Nutrition Research Reviews

Research Article

Parameters controlling the glycaemic response to breads

Anthony Fardeta1 c1, Fanny Leenhardta1, Delphine Liogera1, Augustin Scalberta1 and Christian Rémésya1

a1 Unité des Maladies Métaboliques et Micronutriments, U3M, INRA, Centre de Recherche de Clermont-Ferrand/Theix, 63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France


Bread is one of the most widely consumed staple foods worldwide. White-wheat bread, largely consumed in France, is made from highly refined flour, which leads to a low nutrient density. Due to a highly porous structure and gelatinised starch, it is easily broken down during digestion, leading to a rapid increase of glucose released into the bloodstream. Low glycaemic responses are considered favourable to health, especially against a background of diabetes. Literature reports show that selection of raw material is an essential factor in decreasing the glycaemic index (GI) of white bread. There are two means of decreasing the rate of starch degradation: either (i) slowing gastric emptying rate and/or glucose diffusion–absorption through the intestinal mucosa, which can be achieved by incorporating soluble fibre or organic acid in bread, or (ii) limiting starch accessibility to α-amylase by using high-amylose cereal varieties and/or incorporating intact cereal grains. Studies on cereal products show that preservation of the food structure during digestion seems to be a more important GI-reducing factor than the degree of starch crystallinity or the presence of soluble fibre. Thus, we should look to produce bread with a more compact food structure or higher density, which is the case in leavened wholewheat bread or bread with intact cereal grains. The baking process should also be improved to achieve this goal, by using, for example, a reduced kneading time or less yeast than usual.


c1 *Corresponding author: Dr Anthony Fardet, fax +33 47 3 62 46 38, email