Strict dieters avoid bread due to high carb and gluten content. Others avoid bread for medical reasons. Researchers and food companies hope to create healthier bread using newly developed enzymes and gene editing. Here’s what they’re currently working on:
- Lower carb content. Up to 40 million Americans have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). One of the ingredients that can trigger IBS symptoms for people is FODMAPs (poorly absorbed fermentable carbohydrates). Wheat is high in FODMAPs and contains carbs called fructans which is hard to digest for those with IBS.
- Fazer Mills, a Finnish company, recently introduced an enzyme, LOFO, that can lower fructans in wheat bread which would allow bakers to produce bread with low FODMAP for people with IBS. This enzyme can help break down fructans into smaller units and does not change the taste or texture of bread.
- Reduced-gluten wheat. Gluten gives bread its unique texture but is also avoided by 3 million Americans with celiac disease and those sensitive to gluten.
- A professor at the University of Minnesota, Dan Voytas, is part of a team that developed a reduced-gluten wheat bread using gene editing technology called CRISPR/Cas9. Researchers are able to delete the celiac-causing gluten gene of the organism’s genome. However, since gluten gives bread its shape, reduced-gluten wheat flour will change the taste and texture of bread.
- Fiber-rich flours. People with type 2 diabetes avoid bread due to its high carbs which can raise blood sugar levels. They often turn to minimally processed bread, higher in fiber and protein but lower in starchy carbohydrates, resulting in a slower break down in the body that won’t rise blood sugar levels.
- Researchers are wondering how can we raise the fiber levels, making bread healthier? European bakers are experimenting with tritordeum flour, a newly developed hybrid of wheat and wild barley which yields 30% more fiber than traditional wheat flour. Other bakers are adding fiber by blending traditional wheat flour with lupin bean or lentil flour. Eating lupin-enriched bread can help reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and blood sugar levels.
Image Source: Healthline