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Wheat and white breads have same health effects, study finds


Date: October 18, 2017

It may be tough news to digest for those of us who have been sticking diligently to a whole-grain diet. But a Weizmann Institute study has found that whole wheat bread is not necessarily better for you— in terms of controlling blood sugar levels—than white bread.

A recent study by Weizmann Institute scientists Prof. Eran Segal, Prof. Avraham Levy, and Dr. Eran Elinav found that about half of the study’s participants had higher blood sugar levels after eating white bread, and half had higher levels after eating sourdough bread that consisted of whole grains. The scientists believe that the different responses were due in part to the differences in individuals’ intestinal microbes—the microbiome. They developed an algorithm connecting the microbiome’s composition with the person’s response to the type of bread. Using the algorithm, they predicted who will have high blood sugar after eating each type of bread.

“The body’s response to bread is a highly personal matter,” says Dr. Elinav.

Prof. Eran Segal is jointly a member of the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Molecular Cell Biology, and Prof. Avraham Levy is a member of the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

Dr. Eran Elinav, from the Department of Immunology, is supported by the Adelis Foundation; Andrew and Cynthia Adelson, Canada; the Estate of Bernard Bishin; Valerie and Aaron Edelheit, Santa Barbara, CA; the Else Kroener Fresenius Foundation; Jack N. Halpern; the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust; the Bernard M. and Audrey Jaffe Foundation; the Lawrence and Sandra Post Family Foundation; the Rising Tide Foundation; John L. and Vera Schwartz, Pacific Palisades, CA; Leesa Steinberg; and Yael and Rami Ungar. Dr. Elinav is the Incumbent of the Sir Marc and Lady Tania Feldmann Professorial Chair.