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A study explains how bread consumption can improve cardiovascular health
28 November 2012
Universidad de Barcelona
According to a study, daily bread consumption, especially wholemeal bread, can prevent cardiovascular disease. The study has been led by the professor Rafael Llorach, Ramon y Cajal researcher from the Department of Nutrition and Bromatology at the Faculty of Pharmacy and from the Food and Nutrition Torribera campus of the University of Barcelona. This new research identified the metabolic factors which are possibly related to bread’s beneficial effects on lipid profile, and on the cardiovascular health of its consumers.
The work, which is part of the Functional Foods Consolider-Ingenio Project and is promoted by the initiative Pan Cada Día, use techniques of metabolomics in order to analyse the impact of bread consumption (white and wholemeal) in a population sample made up of 275 advanced years volunteers who are in high cardiovascular and are take part in the study PREDIMED.
According to the professor Rafael Llorach, “the data obtained in the study indicate that daily bread consumption, especially wholemeal one, as an element of a balanced diet, is associated to a healthier lipid profile that shows lower insulin blood concentrations”. In the opinion of the professor Cristina Andrés-Lacueva, co-director of the project and head of the Research Group on Biomarkers and Nutritional and Food Metabolomics, “the metabolomics study drove us to identify the potential metabolic factors hid behind the positive effects that bread consumption has on the lipid profile and which can be determinant to be in a better cardiovascular health”. To be precise, the authors of the study identified a metabolite related to PPAR-alfa activity (a nuclear receptor involved in lipid metabolism which is raised in wholemeal bread consumers).
A healthier lipid profile
The study points out that people who daily consumes bread, white or wholemeal, show a healthier lipid profile —lower levels of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of HDL cholesterol— than the people who consume it sporadically or don’t consume it. The study also reveals that regular bread consumption is associated with a lower insulin concentration. “This is a really important data, when the body does not answer in a correct way to the insulin’s action, glucose cannot reach the inner part of cells and it is accumulated in blood”, explains Andrés-Lacueva. This mechanism —insulin resistance— is a key pathological process in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus, also associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease.
The results of the study coincide with other scientific works that also talk about a possible prevention effect of fibre consumption —especially the wholemeal ones— against the development of insulin resistance. Moreover, this study shows the regular consumption of bread, a good source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibre, what represents an increase in the consumption of carbohydrates is not related to an increase of body weight.