have become the foundations of sandwiches, the crust of pizzas, and rainbow Instagram sensations!
Around 2-10 million bagels are sold in the U.S. daily. It would be fair to say that bagels are the undisputed champions of morning sandwiches and brunch binges, and yet lately bagels have gotten a lot of flack. We are living in a brave new world of constantly being scrutinized and photographed. We need to be thin, light, Snapchat-ready, and have breakfasts have to match! So this begs the question: “Are bagels healthy?” And more often than not the following Google search is: “How many slices of bread are in a bagel?”
To answer the first question, the healthiness of bagels varies from recipe to recipe. Most bagels contain flour, leavening, salt, water and potentially some sweetener. Bagels are high in carbohydrates, clocking in at about 48 grams per bagel. Carbs aren’t necessarily bad for you, but, unless you’re training for a marathon, it might be best to only eat half a bagel or have an English muffin instead.
Now, for the all important second question. In terms of carbs and calories, there are about 3.15 slices of bread in the average plain bagel (a bagel contains 245 calories, a slice of bread has 79 calories). Obviously this varies greatly if your local bakery makes massive bagels or baby-bite bagels. So yes, bagels are a whole lotta breakfast compared to toast, but if we take a look at other breakfast items like chocolate sprinkle donuts and avocados, they don’t seem so bad.
Fat-wise, bagels barely register. The average bagel (that isn’t doused in an entire container of cream cheese) only has one gram of fat!!! Compared to the average Florida avocado, bagels are a fat-free diet food! (Not really, but I can delude myself.)
Okay, so yes, bagels are more dense, caloric and potentially less healthy than a piece of bread, but would you stake your happiness on that? Bagels are delicious! Awe inspiring! Instagram-worthy! A scientific study at the University of Spoon found that when measuring the happiness created by bagel (in metric sugar plums, of course), it was equivalent to being handed a basket of puppies!
Bagels may not be a diet food, but they are most certainly a food worth jogging for!