Thursday, June 28, 2012

Julian Bakery Smart Carb Bread review

I've been looking for a low-carb, high-fiber bread for us for a while now. Most of the stores around here just don't stock anything like that. The closest I've been able to get is Wonder's Light Wheat, 2 slices of which have 80 calories, 18 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of fiber (net carbs is 13 grams). The flavor isn't bad, if you like wheat bread (I don't care for it unless it's toasted).
Then I found Julian Bakery with a whole line of low- to zero-carb breads. They also have gluten-free breads. So I checked to see if there were any stores in Minnesota that carried this bread, even though it's expensive (at almost $8 a loaf, that's damned expensive for bread). HyVee in Mankato, Rochester, and Owatonna are the only stores in Minnesota that carry it.
Since we were going to visit my son in Faribault last weekend, and Mankato is only 45 minutes away, I thought we'd make a run over there and pick up a loaf or two (of different varieties) to see if it would be worth ordering online. Well, there's also a HyVee in Faribault, so I thought I'd stop in there and see if they had any, just on the off chance that someone had wanted it and they had ordered it for them (stranger things have happened). Lo and behold, the HyVee in Faribault did have two varities of the Julian Bakery low carb bread - Smart Carb 1, and Smart Carb 2, cinnamon raisin. So I picked up a loaf of each and could hardly wait until we got home to try them.
Now, the Smart Carb 1 has 109 calories per slice (wow!), 13 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of fiber (for 1 gram net carbs). The cinnamon raisin has 137 calories per slice (another wow!), 15 grams of carbs, and 13 grams of fiber (for 2 grams of net carbs). While this is great for someone who is counting carbs for blood sugar control, I have to say that the flavor leaves a bit to be desired. Both breads are really bland, even toasted and buttered, and the cinnamon raisin one? Well, I can't tell it's supposed to be cinnamon at all - there's no cinnamon flavor to it in the slightest (but I have that complaint about every cinnamon raisin bread I've ever bought, so this isn't a new thing).
I like the fact that the breads are made with all natural ingredients, and that a lot of them are organically grown. But for the price I paid for the bread, I expect it to have more flavor. It's also very dry and not something that makes a good sandwich - it's too heavy (a 1 lb loaf has 15 slices, and that includes the heels). I don't know if it's the combination of ingredients that makes it bland, or if something is lacking in the recipe, but these two breads are not something I'll be buying again. And for $7.99 a loaf, I'm not willing to try the other varieties either.


  1. I bought some..6 loaves to be exact. I loved the taste..but after a few weeks of eating a couple servings a day I gained back all the weight I had lost from low carb dieting. The only thing that was different in my diet was this Juians bread...I have read on a few sites that the bread they make causes diabetics blood sugar to increase quite a bit, some are saying it can't possibly be as low carb as they claim. I won't be buying that again.

    1. I think the only reason they can call it low carb is because they're going by net carbs - total grams of carbs - grams of fiber = net carbs. Supposedly, the fiber makes the carbs digest more slowly and would therefore raise blood sugar less than bread without as much fiber would. But if you look at the calories per slice - it has 2 1/2 times the calories per slice as Wonder's Light Wheat bread, so I can see where a person could gain weight eating this bread, especially if they had it for more than one meal a day - toast for breakfast and in a sandwich for lunch, say (2 slices of toast and 2 slices in a sandwich, that alone is 436 calories before you add any butter, dressing, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, etc). I wasn't worried about the calories, we don't eat a lot of bread, maybe once or twice a week for each of us, so that wasn't a concern. Another thing I found out is that the bread molds really quickly - you have to use it up within 5 or 6 days of opening the bag, otherwise it will begin to go moldy, even in a breadbox.


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