Lite'r 35 Bread -- NOT

Ok, I hope I have your attention. There is a company which needs to be called out for improper labeling that could have a tremendous impact on your blood glucose. That company is the Holsum Bread company and the product is the Lite'r 35 bread.

I've been eating "light" "lite" "lite'r" breads since I was diagnosed nearly 20 years ago. Before anyone says anything else, I am completely aware that the biggest differences between "light" bread and "regular" bread are that light breads are baked into smaller loaves, sliced thinner, and cost a tremendous amount more than the regular bread. Sorry, but when I have a sandwich, I want two slices of bread, and I don't want all my carb allotment to come from bread. That frankly sucks. This allows me to have my sandwich and not feel completely deprived. Two slices of light bread, maybe some fruit or something similar, and some other form of carbohydrate that strikes my fancy, and I've got a decent lunch.

Before the remnents of Hurricane Sandy hit my area, we bought some light bread. Specifically, we bought the Lite'r 35 bread you see pictured below:

You can't see it from this photograph, but the slices are THICK. Far thicker than the bread I've eaten over the past 19 years. I thought something was up, but at first thought the bakery sliced the bread thicker but changed the height and width of the bread to make up for the thicker slices, that, in essence, each serving of bread still weighed the same as was printed on the label. Or, at the very least was CLOSE.

This next shot shows the nutrition label. I took a close up of the serving size and the weight of the serving size to show you what Holsum says the serving of bread ought to weigh, since it is NOT listed in the nutrition section of the Weis Market website I listed above.

Two slices are supposed to weigh 41 grams. According to the nutriton panel, two slices of this bread is supposed to have 17 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of fiber. Of course, that's given that the slices weigh 41 grams. Something didn't seem right, though, and I began to become skeptical that the bread actually weighed what Holsum says it is supposed to weigh. In the next pair of shots, I show a scale that has been tared to the small plate atop the scale and then I place two slices of the "Lite'r 35" bread on the plate and show the weight.

That's an additional 19g of bread! That's 46% MORE than what Holsum says on its nutrition label!

In contrast, we also bought Nature's Own WhiteWheat bread. According to its nutrition label, two slices should weigh approximately 52 grams and contain 23 grams of carbohydrates. Here are shots of the label and the bread on the scale, tared again to 0:

That's only 5 grams difference betwen the stated weight and the actual weight -- a 9.6% difference!! Very little difference, when compared to the huge difference Holsum made.

Now, big question: how many carbs are actually in those servings of bread, since they don't quite weigh what the labels say they weigh? Well, a little basic algebra (you know, 8th grade kind) can help answer that question:

Holsum bread label says: 41g (weight)/17g (carbs) = 60g (weight)/Xg (carbs): (do your cross multiplying, solve for X, answer is): ~24g carbohydrates. If I have a 1:17 insulin ratio for lunch, according to the label, I'd need just 1 unit of insulin to cover that bread. The fact is, I would need nearly 1.5 units of insulin -- a half a unit of insulin MORE -- since there are a full 7 grams of carbs MORE in that bread!!

The Nature's Way bread label: 52g (weight)/23g (carbs) = 57g (weight)/Xg (carbs): (again, do cross multiplying, solve for X, answer is): ~25g carbohydrates for the actual weight of the bread. I need the same amount of insulin for this bread as I do for the Holsum "LITE'R 35" Bread as it was sliced!

I say, BAD FORM, Holsum! I paid for bread that is supposed to have only 17g carbs. That you didn't slice the bread properly (and it tastes awful that thick) means (1) your bread has more calories than you claim; (2) your bread has more carbohydrates than you claim, which can have a tremendous impact on the blood sugars of people with diabetes. Isn't there a law that insists in truth in labeling? Couple that with the fact that Holsum bread is far more expensive than the generic/store brand and doesn't taste as good, then I say, don't buy Holsum bread or their products. Write them and insist on truth in labeling. Anyone know if the USDA, which is the government agency which supposedly regulates food labels in the US, takes complaints about inappropriate food labeling? I think Holsum ought to have its hands slapped and that they ought to be made to make up for their mistake. After all, it's OUR LIVES that are at stake -- a far bigger issue than Holsum's profits!!


Huh, your link is broken. It took me to an error page :(. Could you repost the link?

I had a nutritionist tell me that she thought most labels were incorrect. I'm not certain that most labels are incorrect, but I do think mistakes are made. I think even in this case, someone made an executive decision to stop slicing the bread thinly like they had been doing but failed to realize the implication (or maybe did and didn't care) of the action. Even if they did realize that, by slicing the bread more thickly, they'd be adding more carbs and more calories, I would like to think that the person who thought that up believed the impact would be "negligible" for the majority of people. After all, it adds only 32 calories per serving! If you eat 2 servings of bread each day, that's only 64 calories per day extra. But, over the course of a year, that's 23,360 additional calories per year -- an extra 6 lbs per year in added weight!! That doesn't even begin to take into account the raised blood sugars and the damage they do that diabetics experience if they are unaware of what they are eating.

At this point the only ingredient that the Fed holds dear is fat content and total weight or volume of the package. I have been weighing foods for years and most prepackaged food is underestimated because they must deliver what is stated or more...less would be stealing....That's why I weigh my food prepackaged food.

And the label is correct if you weigh the two slices of bread are ever going to be the same weight..;-)

The only thing I trust is my meter, and I quickly realized that bread is not a gamble worth taking. Also, there is no difference between carbs and net carbs. It's marketing spin invented by the food industry and not regulated by anyone. Two slices of the same size and weight with the same total carbs will spike me just as badly, even if one has lower "net" carbs. Same goes for white vs. whole grain. It's all deceptive labeling.

I appreciate your posting this. I sometimes feel deceived. This is not a game, playing with my ability to accurately estimate the carbs that affect my blood sugar is damaging. I have to deal with this all the time. And it is not just manipulating the serving size it is also manipulating the "net carbs." Recently Shelley over at MeAndMyDiabetes highlighted the problems with Dreamfields. If we cannot trust the claims made on the nutrition labels of these foods, then we have serious problems.

I’d agree we have serious problems! I don’t weigh it but I see bread flying all over the place. Sometimes it’s square and sometimes it’s a trapezoidal mishmosh!

I don't trust nutritional labels. Ridiculous portion sizes to skew calories/carbs, errors & intentional misinformation. Some list zero carbs because if carbs are under a certain amount based on serving size, they can legally state zero. Not helpful if you eat more than the miniscule serving.

Not that we need yet another thing to calculate, but labels don't often add up. Two hidden carb calculators: