Kimberly Cantrell, Texas Wheat Intern

In a study published on June 6 in the Cell Metabolism journal, Weizmann Institute researchers found that a diet including white bread was not any more detrimental or beneficial to the health of the study’s participants versus the health of subjects who consumed only whole wheat bread.

The study’s 20 participants, who normally consumed 10 percent of their daily calories from bread, were tasked with consuming an increased level of either processed white bread or whole-wheat sourdough bread. Then, after a two week period with no bread consumption, the groups were reversed. Throughout the trial, health variables, including glucose, essential minerals, fat and cholesterol levels, kidney and liver enzymes and markers for tissue damage and inflammation, were monitored.

Through the evaluation of the participant’s health status, it was concluded that there was no clinically significant difference between the subjects based upon the type of bread consumed. However, it was noted that different people have varying glycemic response to different diets. In the study, half of the participants reacted better to the whole wheat sourdough, while the other half reacted better to the processed white bread. When the data was averaged, there was no significant difference between the group’s responses to the types of bread consumed.

Researchers say this study opens a new door for nutritional insight. Currently, nutritional values are based on a one-size-fits-all method, while this study deduces that different people will react in various ways to different diets. This discovery could lead to a more tailored diet strategy that is based upon the individual’s health needs and bodily responses to food consumption.

It should also be noted that this study required all participants to consume the same amount of carbohydrates, regardless of bread type. This meant a participant on the whole wheat bread study was required to eat more bread than the subject on the white bread diet due to the smaller amount of available carbohydrates in whole wheat bread. The study did not take into consideration the effect of its subjects continuing to eat the whole wheat bread, even after they were full.

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