Whole-Wheat or White Bread: Which Is Healthier?
It’s a well-known fact that whole-wheat bread is better for you than white bread. But hold on. Research conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Israel suggests that actually depends, at least in part, on your gut microbiome—the complex community of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract.
The study compared the effects of whole-grain bread and white bread in 20 healthy people. Researchers examined several factors, including blood glucose levels, fat, cholesterol, inflammation markers, and kidney and liver enzymes, as well as the effect on the gut microbiome. For one week, 10 study participants ate fresh, whole-wheat sourdough and the other 10 ate industrially produced white bread containing refined wheat flour, preservatives, and emulsifiers. Participants then ate no bread at all for a period of two week, after which they switched bread types.
According to researchers, although bread type did not affect gut microbiome, there were differences in how each person responded to the different breads. For example, about half of the study participants had higher blood sugar levels after eating the white bread, and half had higher levels after eating the whole-wheat bread. In addition, researchers could predict which bread participants would respond better to, based on their gut microbiomes. A healthy diet and good nutrition may not be “one size fits all.”