Knead to know: Scientists are making white bread healthy!

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Knead to know: Scientists are making white bread healthy!

A research hub has vowed to create more healthy wheat

Sarah Knapton

Fluffy white bread could be as guilt-free as brown within a decade after UK scientists at a new government-backed research hub vowed to create more healthy wheat.
Currently white bread is so much worse because it contains a type of starch that is digested too quickly, leading to huge spikes in blood sugar that  the body can only get rid of by storing it as fat.
Over time such spikes can stop the body producing enough insulin to get rid of the blood sugar, leading to type 2 diabetes, and damage to blood cells. White bread also prevents the body feeling full, which leads to overeating.But researchers at new Quadram Institute in Norwich are planning to breed a new type of wheat which will be digested more slowly.
Professor Richard Mithen, leader of the Food and Chemistry Human Health group at the institute, said: “Hopefully it would be as delicious and have the texture you wanted normal bread to be. There wouldn’t be any taste difference.
“But it will reduce this big increase in glucose after you eat, it would fill you up, it would say ok, you’ve had a sandwich for lunch, that’s enough, you don’t need anything else.“And those starches which go down to the lower gut, they ferment those sugars to produce short-chain fatty acids and it’s widely thought those are very beneficial to gut health. So we can make that change and there are three consequences which all have health benefits.”
The team is planning to use genes from wild varieties of wheat or maize, which already have the less digestible starch, to breed with crop varieties to make white flour that would be far better for health.
They believe it could make fast food far healthier in the future, and help tackle the growing obesity epidemic.“We think about fast foods, they are fast to buy, fast to eat and very fast to digest and it’s that fast digestion that’s the problem,” added Mithen.
“Educated people who care about their health might already choose healthier brown bread, but it’s the burger bun that really needs tackling.”
Mithen was speaking at the launch of The Quadrum Institute’s new science strategy which has received £40-million (over R726-million) in government funding to help improve the world’s food and health, combat obesity and prevent antimicrobial resistance.
Professor Ian Charles, director of the institute, said: “Our aim is to improve health-span so that our population can remain healthy and independent well into old age.”
The institute brings together 300 scientists from The University of East Anglia, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Quadram Institute Bioscience.
– © The Daily Telegraph

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