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Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Real Thing vs. The Skinny Version


If there is one food in blog land that is both adored and despised simultaneously ,it's bagels.

Some are on the side of the fence that jumped with excitement and glee ( totally don't get that show btw ) when they came out with those Bagel Thins. They're the people that never eat bagels despite lusting over them because , well they're bagels.

The reason they are so good is the same reason they are so "bad".

Now, I am on the side of the fence that will jump at the chance for a trip to The Great Canadian Bagel and I had to try out Tim Horton's "new" cheese bagel . Never mind the fact that I have had many a cheese bagel and know what they taste like ( slight side note, I actually think Timmy's cheese bagel is kind of grossly cheesy. It is delicious toasted with butter though but I digress). Sure, I think a Bagel Thin is a good idea for the calorie conscious eater but :

a/ A bagel thin is not a bagel in anyway
b/ If you want a bagel , eat one! I promise you'll live . Seas may part and the heavens may open but you will live.

When I started seeing Bagel Thins popping up on everyone's plate , I wondered : Are they really like a bagel ? Are they any better for you than a bagel ?

When choosing a Bagel Thin or Sandwich Thin for that matter, you have a couple choices. Probably fewer if you are a Canadian gal like me.

Thomas' Bagel Thins

These guys are 110 calories a piece and come in Plain , 100 % Whole Wheat and Everything .

Stats for the Whole-wheat Bagel Thins:



Serving Size: 1 bagel
Servings Per Container: 8
Calories: 110
Calories from Fat: 10
Total Fat: 1g
Sodium: 190 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 24g
Dietary Fibre: 5g
Sugars: 3g
Protein: 6g

Nutritional stats are lovely to look at but often make us overlook the more important things.
Like ingredients.

Now I must say when researching this post, I found it very odd that one company , Bimbo Bakeries makes both the Arnold Sandwich Thins and the Thomas Bagel thins. So I figured I 'd take a look at the ingredients and stats for both products in comparison to an actual carbalicious bagel.

Unbleached Enriched Wheat Flour [Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Reduced Iron, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid], Water, Sugar, Cellulose Fiber, Cornmeal, Yeast, Salt, Monoglycerides, Wheat Gluten, Preservatives (Calcium Propionate, Sorbic Acid), Guar Gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Soybean Oil, Soy Flour.

For the Multigrain sandwich thins

Source :

Serving Size: 1 Roll
Servings Per Container: 8
Calories: 100
Calories from Fat: 10
Total Fat: 1g
Sodium: 230 mg
Total Carbohydrates: 22g
Dietary Fiber: 5g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 4g

Whole Grain Wheat Flour ,Water ,Wheat Bran ,Sugar ,Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Gluten Cellulose ,Yeast,Sodium Chloride ,Polydextrose ,Canola Oil ,Soybean Oil ,Preservatives,Calcium Propionate ,Sorbic Acid ,Guar Gum ,Wheat (Triticum Vulgare) Flour,Monoglycerides ,Citric Acid ,Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate ,Sucralose

At a glance one one would probably think that the Sandwich Thins would be a better choice than the Bagel thins because they are 100 calories , less sugar and less carbs. They are also lower in protein though, but not by much . Despite the lower calories , the Sandwich thins definitely have scarier sounding ingredients than the Bagel thins . I have no idea what some of these items are and while the Bagel thins ingredient list isn't perfect either, it's a bit shorter.

But how do they measure up to an actual bagel ?

A whole wheat bagel from The Great Canadian Bagel


322 calories

1 gram of fat

9.4 grams of protein

69.0 grams of carbs

4.6 grams of fibre

455 mgs of sodium


Obviously a real bagel is going to be more calories. It's a bagel not a thinned down skinnified version . I was shocked to see that a real bagel has the same amount of fat and near the same amount of fibre as a sandwich or bagel thin .

Yes the sodium and carbs are higher , but again, its larger.

Whole grain whole wheat flour including the germ, water, sugar/glucose-fructose, whole grain rye, cornmeal, salt, vegetable oil (canola or soybean), *yeast, malted barley flour, wheat gluten, calcium propionate, monoglycerides, sorbic acid. May contain potassium sorbate. *order may change. May contain soybean, egg, sesame seeds, milk ingredients and sulphites

Some of these ingredients are in the bagel and sandwich thins but I am happy to see more whole ingredients even if they may be cornmeal or canola oil.

Verdict: Bagel thins and sandwich thins are a good convenience food for the calorie conscious who don't have the time to slice a bagel in half if need be or would like more than half.

If time is no factor , slice your bagel in half and eat half, or eat scoop some of the innards of bread out and eat both halves.

If you'd normally eat more than one bagel or sandwich thin , then ditch them and jump on the bagel love bandwagon. A real bagel can be delicious, fulfilling and so worth it.


  1. I won't eat bagels (and you know why) but I WILL eat bagel thins. I could never get through a whole bagel, anyhow.

  2. I always look at the ingredients of the food I eat. I buy my bagels fresh at the Farmer's Market. Pretty much all of them have been made the day you buy them or the day before. And they only have about five ingredients (all fresh)! Those may be a little higher in calories, but they are worth it. I have never eaten a bagel or a sandwich thin.

  3. Never had a bagel thin, cant seem to venture beyond blueberry, cinnamon raisin, plain cinnamon-all with butter and honey or strawberry creme cheese. Yes, I am sooo adventurous. You've convinced me that bagel thin isn't a bagel, so I wont bother to buy them!


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