On a diet? Toasted bread from the freezer is better
If you freeze white bread and then toast it, the amount of glucose that your blood absorbs after eating it is half the amount you absorb from fresh white bread. Nutritionists at the British Oxford Brookes University have published their findings in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Foods that do not lead to a fast rise in your sugar and insulin levels are better for your body. This is why more and more bodybuilders, health freaks and dieters are going over to a low-glycemic way of eating. Bread doesn't really fit in this kind of diet. White bread has a glycemic index of 71, brown bread an index of 65. Both of these are on the high side. With a glycemic index of 50, wholemeal bread is better.
The British researchers posed the question whether the low-glycemic trend is likely to be damaging to bakers. No, they conclude from their study. Freezing white bread [70 percent of all the bread that the British consume is white ] – and then defrosting it – lowers the glycemic index, as does toasting it. By combining both treatments, you decrease the glycemic index even further.
The researchers gave white bread to ten healthy test subjects. They made sure that all the subjects received the equivalent of 50 g of glucose. The researchers then measured the blood sugar level of the subjects in the first two hours after eating.
The graph above shows the results for factory-produced bread. A control group was given glucose only.
The researchers used the measurements to calculate the total amount of glucose in the test subjects' blood. [The AUC or Area Under the Curve – Ed.] From this they were able to compile the table below. The researchers tested factory-made bread and also bread they had made themselves. The values are expressed in micromoles per minute per liter.
The researchers suspect that the starch molecules in the bread take on a different structure as a result of freezing, defrosting and toasting it. This makes it more difficult for the enzymes to break the starch down into sugar.
By the way, this study has not tempted us to start eating white bread; even toasted white bread contains very little in the way of nutrients. But we'd love to know the glycemic index of defrosted and toasted wholemeal bread.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2008) 62, 594–599.
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