The age-old question about bread may have been answered by researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Which is better for you wheat or white bread? The study published in the journal Cell Metabolism said the answer depended on a person’s gut bacteria. The researchers were searching for the glycemic response after eating wheat or white bread. Their data suggested that it was not the bread that caused their glycemic response, or how much blood glucose is in a person’s body after eating a meal, but the bacteria found in each person’s gut.
Gut bacteria or gut flora are microorganisms living in an animal’s digestive tracts. They can be found in all animals, including humans, and insects. In humans, the gut has the largest number of bacteria and different species. Gut bacteria is found one or two years after birth. In this mutual relationship, gut bacteria and humans help each other to survive.
The researchers, who were joined by scientists from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Tel Aviv University recruited 20 study participants. The participants were then fed six meals of bread daily for two weeks. Ten participants ate three meals daily of white bread and three other meals of white bread with butter. The other participants were also fed six meals a day of whole wheat sourdough bread.
After two weeks, the participants stopped eating bread for a week to “reset their guts,” Popular Science reported. After the week, the participants ate the other type of bread for two weeks. The researchers, all the while, measured their glycemic responses.
The higher the glycemic response in a person after a meal the higher the chances the person has of developing Type II diabetes. It has been the long-held belief that processed and refined foods caused a high glycemic response while unprocessed did not. Immunology researcher and study author Eran Elinav said that the data collected did not show this response.
The data revealed that it was the gut bacteria that affected a person’s glycemic response and not the type of food. The bread that is good for one person may not be good for another individual, Popular Science wrote. What’s healthy for one person may not be necessarily healthy for someone else. By sampling each participant’s gut bacteria, Elinav and his team of researchers could “predict which type of bread” could trigger a higher glycemic response.
More research needs to be done to confirm the hypothesis about a person’s gut bacteria. In the meantime, dietitians recommend not changing your diet and to get more exercise. The authors end their study in Cell Metabolism by writing about the “importance of personalization in dietary recommendations” that help individual people. The “one-size-fits-all diets have failed miserably,” Eran Segal, author, and computational biologist said.
By Cheryl Werber