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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Healthy Eating arrow Is Ciabatta Bread Healthy? Nutrition Facts: Carbs and Calories

Is Ciabatta Bread Healthy? Nutrition Facts: Carbs and Calories

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 3, 2023
7 min read 1025 Views 0 Comments
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Ciabatta bread is a thick loaf that represents a classic baguette. You can pair it with almost any meal, but is it really healthy? We provide some nutrition facts about ciabatta bread, potential health benefits, side effects, and a healthy, low-calorie recipe you can make at home.

is ciabatta bread healthy

Consuming nutrient-dense food can help you follow a balanced diet. 

There are certain types of bread that might not fall into the nutritious category. Breaded products usually contain a high amount of carbs, sugar, and fats, which can be dangerous ingredients. Ciabatta is a popular option for everyday meals, but could it be the wrong choice? 

Learning more about the nutritional values of ciabatta bread is important. You can discover whether this food suits your long-term health goals and current diet. 

Just keep on reading to find the potential benefits and risks of eating this bread. 

Is Ciabatta Bread Healthy?

Ciabatta is only healthy when eaten in moderate amounts; however, we would recommend avoiding it. This type of white bread may contain refined flour that triggers inflammatory bowel disease. You should monitor how many carbs, sugars, and fats you consume daily to avoid damaging your health. 

Sometimes, it might be tempting to pick ciabatta bread up in the grocery store. Looking at the light and bouncy texture makes you want to eat it more. However, not many people know that ciabatta may contain white flour and other processed ingredients that make it unhealthy.

What Is Ciabatta? 

Ciabatta is an Italian white bread made with whole-wheat flour, salt, water, olive oil, and yeast. The bread resembles classic French baguettes due to its crispy crust. You can make paninis and bruschetta dishes with ciabatta just by adding cooked ingredients. 

American ciabatta bakers often use a biga or starter to make this bread. Biga is a type of pre-fermentation that gives the bread a light, open texture with holes. The starter is another fermented dough that adds natural, wild yeast and a bacteria called lactobacilli to bread recipes. 

The olive oil in ciabatta mainly keeps the slices of bread together. Olive oil can add flavor, but the taste is mild and only enhances texturized loaves. Some people enjoy the softness of ciabatta because it contains more air holes that give the bread its airiness and light appearance. 

One study found that white flour increases the risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. This is only true for bread makers or brands that don’t use whole grains, natural wheat germ, and whole-grain flour when making their products.

To eat ciabatta bread on a healthy diet, consider making it at home. You can use whole grains that are often found in multigrain bread. Just remember that it’s fine to treat yourself now and then to tasty bread, but it’s important to monitor your macro intake to avoid health complications.

3 Health Benefits of Ciabatta 

Consuming bread like ciabatta might boost certain aspects of your health. This depends on the brand and whether you make bread at home using whole-wheat ingredients. 

Here are some potential health benefits of this bread: 

#1 Reduces the risk of Crohn’s disease

Research suggests that a high fiber intake could reduce the risk of Crohn’s disease. This is because fiber softens your stools and prevents serious constipation. Ciabatta contains plenty of this important nutrient, which is great for people who don’t have regular bowel movements.

#2 Improves bone health 

Some ciabatta-type breads have whole grains that promote strong bone health. These whole grains hold plenty of calcium – a mineral that fights off osteoporosis. You can also eat other whole-wheat bread, like pumpernickel and rye bread, to keep your bones well-structured. 

#3 Regulates blood sugar levels

The high fiber content in whole-grain ciabatta can keep blood sugar levels steady. People with diabetes may eat this bread to reduce their symptoms. Studies have shown that those who eat 2–3 servings of whole grains a day are 30% less likely to develop diabetes in the future. 

3 Side Effects of Ciabatta 

Ciabatta may cause side effects for some people, depending on the brand and ingredients. Bread that isn’t made with whole grains usually promotes health complications.

Below are possible disadvantages of eating ciabatta bread: 

#1 Allergic reactions 

Allergic reactions from ciabatta usually happen in people with a wheat allergy or who are gluten sensitive. This may cause stomach cramps, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress. You should talk to your doctor about the possibility of having celiac disease or other serious problems. 

#2 Hypernatremia

Hypernatremia means you have too much sodium in your blood. Ciabatta bread may have a high salt content. To avoid experiencing muscle weakness, lethargy, and brain dysfunction, consider eating multigrain bread or any type of loaf that uses whole-grain ingredients only. 

#3 Kidney damage 

Ciabatta and other forms of white bread, like sourdough bread and baguettes, could damage your kidneys. This is because they contain a high amount of phosphorus and sodium – two minerals that encourage the kidneys to remove less water and increase blood pressure.

Nutrition Facts of Ciabatta

You should learn about nutrition facts before trying a new type of bread. This is important for people who might be gluten sensitive or need something that maintains steady blood sugar levels.

Here is the nutritional content of 100 grams of ciabatta bread: 

Nutritional value (per 100g)

Calories/Nutrient (per 100g)Amount
Calories (kcal)259
Net Carbs (g)46
Fiber (g)2.1
Sugar (g)4.69
Fats (Total)2.73
Protein (g)9.49
Cholesterol (mg)0

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/2343091/nutrients 

High in calories 

Ciabatta has around 259 calories per serving – a high amount for those seeking good weight management. Eating too many calories can actually increase low-density lipoprotein in your body and boost the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.

Moderate amount of proteins

The high protein content can fuel muscle growth and recovery. Your body needs protein to maintain healthy bones, muscles, cartilage, and skin. Even though ciabatta has 9.49 grams, you should seek other protein-rich alternatives like chicken, lean beef, eggs, and cottage cheese

Low in fats 

There aren’t enough unsaturated fats in ciabatta to improve your health. This food only contains 2.73 grams of fat, which contributes to plaque build-up in your arteries. Instead, opt for nutritious high-fat foods like duck meat, black olives, coconut oil, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.

High in carbs and sugars 

Consuming a high number of carbs and sugars isn’t good for the body. Those nutrients only feed weight gain and potential heart disease. Studies show that a high-carb diet could encourage severe gastrointestinal distress and cause a considerable reduction in HDL

Ciabatta vs. Focaccia 

Here is a comparison between ciabatta and focaccia bread: 

Ciabatta Focaccia 
BenefitsCiabatta contains important nutrients for digestion 
This type of bread can support weight management
Focaccia has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals 
You can eat this oven-baked bread with any type of recipe 
ProsCould reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease 
Regulates blood glucose
Decent shelf life Reduces hunger cravings Contains lots of protein Low fat content 
Controls blood sugar levels
High fiber content 
Boosts your energy Good source of dietary fats 
May strengthen immunity Fits the Mediterranean diet
ConsMay contain additives 
Possible allergies 
Not suitable for those with a gluten intolerance 
High calorie content
Mainly refined carbs 
Doesn’t last long High-sodium food 
Not suitable for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease
May increase cholesterol 
Could cause weight gain 

Healthy Ciabatta Recipe 

You should make whole-grain ciabatta at home to ensure there are no preservatives. Most branded products use chemicals to enhance the appearance or taste of bread. If you want to stay healthy or lose stubborn weight, always make fresh bread using your own ingredients. 

Here are the ingredients and directions for making healthy ciabatta bread: 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup water 
  • ½ tsp rising yeast 
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions 

  1. Mix together the flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. Gradually add water and start mixing slowly. You can use an electric mixer at medium speed to ensure everything is properly blended together. 
  3. Grab a rectangular tub (4″ square all around) and line it with that olive oil before proofing.
  4. Pour the dough into the container and cover it with plastic wrap. Let this sit for 3 hours at room temperature, or leave it on the side overnight.
  5. You can then prepare a baking sheet by sprinkling flour over it. 
  6. Make sure to slowly pour the dough onto the baking sheet. 
  7. Cut 3 rectangular loaf pieces in the dough and separate them. 
  8. Quickly sprinkle more flour on top of these slices. 
  9. Let that rest for 15–20 minutes before putting it in a 350ºF oven.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes and then leave another 5 minutes when the oven is off.
  11. You can eat the bread warm or cold, but make sure to wrap it up properly.

FAQs

Is ciabatta bread good or bad for weight loss?

Ciabatta might not be the best option when you’re losing weight. This is because it contains a high amount of refined carbohydrates and calories. However, you can still eat this bread as an occasional treat, as the protein content fuels muscle growth and keeps your stomach full.

Is ciabatta fattening?

Yes, eating too much ciabatta can be fattening. Due to the high-calorie content, you might accidentally exceed your daily calorie intake. Ciabatta is a delicious bread to have now and then, but it’s important to monitor how much you have if you plan on losing weight.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Ciabatta is a light and fluffy bread that can spice up any meal. People usually dip this bread in soups or cover it with cooked vegetables like onion, peppers, and tomatoes. Of course, it’s a delicious treat to have occasionally, but you shouldn’t forget that it’s technically white bread.

Studies have shown that white bread can increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes. This is due to the high amount of calories and refined carbs. If you want to stay healthy on your diet, opt for whole-wheat bread or any type of bread that contains whole-wheat flour only.

Some healthy versions comprise sourdough bread, 100% whole-wheat, Ezekiel bread, flaxseed bread, rye bread, and oat bread. These usually contain fewer saturated fats and sugars. Just make sure to check the nutritional information to ensure the bread is a healthier option.

Conclusion

So, is ciabatta bread actually healthy?

Ciabatta is great for a wide range of dinner meals, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Eating too much of this food could damage your long-term health. Therefore, you need to consume ciabatta moderately; otherwise, it will completely disrupt a normal balanced diet.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: March 3, 2023
7 min read 1025 Views 0 Comments
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