Company:   Antidiabetic Food Centre
Launch Website

With type 2 diabetes on the rise at an alarming rate, the Antidiabetic Food Centre was founded in 2007 at Lund University, Sweden to study the effect of food on health in general, and the risk of developing diabetes, in particular.

One of the main areas of research has been how different types of bread affect our cognitive abilities as sugar is released into the bloodstream.

Why study different breads?

Bread is a main staple in most people’s diets. Some people eat bread several times a day; there is a wide variety of this food on the market.

So the researchers decided to look at a popular breakfast bread – the kind many people like to toast and savor with a dairy spread and some jam: white bread.

Considering how our intestines work, white bread is actually not a very healthy choice. It is notorious for its high level of glucose. It has little or no fiber, is digested quickly and sends lots of sugar right out into the bloodstream, dramatically increasing insulin production.

But it is a tasty morning food that is easily prepared to complement one’s first cup of coffee or tea.

Can white bread be made more healthy?

Instead of trying to change people’s bread preference, researchers wondered if white bread could be composed of ingredients that promote health. Was it possible to reengineer this unhealthy food to include more fiber and less sugar?

As a previous cafe owner, healthcare professional and Doctor of Technology, Anne Nilsson of Lund University’s Antidiabetic Food Centre decided to explore this idea.

She found a natural substance rich in fiber which could be added to white bread dough without changing the “toastability” of the bread. This substance is guaran, produced by grinding the endosperm of guar beans. The guar gum powder can be ground to both a coarse and a fine powder, making it easy to add to a yeast dough.

Putting the new recipe to the test

After finalizing the bread recipe, it was time to find some human ”guinea pigs” to test it on. What Dr. Nilsson wanted to know was if eating this low glucose bread would improve blood sugar levels as well as important mental abilities such as memory and attention.

In cooperation with the Dept. of Psychology at Lund University, two different types of tests were devised. One tested the subjects’ attention span, the other tested short-term memory.

Once the subjects had eaten the specified amount of bread, their blood sugar was checked at 15- and 30-minute intervals. The tests were administered at specified times throughout the first three hours of digestion.

Participants completed the same test protocol twice – once with the special bread, once with a common white bread – not knowing which bread was which.

They were only compared with him or herself, not with others in the study.

The results showed that people consistently performed better on mental challenges after eating the bread with fiber. The release of blood sugar was less and occurred over a longer period of time.

A new white bread to guard against diabetes?

Dr. Nilsson explains the positive results with how our intestines work, Actually, 80% of our immune system’s defense is found in the intestines. These organs are a natural barrier to harmful microorganisms, and what we eat has a great effect on this barrier.

A low fiber diet will cause increased flow through this barrier and inflammation of the cell walls. Over a longer period of time, this imbalance results in heart disease, other circulatory diseases and lower physical and mental stamina.

Thus, this new bread may be an important way to break such a negative cycle in the digestive tract and help prevent diabetes.

Research is continuing in this field, but at least we now know a bit more about how to start our day as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as possible.