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What’s in Panera’s Pecan Braid Pastry?

In this series, “Eating out: What’s in it?” we will be going over how you can figure out for yourself if something is unhealthy. Today we are taking a trip to Panera Bread.




1. Check the menu

In more and more urban and developed cities, some nutrition information is being publicly displayed on the menu. Look for numbers or symbols next to the menu item.


  • “M/L 250/540 cal”     — this could be found right after a soup, indicating that the small bowl is 250 calories, while a medium is 540.
  • “V,” “SF,” or “GF”     — could all be common allergy indicators / show dietary preferences (vegan, soy free, gluten free)
  • “high fib”     — your food or drink has a high amount of fiber per serving

These indicators are convenient and effective ways of narrowing down choices.




2. Go online

If you are eating at a chain restaurant, you can almost guarantee they will have the nutritional info on their websites. Some even have ingredients, and most include a common allergen guide.

In this case we have an extensive amount of information online for all of Panera Bread’s products.


  1. Go to their website
  2. On the main menu hover over “Menu Items” and select Pastries & Sweets
  3. Find and click on “Pecan Braid.” Here you will find the nutrition details and ingredients.




Summaries- Nutrition (per pastry):

  • 470 calories

For a dessert, this is low or medium calorieA unit commonly used to measure the amount of energy that is... More, depending on the person.



  • 26 grams of fat, 11 of which is saturated, 0 grams trans fat

Bread is mostly carbs, but the higher calorie deserts have more fat. Thankfully no trans fat.



  • 55mg of cholesterol, and 280mg of sodium

This does have some sodium in it, which is good to know if trying to avoid salt.

A little bit of cholesterol. This does occasionally pop up in bread.



  • 52g of carbs, 2 of which is fiber, and 23 of which is sugar

Not a good sugar to fiber ratio.

See also: How to Understand and Apply the Nutrition Facts



  • 8g protein

Most deserts are high sugar and high fat, with not very much in the way of protein.



  • Lastly, 10% of the DV for Vitamin A, 10% of your daily Vitamin C, 4% for Calcium, and 10% of your Iron

An OK source of these four micronutrientsSomething we need in very small amounts to stay alive. The e... More. Unfortunately we do not know the levels of any other vitamin or mineral in this pastry.



  • 0mg of Caffeine

Oh man!



Our approximate macro breakdown (calculated by calories, not grams): 50% fat, 43% carbs, 7% protein.

See also: How are Nutrients and Calories Rounded?




Summaries- Ingredients:


Our ingredients (to avoid confusion, I indented ingredients that composed other ingredients, and did not highlight some ingredients to avoid repetition):


  1. Croissant Dough
    1. Enriched Wheat Flour
      1. Flour
      2. Malted Barley Flour
      3. Niacin
      4. Reduced Iron"[Iron] prepared by reacting ground ferric oxide with hydrog... More
      5. Thiamine Mononitrate
      6. Riboflavin
      7. Folic Acid
    2. Butter With NaturalThis term, to be honest, does not mean much. It simply means... More Flavor
      1. Pasteurized Cream
      2. CultureThis refers to a culture of cells- keeping things like yeast... More
      3. Natural Flavor
    3. Water
    4. Wheat Flour
      1. Flour
      2. Malted Barley Flour
    5. Milk
    6. Sugar
    7. Leavening (Yeast)
    8. Eggs
    9. Vital Wheat GlutenThis is similar to wheat gluten (an additive in baking), exc... More
    10. Salt
    11. Dough Conditioner (Ascorbic AcidAnother name for vitamin c.)
  2. Pecan Filling Sugar
  3. Pecans
  4. Water
  5. Enriched Wheat Flour
    1. Flour
    2. Malted Barley Flour
    3. Niacin
    4. Iron
    5. Thiamine Mononitrate
    6. Riboflavin
    7. Folic Acid
  6. Baking Soda
  7. Cinnamon
  8. Defatted Soy Flour
  9. Egg Whites
  10. Egg Yolks
  11. Glucono Delta-Lactone"[It's] the cyclic 1,5-intramolecular ester of D -gluconic ... More
  12. Monocalcium PhosphateIt is a leavening agent because it produces CO2 when it reac... More
  13. Natural Vanilla Flavor
  14. Nonfat Milk
  15. Palm Oil
  16. Salt
  17. Soy Lecithin"Food grade lecithin is a complex mixture of substances deri... More
  18. Vital Wheat Gluten
  19. Wheat Starch
  20. Whey
  21. Xanthan Gum"The additive is a polysaccharide gum derived from Xanthomon... More
  22. White Icing
    1. Sugar
    2. Water
    3. Corn Syrup
    4. Cornstarch
    5. AgarFound in certain algae, can be used in a cell culture or lax... More
    6. Corn Starch Modified
    7. Invert Sugar"An aqueous solution of inverted or partly inverted, refined... More
    8. Natural Lemon Flavor
    9. Natural Vanilla Flavor
    10. Salt
  23. Pecans
  24. Water
  25. Egg Wash
    1. Whole Eggs
    2. Egg Yolk
    3. Dried Egg Whites


Contains egg, milk, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.






  • Alright in the micronutrient department, from what we can see at least.
  • No trans fats.
  • The macros are mostly fats.
  • Not enough fiber, in my opinion.


  • There are 43 ingredients.
  • Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin,  and Folic Acid are all micronutrients.
  • Lots of flavorings.
  • Sugar and salt are added 6 times total.

See also: Get to Know Your Nutrients




Hope this eating out tutorial / walk-through helps! More coming soon.




Thanks for reading!

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