Everybody loves the smell of freshly-baked bread, whether it’s in a bakery or at home. Bread is a staple item in most kitchens, forming the basis of so many meals from sandwiches to the always amazing cheese on toast.
However, as much as we all love a crusty white loaf, we’ve known for years that it isn’t the healthiest option – but is this really the case?
Researchers have now suggested that white bread is just as healthy as brown, meaning your mum could have been wrong all those times she insisted you eat wholemeal toast for breakfast.
Despite years of brown bread being hailed as the healthiest option – resulting in processed white bread sales falling by 75 per cent since 1974, according to the UK National Food Survey – science has found that the effects on the body for both types of bread is basically the same.
Scientists from Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science looked at fat, glucose, cholesterol and essential mineral levels, as well as gut bacteria, in 20 healthy people. Ten of these were given a large portions of processed white bread to eat over the course of a week, while the other half had whole-wheat sourdough bread.
They were expecting to find a big difference between the results, with whole-wheat coming out on top. However, they actually discovered that there was no real stand-out differences, with white bread giving similar results.
Even when the two groups took a two-week break from the bread diets and then switched from white to brown and vice-versa, nothing really changed when it came to the health effects.
This means there is a good chance that you don’t need to feel guilty about popping a white loaf in your shopping trolley the next time you head to the supermarket – although you’ll probably still want to enjoy it in moderation.
However, some scientists have warned that more research needs to be done because the study was so small. It could be that the low number of people involved meant it was hard to spot any differences, although lets hope we still have an excuse to enjoy a white loaf if anyone else gives the research a go!
Others have also advised that wholemeal and brown bread have the added benefit of containing plenty of fibre, which is something many of us don’t get enough of in our diets.