Is Lettuce-Wrapped Food Really That Much Better For You?

Lettuce-wrapped burgers and sandwiches have long been a health craze for carb-conscious individuals. But is this bread alternative worth all the hype? Here's what you should know.

Bread is a staple for most people. But many store-bought bread products are full of sugar and preservatives, which can result in negative side effects. According to Healthline, most bread today is made from refined wheat. The refining process means that the bread loses most of its fiber and nutrients by the time it gets to your table. Many people experience a spike in their blood sugar when eating this kind of bread.

Bread also has many calories. One slice of bread can contain anywhere from 65 to 150 calories and 10 to 30 grams of carbohydrates (via Verywell Fit). A three-ounce serving of lettuce, on the other hand, only has 10 to 15 calories and one to two grams of carbohydrates (via Livestrong). Based on calories and carbohydrates alone, using lettuce instead of bread is an easy way to be healthier.

Lettuce is not as filling as bread

Although lettuce has fewer calories and carbohydrates than bread, it is not as substantial or filling. If you aren't full after eating something wrapped in lettuce, you are more likely to snack later. Carbohydrates are also found in many important foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and they are the easiest way to give our bodies energy. Some people believe cutting out carbs will help them lose weight, but this isn't necessarily true.

"Carbs get a bad rap, but when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, it's more about calories," board-certified sports nutritionist and registered dietitian Emmie Satrazemis told Well + Good. "If you're not eating more calories than you need, then you aren't going to gain weight—even if your diet includes a sizable percentage of carbs."

Wrapping something in lettuce does not instantly make it healthy. For example, a bacon cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce is going to have more calories than a sandwich made from lean turkey, spinach, mustard, and whole-grain bread. While lettuce-wrapped food can cut down calories and carbohydrates, it isn't necessarily the best option.