For years we’ve been told to avoid white bread and opt for wheat or whole-grain whenever possible. In fact, according to the UK National Food Survey, white bread sales have decreased by 75 percent since 1974, while purchases of whole-wheat bread have increased by 85 percent.
Now, though, research is suggesting that all our efforts were a complete waste. That’s right, that extra $4 you spent in Trader Joe’s for the organic, whole-wheat sack of fluff could have been spent somewhere else.
Is wheat bread better than white?
According to a study conducted by the Weizmann Institute, white bread is just as “healthy” as its wheat counterpart.
In the study, two groups of healthy patients were asked to consume either commercially made white bread or traditionally made sourdough-leavened whole-grain bread. Then, after the participants went bread-free for a two-week period, the researchers asked the groups to switch their diets.
"The initial finding, and this was very much contrary to our expectation, was that there were no clinically significant differences between the effects of these two types of bread on any of the parameters that we measured," senior author Eran Segal said. "We looked at a number of markers, and there was no measurable difference in the effect that this type of dietary intervention had."
Further research proved that each individual was responding differently to either the white or the whole-wheat option – with one-half of the participants responding better to the processed bread, and one half responding better to the homemade whole-wheat.
"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," senior author Eran Elinav said. "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," Elinav added.