Should you choose white or wholemeal bread?

17th Jul 17 | Lifestyle

For many years, health experts have claimed that wheat bread is better than its white counterpart, but is that really the case?

White or wholemeal bread? It depends on your gut

For many years, health experts have claimed that wheat bread is better than its white counterpart.

However, a new study suggests that this may not hold true for everyone.

Scientists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel have compared different kinds of bread viewed as being on opposite ends of the health spectrum. These include an industrial white bread made from refined wheat and a sourdough-leavened bread made in an artisanal bakery from freshly stone-milled whole grain wheat flour and baked in a stone hearth oven, "assumed to possess superior properties".

Twenty study participants were then divided into two groups and asked to consume large quantities of bread for a week, and after a two-week break they switched the breads.

Accordingly, tests revealed that eating bread of any kind affected the blood levels of sugar, minerals, liver enzymes and other substances.

But the researchers were shocked to find that some people didn't have a bad glycemic response to white bread.

"We were sure that the sourdough bread would come out a healthier choice, but much to our surprise, we found no difference between the health effects of the two types of bread," said Professor Eran Segal.

In response to the findings, the researchers have theorised that difference in the gut microbiome may explain why people respond differently to different breads.

But in spite of the discovery, Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist from New York University Langone Medical Center, has stated that the results of the small study don't offer a "free pass" to eat a lot of processed white bread.

"Epidemiological research has shown that people who eat more whole grains, such as whole grain breads, crackers, cereals, brown rice and quinoa, have a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, inflammation, obesity and certain cancers," she told CBS News.

The full study has been published in Cell Metabolism.

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