Five-to-One Fiber Rule

Alison raided my pantry.

If you didn’t get a chance to see it, we took a peek inside my pantry and Alison gave some of her best tips & tricks for particular foods/ingredients. One of the items we needed to work on was our sandwich bread.

The bread we had was Private Selection Multigrain Sliced Wide Pan Bread. Sounds healthy, right? While the first ingredient was “whole wheat flour”, the second ingredient was “enriched wheat flour”, which is truly white, refined flour. This limits the amount of fiber (and nutrients!) the bread contains.

Did you know, it is estimated, if American adults consumed at least 15 grams of fiber per day, it would save our country $80 billion a year? Why? Because that is how much money goes in to managing constipation every year. (1)

Even as someone who watches what she eats, the word “multigrain” deceived me.

When a package says “multigrain”, “stone-ground’ or  “seven-grain” it doesn’t automatically make it healthy.

So, what kind of bread should we buy?

Dr. Michael Greger has a little hack to help us narrow down our bread choices -- the Five-to-One Rule (2).

It’s simple. If the ratio of grams of carbohydrates to grams of dietary fiber is five or less, buy the bread! If it’s more than 5, put it back on the shelf. Here’s how you do the math:

Total Carbohydrates (divided by) Total Fiber

5 or less = passes the test

More than 5 = fails the test

Let’s put the Private Selection Multigrain Sliced Wide Pan Bread to the test.

Private Selection Multigrain Bread | Wholesome LLC

The first ingredient may be “whole wheat flour”, but a lot of the other ingredients are junk—for a lack of a better word.

Let’s see if the Private Selection 100% Whole Wheat Sliced Wide Pan Bread is better.

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It’s better, but still not there.

Luckily, the bread that I recently snuck in the cart without my husband looking meets the Five-to-One Rule!

5-to-1 Rule - Dave's Killer Bread | Wholesome LLC

Keep in mind, just because a brand has one product that fits the bill, it doesn’t mean the others do too. Dave’s Killer Bread White Bread Done Right is a 10.5 and their Honey Oats Flax is a 7.7.

What about Brownberry 12 Grain Bread? Nope.

5-to-1 Rule - Brownberry 12 Grain |  Wholesome LLC
5-to-1 Rule - Angelic Bakehouse | Wholesome LLC

This ratio can be used with breads, cereals and any other types of packaged foods! It’s important to note, this is a general rule of thumb. If you aren’t finding products 5 or below, reach for the products that are closer to 5. For example, if a product scoring 6.5 is the lowest you can find go with it and avoid the product that scores a 12.5.

Want to see other packaged foods that make the list? Request our Five-to-One cheat sheet below!

Want to see a more from Dr. Greger himself? Watch the video below.

Do you have a favorite bread that meets Dr. Greger’s Five-to-One Rule? Let us know in the comments!


(1) The Five To One Fiber Rule. Michael FACLM -

(2) Greger, M., & Stone, G. (2018). How not to die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease. London, England: Pan Books. Pages 375 - 376.