Scientists have found that white bread seems to encourage the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
In addition, their study in America Chemistry Society’s (ACS) Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry also revealed that when looking at effects of food on human “microbiomes”, it is critical to consider the whole diet, not just individual ingredients.
Sonia González and her colleagues note that the bacteria in one’s gut, or microbiome, play an important role in his/her health.
When certain populations of bacteria drop, people become more prone to disease.
One of the most effective ways to maintain a good balance of the microbes living in the gut is through diet, says ACS.
To figure out what dietary ingredients promote helpful bacteria, several studies have looked at the effects of individual fibers and probiotics.
However, few researchers had investigated the role of polyphenols, which are common in much of what people consume, including spices, teas, fruit and vegetables — or how polyphenols and fibers together help balance one’s gut microbes.
Pectin from citrus fruit found to reduce the amount of helpful bacteria in the gut
González’s team asked 38 healthy adults questions about their diets and figured out which bacteria were present in the participants’ stool samples.
Their analysis revealed that pectin, a compound in citrus fruits, lowers the levels of some helpful bacteria, which is contrary to previous research on pectin alone.
The researchers suggest that pectin interacts with other substances in oranges, leading to this unexpected effect.
Their most novel finding, they said, was that white bread boosted Lactobacillus, a group of beneficial bacteria.
The authors acknowledge funding from the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.