whitebreadIn a recent blog post, we discussed how the human body can experience measurable health benefits by eating dark chocolate that interacts with Bifidobacterium in the gut to produce anti-inflammatory compounds.

The trick about deriving nutritional benefits from dark chocolate hinges on eating bitter-tasting brands that are minimally processed.

A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry demonstrates just how versatile the healthy gut can be by taking advantage of the most popular processed food in the Western diet: white bread.

The white bread scoop

Because our diet has a direct impact on gut health, Spanish researchers from the University of Oviedo compared the intake of fibers and polyphenols (commonly found in fruits, vegetables, teas and spices) consumed in a normal diet in fecal samples taken from 38 healthy adults.

Many previous studies linking the gut microbiota to diets have focused on single foods full of soluble fibers that work as prebiotics (defined as nondigestible food ingredients that benefit human health by stimulating the growth of one or several bacterial species in the gut including Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria).

In some of those studies, pectin alone, a gelatinous polysaccharide present in ripe fruits, usually evades digestion to reach the colon where it stimulates the growth of various gut bacteria.

However, pectin was also associated with a drop of certain fecal bacteria (C. leptum and B. coccoides) in this study, leading researchers to believe that it interacts with other chemicals in oranges to create this effect.

The most interesting finding: Eating plain white bread, made with refined grains, was responsible for a spike in Lactobacillus, one of the strains of bacteria contained in EndoMune Advanced Probiotic.

Until this study, prebiotic spikes in gut bacteria were mostly observed from eating whole-grain cereals due to the fiber content.

Don’t do it!

Before you consider adding white bread to your diet, there are plenty of healthy reasons to avoid it.

The most recent study on the consumption of white bread—scientists tracking the health of some 9,200 Spanish college grads during a five-year period—found patients who ate only white bread and two or more portions each day were 40 percent more likely to become overweight or obese compared to those who ate just one portion a week.

Conversely, no significant risk was found by eating only whole-grain bread with more fiber and various kinds of carbohydrates.

These results go hand-in-hand with dietary recommendations posted by the Mayo Clinic to prevent heart disease.

Yes, white bread is better than sweets, but it has a high glycemic value, so eating a lot of it can add to your risks of obesity and diabetes, said UK nutritionist Dr. Carrie Ruxton to BakeryandSnacks.com.

For your health’s sake, the best choice to promote good gut health is taking a multi-strain probiotic like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic and EndoMune Advanced Junior that contain no dairy products, preservatives and artificial colorings and are GMO- and gluten-free.