The Effects of White vs. Whole-wheat Bread May Vary Greatly Between Individuals
Teodora Zareva is an entrepreneur, writer, board games geek and a curious person at large. Her professional path has taken her from filmmaking and photography to writing, TEDx organizing, teaching, and social entrepreneurship. She has lived and worked in the U.S. and Bulgaria and is currently doing her MBA at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. Her biggest passion lies at the intersection of media and youth development. She is the co-founder of WishBOX Foundation, a Bulgarian NGO that helps high school students with their professional orientation by organizing events, courses, summer camps and developing digital media resources.
It’s become a convention now that when we reach for carbohydrates it is always better to choose the complex variety found in whole grain products, vegetables, and legumes. The benefits include more fiber, nutrients, and a lower glycemic response in the body (the effect the food we consume has on the levels of our blood sugar).
A new study by the Weizmann Institute published in the journal Cell Metabolism on June 6 tested the effects of whole-wheat and white bread and found that the way it was processed by the subjects was actually dependent on their individual biology, particularly the composition of their gut microbiota, rather than on the type of bread itself.
The study was a randomized crossover trial with 20 healthy subjects. For 1 week half of the participants ate industrially made white bread while the other half ate traditionally made sourdough-leavened whole-grain bread. After a two week rest period, the groups switched.
To the surprise of researchers, there were no significant differences between the effects of the two types of bread, based on multiple clinical parameters like wakeup glucose levels, levels of essential minerals, fat and cholesterol levels, kidney and liver enzymes, and several markers for inflammation and tissue damage. About half the people had a better response to the processed, white flour bread, and the other half had a better response to the whole wheat sourdough.
However, there was a statistically significant interpersonal variability in the glycemic response to different bread types. Actually, it turned out that the glycemic response to each type of bread and the way it was metabolized was person-specific and could be predicted solely based on the microbiome makeup of that person, collected prior to the study. The microbiome itself was resilient to the intervention and did not change in individuals as a result of the study.
The findings suggest that making blanket statements about a particular type of diet may not be appropriate and understanding dietary effects requires taking into account person-specific factors.
Eran Elinav, a researcher in the Department of Immunology at the Weizmann Institute and one of the study's senior authors said:
"The findings for this study are not only fascinating but potentially very important, because they point toward a new paradigm: different people react differently, even to the same foods. To date, the nutritional values assigned to food have been based on minimal science, and one-size-fits-all diets have failed miserably. These findings could lead to a more rational approach for telling people which foods are a better fit for them, based on their microbiomes."
The gut micriobiome is an exciting new area of study. Research has shown that the micriobiome make up varies greatly between individuals and has significant effects on the absorption of nutrients, our weight, and even our mental health and mood. Its composition starts changing from the moment we are born, based on the method of our birth, whether we were breastfed, how much we are exposed to nature and dirt, the intake of antibiotics, and what types of food we eat. Fecal transplantation is even used in some severe cases, to restore the colonic microflora and introduce healthy bacteria to the gut.
Watch this fascinating video, where Dr. Rhonda Patrick discusses how the gut microbiota affects our health with Dr. Erica Sonnenburg, a senior research scientist in the Sonnenburg lab and Dr. Justin Sonnenburg, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford.
Want a happy, satisfying relationship? Psychologists say the best way is to learn to take a joke.
- New research looks at how partners' attitudes toward humor affects the overall quality of a relationship.
- Out of the three basic types of people, people who love to be laughed at made for better partners.
- Fine-tuning your sense of humor might be the secret to a healthy, happy, and committed relationship.
A measles comeback is not the sort of return our children deserve.
- The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven't received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years.
- In 2016 in Europe there were 5,273 cases of measles. One year later that jumped to 21,315 cases.
- Discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield's false study linking vaccines and autism still influences parents, two decades later.
A new study delivers the dark financial reality of cancer.
- 62 percent of cancer patients report being in debt due to their treatment.
- 55 percent accrue at least $10,000 in debt, while 3 percent file for bankruptcy.
- Cancer costs exceed $80 billion in America each year.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.