Whole Wheat vs. Regular Bagels

aerial view of assorted bagels

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Some people believe they should always avoid high-carb foods, like bagels. However, in conjunction with regular physical activity, bagels can be a good breakfast or snack as a part of a well-balanced diet. Whole-wheat bagels, in particular, can be a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients.


A plain bagel, around 4 inches in diameter, has around 290 calories and weighs 105 g. A 100 percent whole-wheat bagel around the same size contains 270 calories and weighs 104 g.


A plain bagel uses white, enriched flour and contains 56.07 g of carbohydrates. This breaks down into 2.4 g of dietary fiber and around 7 g of added sugars. A whole-wheat bagel uses whole wheat flour, and contains 55 g of carbohydrates, with 8 g of dietary fiber and 8 g of added sugars.


A plain bagel contains 11.03 g of protein. A whole-wheat bagel contains a little more, with 12 g in one bagel.


Bagels are not a significant source of fat or cholesterol. A plain bagel contains 1.68 g of fat total, while a whole-wheat bagel has 2 g. About half of this fat comes from saturated fat, and none comes from trans fats.


Even enriched bagels are not significant sources of minerals. A plain bagel has around 19 mg of calcium, and just over 100 mg of phosphorus and potassium each. A plain bagel has around 561 mg of sodium. A whole-wheat bagel contains similar amounts of phosphorus and potassium, 100 mg of calcium and 440 mg of sodium.


Plain bagels made with enriched flour contain moderate amounts of some vitamins. They contain 92 mcg of folate and 69 mcg of folic acid and only trace amounts of other B vitamins. Bagels made with whole wheat will contain slightly more B vitamins, and around the same amount of folate. Whole-wheat bagels also have choline and betaine, unlike plain bagels. Neither type of bagels contain vitamin A, C or E.