When You Eat A Bagel Every Day, This Is What Happens To Your Body

Whether you enjoy them plain or with raisins, poppy seeds, garlic, or onion, bagels are one of the most popular breakfast items in America, with between two to 10 million sold around the country every day (via Spoon University). 

Bagels have been one of America's favorites since Jewish immigrants brought them to the country in the beginning of the 20th century. The earliest bagels weighed between 2 to 3 ounces, and developed a crust by being boiled in water with lye and malt extract, before being finished in a regular oven. Up north, Montreal immigrants created a larger, sweeter bagel with a dough that had both egg and honey, and which was boiled in honey water, topped with sesame or egg, and then baked in wood ovens. Maria Balinska, who studies bagel history, says bagels are related to pretzels, since both are prepared and cooked using the same methods (via History).  

There are no doubt that bagels are tasty and versatile, but are they the right carb choice for breakfast?

A daily bagel may hurt your fiber intake

Traditional bagels are usually made with flour, salt, water, and yeast, with the occasional sweetener like honey or malt syrup added. A medium, plain bagel has 275 calories, of which 1.5 grams are fat and 443 grams are sodium. It also contains 55 grams of carbs, 9 grams of sugar, 1.5 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein (via Eating Well). Contrast that with a slice of whole wheat bread, which has 82 calories, 1.1 grams of fat, 114 grams of sodium, 13.8 grams of carbs, 1.9 grams of fiber, 1.4 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein (via VeryWellFit). 

What does this all mean? That one bagel is the caloric equivalent of more than three slices of whole wheat bread with less than third of the fiber. Given this, a bagel isn't doing much to meet your daily fiber requirement of 21 to 25 grams a day, per Healthline. And getting enough fiber is key, as it helps keep your blood sugar balanced, your cholesterol in check, and fuels healthy gut bacteria. So, when you fill up every morning with a bagel, it may prevent you from eating as many fiber-rich foods that you need on a daily basis. 

Refined carbs in bagels may harm your overall health

A bagel's lack of fiber isn't the only problem with this popular breakfast item. Unless it's whole wheat, your bagel is likely made with white flour, which undergoes a milling process that removes the hull of the wheat. This makes the flour last longer in your pantry, but it also leaves you with a product that's just starch, aka refined carbs (via Livestrong). And your body reacts to refined carbs in the same way it does to sugar, leading to mood highs and lows as your blood sugar fluctuates (via Global Healing). 

What's more, if you eat a white bagel every day, you could see an increase in belly fat over a five-year period, as well as increase your chances of developing type-2 diabetes, inflammation, and heart disease (via Healthline). 

Enjoy a bagel a day the right way

Still don't want to give up your daily bagel? Good news: There are a few things you can do to make it better for your health. Instead of ordering a regular bagel, shrink it, and ask for a mini bagel, which can help you save up to 200 calories a day — and a whopping 24-pound weight loss over a year if you eat bagels every day (via Health). And while you're making your bagel smaller, go for a whole grain option to avoid the refined carbs. 

You also might want to consider using low-calorie, high-protein fillings, such as hummus, peanut butter, or scrambled eggs (via Food Network). And if your favorite bagel joint doesn't have smaller servings, you can also opt to hollow out the bread, or eat half and save the rest for the next day.