White bread has sugar

nutrition: Is white bread healthier than you think?

The toast has fallen deep. Hyped as Toast Hawaii in the 1950s, it is now a symbol of poor nutrition: obesity triggers, a sign of culinary neglect. Soft white bread (caution gluten!) Is also a source of various diseases.

Researchers at the Israeli Weizmann Institute are now claiming that this is not true across the board. They had two groups of ten participants each eat a lot of bread for a week. You should cover about a quarter of your calorie requirement with this staple food. One group received industrially made white bread from plastic packaging, the other whole-grain bread made from sourdough freshly baked in a stone oven. After a two-week break, everyone ate an above-average amount of bread for another week. This time the other variety.

The researchers wanted to learn more about the health effects of the type of bread. They have now published their results in the magazine Cell metabolism(Korem et al, 2017).

Two weeks of bread - in the service of research

They expected the sourdough bread to turn out to be the healthier choice. But the toast held up well. At least that is how Eran Segal, one of the study directors, interpreted his own results: "To our surprise, we found no difference in the effects on health between the two types of bread." Whether sourdough or wheat bread: The blood values ​​of the test subjects did not want to differ in the two groups.

Interestingly, this also applied to the blood sugar level: it was actually assumed that white bread, which contains more simple carbohydrates, increases blood sugar more than whole-grain bread. With consequences: frequent, rapid blood sugar peaks leach the pancreas. Because it has to release insulin in order to get the blood sugar under control. In the long term, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease can result.

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Contrary to previous doctrine, however, more than half of the test participants had more blood sugar levels when they ate whole-grain sourdough bread and less violently after a toast. So should the white bread be rehabilitated? Not really.

Because the bread study by the team from Israel has some shortcomings: 20 people who eat bread for two weeks - that's not enough to get meaningful results. In order to be able to scientifically assess how healthy a food really is, researchers have to observe many thousands of test eaters over years or decades and compare the data. Only then do long-term effects become apparent. For example, the influence of fiber - of which wholemeal bread contains a lot and white bread contains almost none - on the incidence of colon cancer: Those who eat too little fiber for years are more likely to suffer from constipation and later develop more colon cancer. An aspect that does not appear at all in the current study.

Germs in the intestine control whether you can tolerate white bread

The blood sugar level examined here is also an important factor when it comes to diabetes, obesity and heart disease - the only question remains: why did it not soar as expected with a remarkable number of white bread eaters?

Scientists have long suspected the cause in the human microbiome - that is, in their individual colonization with bacteria: who reacts to which bread and how, depends on the personal intestinal flora. The team from Israel also analyzed stool samples from the bread eaters, and that's the really exciting thing about this otherwise small study. Based on the exact composition of the microbes in the intestine, the researchers want to predict in future which type of bread will cause fewer blood sugar spikes in whom. One step towards an individualized diet.

Because not everyone needs kale smoothies or chia seeds in muesli to be equally good. For some, a little more toast could add to a long life.

What can you still eat today? You can read more about this on this page on healthy eating.