Why does whole wheat taste so good

Whole grains aren't always healthier

Whole grain or white bread? It's not that easy to answer, as a new study shows. Apparently people react differently to the staple food. Some people prefer the light variant, others the dark variant.

For billions of people, bread is the ultimate staple food, in our culture it provides around ten percent of the calories that an adult consumes every day. Mostly it consists of wheat that was cultivated around 10,000 years ago. Bread has been made from it for at least 6,000 years. Because it is easy to prepare and its ingredients are easy to store.

Despite its long history, the carbohydrate-rich food no longer has the best reputation. It is considered a fat smack. In particular, white bread like rolls has little to offer besides “empty” calories, according to modern nutritionists. If you have bread, you should at least choose a dark or wholemeal variety. This contains more fiber, minerals and trace elements. In addition, the bread is often made with sourdough instead of baker's yeast. That should also be healthier.

Which is healthier?

However, the scientific facts are not clear, as the researchers led by Tal Korem from the Weizmann Institute write in their current work. One of the reasons for this could be that bread today often still contains a number of other additives that are supposed to make it more durable, for example. Health effects are therefore difficult to measure. But it could also be that the conflicting results are due to human metabolism.

For the study, the team compared two specific types of bread: a very "unhealthy" variant - a packaged white bread from the supermarket - with a supposedly very healthy one - a wholegrain sourdough bread baked by a small baker. The guinea pigs were 20 healthy adults.

Bread diet

Half of them had to meet 25 percent of their daily calorie requirements for a week from white bread; previously, their diet only consisted of ten percent bread. The other group received the same requirement with the wholemeal sourdough bread. All participants should not consume other wheat products such as pasta during this period. After a two-week break, the groups swapped their nutrition programs.

During the whole time stool swabs were examined and various blood values ​​were measured regularly: blood sugar, minerals, cholesterol, inflammation values, etc. The first results were sobering: the different diets had no effects on average. The bacterial composition in the intestine also remained completely unchanged all the time.

The gut decides

On closer inspection, however, the researchers discovered differences in the glycemic response to bread, i.e. changes in blood sugar levels. Popular theories suggest that some high-carbohydrate foods cause blood sugar levels to rise particularly quickly, while others are slow to get into the bloodstream. The latter is desirable for health reasons. But - according to the surprising result of the two-week bread test - how much blood sugar rises after consuming certain foods is likely to depend much less on the food in question than on the person who eats it.

Because the test subjects reacted quite differently, in about half the blood sugar rose less rapidly if they had eaten white bread, in the other half exactly the opposite was the case.

The different physical reactions are likely to have their cause in the intestines or in the bacteria living there - because people with a similar microbiome had also reacted similarly to the respective bread. The researchers suspect that this is not only the case with bread. "Different people just react differently, even to the same food," said co-author Eran Elinav in a broadcast. Dietary guidelines that apply to everyone are probably much less common than expected. Perhaps the solution would lie in the gut: in the future, an analysis of the bacteria could make optimal nutrition possible.

Eva Obermüller, science.ORF.at

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