"A bagel should have a slightly crispy crust, notable 'pull' when bitten into, like a good Italian bread, chewy innards, and a freshly baked flavor," said Nicole Sarrubbo, associate editor, Consumer Reports. "And once you find a delicious bagel, what you do next is important. We found that toasting can change the texture of the bagel, sometimes improving it, sometimes not, while also altering the taste in some instances. And of course, adding cream cheese or any other topping gives your bagel a whole new dimension."
According to the report, topping a bagel with two tablespoons of cream cheese adds 100 calories and 10 grams of fat. Less caloric options include smoked salmon, which adds just 35 calories and 1 gram of fat. Sarrubbo suggests other toppings such as jam or hummus to keep calories and fat down.
The nutritional value of a bagel depends on the size and type. The report points out that "everything" bagels, which contain onion, garlic, sesame seed, poppy seed, and other toppings, tend to have more fat probably as a result of the additional seeds. The full-size bagels have 260 to 350 calories, usually 1 to 4.5 grams of fat, 330 to 660 milligrams of sodium, and 2 to 5 grams of fiber.
For consumers with a gluten intolerance, there are Udi's Gluten Free bagels, but they have a few drawbacks. For starters, they have 9 grams of fat, far more than most others tested, as a result of the ingredients that replace wheat flour. The Udi's bagel rated "Good" by Consumer Reports, whose tasters noted a dry, tough crust and a cakey, crumbly texture.
Consumer Reports is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for health reform, product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.