“Cloud bread,” a carbohydrate and gluten-free bread that contains no flour, yeast, or traditional bread ingredients, is popping up all over health food Instagram feeds. It was also named one of the top health trends that will be huge in 2016 by Pinterest. The bread, which looks like a cross between pita bread, a rice cake, and, well, a cloud, is getting high marks from carb-watchers, who call it “divine,” “yummy,” and “pretty.”
The basic recipe – which is only three ingredients – involves separating three eggs, and mixing the yolks with three tablespoons of cottage cheese or cream cheese, until smooth.
In another bowl, you’ll add cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat them on high speed until they form stiff peaks, and then gently fold the yolk mixture, and then bake. For step-by-step instructions and cook times, see Food.com’s recipe. You can add a sweetener, like honey, or allspice for a savory flavor.
But is this better for you than actual bread? Experts say it depends on what you’re looking for.
“If you’re trying to cut carbs or calories cloud bread isn’t such a bad choice,” registered dietitian-nutritionist Karen Ansel, co-author of The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life tells Yahoo Health. The cottage cheese version contains extra protein (five grams per two-slice serving), which can help fill you up and is similar to the amount of protein you’d get in an egg, she says.
The lack of gluten is also a perk for people with celiac disease or are gluten intolerant, registered dietitian Alissa Rumsey, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics tells Yahoo Health.
But cloud bread is also much higher in fat than “regular” bread, especially if you make it with cream cheese, Ansel notes. A two-slice serving of the cream cheese version, for example, has six grams of fat and nearly three grams of saturated fat. (However, Ansel says, the cottage cheese version has about half that, with three grams of fat and one gram of saturated fat per serving.)
Cloud bread also has very minimal fiber, Rumsey says, while people can typically two to four grams of fiber per slice by eating most whole grain and multigrain breads.
Also worth pointing out: Cloud bread doesn’t taste like actual bread. “If you’re expecting it to taste like actual bread, the ingredients infer that you will probably be disappointed,” certified dietitian-nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CEO of NY Nutrition Group, tells Yahoo Health.
Overall, Rumsey advises sticking with wheat bread if you enjoy it (and can tolerate it), and have cloud bread as an occasional low-carb treat.
However, Moskovitz says there are definitely pros and cons to 100 percent whole wheat bread and cloud bread. “Cloud bread is absolutely better for those with a severe gluten intolerance, wheat allergy, need to watch their carb intake or just want a lower-calorie option for their turkey sandwiches,” she says. “On the flip side, whole wheat bread has slightly more fiber and most recipes have a lot less artery-clogging saturated fat.”
If you’re just trying to increase your protein intake and cut your carbs, Ansel calls it a “better bet than white bread.” Her advice: Consider the cream cheese cloud bread a fun treat while the cottage cheese version is fine for every day use.