Food Drinks

Supermarket white bread is as good for you as whole-wheat

Science says the humble white loaf isn't so bad for you after all.

Researchers have found eating white bread has similar health benefits to whole-wheat bread in the short-term.

In the last few years we’ve become deeply carb-avoidant. White bread, white pasta, white rice have all come under the firing line by experts who’ve claimed gluten is a no-go if you’re after optimal health.

But a new study shows that when it comes to short term health benefits there’s very little difference between white or whole-wheat breads, the Daily Mail reports.

Researchers looked at the reactions of 20 healthy volunteers after eating either white or whole-wheat sourdough.

The sample group were given white bread for a week, then no bread for two weeks, followed by another week of artisanal whole-wheat sourdough.

Scientists report there's not that much difference over the short term between the two types of bread. Photo: Getty Images
Scientists report there's not that much difference over the short term between the two types of bread. Photo: Getty Images

Interestingly they found some showed a blood sugar spike after eating white bread, but spikes were also reported among those eating sourdough too.

While a blood sugar changes are to be expected with white bread because of how quickly it’s digested, sourdough digests at a much slower rate because of its fibre-rich content.

The Israeli scientists also found consistent levels of healthy gut bacteria and blood nutrients for both groups too.

Eating white bread is delicious, but as with anything moderation is key. Photo: Getty Images
Eating white bread is delicious, but as with anything moderation is key. Photo: Getty Images

Before you think the findings give you licence to take up white bread with abandon, there’s been some criticism of the study as it’s believed the health benefits may only be similar over a short period of time.

Given white bread is much lower in fibre than more-denser whole-wheat varieties; a lowered roughage intake could have some longer-term health effects.

Dr Eran Segal, one of the study’s authors’ said: “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.”

But the authors did point out the study didn’t take into account that many people eat less high fibre bread, such as whole-wheat sourdough.

Dr Avarham Levy commented: “We know that because of its high fibre content, people generally eat less whole wheat bread.

"We didn't take into consideration how much you would eat based on how full you felt. So the story must go on."