Bread is a big part of many consumer diets, but it is pretty much off-limits to those who are carb cautious and gluten-free. But avoiding carbs doesn’t have to mean missing out on bread altogether. Thanks to a fluffy little creation called “Cloud Bread,” even members of the gluten-free community can enjoy the taste and texture of bread.
Cloud bread -- ranked by Pinterest as one of the top ten trends of 2016 -- is a grain-free, low-carb, flourless bread alternative popularized by food bloggers. It’s made with eggs, softened cream cheese, cream of tartar, and a little bit of honey for sweetness.
Fresh out of the oven, it has a crispy texture; when stored in a container, it becomes soft and chewy like real bread. But while it may be a tasty bread alternative to the gluten-free set, how healthy is it really?
An occasional treat
Compared to other breads -- which are often laden with processed ingredients and high fructose corn syrup -- it’s certainly a step up in the health department. However, health experts say it’s not a substitute for whole grain bread and you should be careful not to overindulge in the spongy treat.
“It’s definitely not a good idea to eat it instead of whole grain bread, in an effort to clean up your diet or lose weight,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, contributing nutrition editor for Health.com. “Just because a recipe is grain-free or low-carb doesn’t automatically make it healthy, or mean that portions don’t matter.”
The grain flour is replaced with eggs and cream cheese, explains Sass -- and cream cheese isn’t necessarily a food you should be consuming large quantities of daily.
Lacks certain nutrients
While cloud bread may have fewer calories than regular bread, it lacks other nutritional components -- fiber, for one. Since fiber is a key player in helping you feel full and has been shown to help with cholesterol control, you’ll need to be sure to get fiber from other sources.
Cloud bread's lack of carbohydrates is also not ideal. Carbs weren’t meant to be consumed in excess, but they’re also not meant to be avoided 100%, as they're crucial fuel for the brain and muscles. To avoid being hit with a wave of fatigue, be sure to get carbohydrates from other sources (such as quinoa, high-fiber cereal, and fruit).
So, while real bread can rest assured it won’t be totally replaced by cloud bread, it’s a great alternative for those looking to cut back on carbs a little or go the grain-free route.
A recipe for cloud bread can be found here.