The next-gen breads targeting weight loss, gut health, stress reduction, better sleep and boosted immunity

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

German scientists have confirmed a low-insulin-releasing bread has significant impact on weight loss, while a Spanish FoodTech startup has launched the first range of postbiotic bread on the UK market. Pic: GettyImages/stacey-newman
German scientists have confirmed a low-insulin-releasing bread has significant impact on weight loss, while a Spanish FoodTech startup has launched the first range of postbiotic bread on the UK market. Pic: GettyImages/stacey-newman

Related tags Bread Weight loss Gut health stress management Sleep Immunity postbiotics Superfoods

While bread has traditionally been linked to a greater risk of weight gain and obesity, researchers are quickly realising the benefits a loaf fortified with superfood ingredients can have on an individual’s health and wellbeing.

Bread is an essential staple around the globe, even in regions where there is ample rice and other grains to lean towards. Stats show that every country in the world consumes bread. but in various degrees: In the US, the average person eats around 43kg annually, jumping to 57kg/year in France, 62kg in Belgium and a whopping 104kg in Turkey, the world’s biggest consumers of bread.

Bread comprised of refined/white wheat flour or milled whole grains, while providing carbs, protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and various other bioactive substances, has high insulin and glycaemic indices, increasing the risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.

Happily though, the once-sullied product is receiving the vindication it deserves.

The forward-thinking developers at Spanish FoodTech startup MIM Habits, for example, have fused science with tradition to bring to market the first-ever range of postbiotic breads. Postbiotics are immunomodulators that modify the capacity of the immune system, producing antibodies, recognising antigens and secreting mediators that reduce inflammation.

Made with a patented formulation, MIM range of organic breads help to improve various afflictions, including problems with sleep, immune system and bowel transit.

The project comes to market to position itself as a new option for care and wellbeing with foods that help the body to heal from the inside. As the founder of modern medicine Hippocrates once said, “Let food be they medicine and medicine thy food.”

Eat bread = lose weight

Scientist examining pieces of bread Wavebreakmedia
Pic: GettyImages

A recent study – published in the journal Nutrients – also aimed to attest to this concept, more specifically the impact of bread on body weight.

The German researchers studied a cohort of overweight adult volunteers who exchanged previously consumed breads for either a rye bread made from milled whole grain (control) or a medium-carb, low-insulin-stimulating bread made with oat flakes, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, psyllium husks, chopped almonds, baker’s honey and Rhinish field beans.

The breads were produced by a local bakery (Bäckerei Hinkel in Düsseldorf) and from Austrian low-carb producer STEINERfood GmbH. Pre-tests demonstrated the two strongly differed in glucose and insulin response, but had similar energy content, texture and taste.

The primary endpoint was the change of body weight after three months, without further lifestyle modifications.

Results found body weight was significantly reduced in the low-insulin-releasing bread recipients by an average of 1.8kg, rising to 2.6kg among people over the age of 55 years (along with reduced hip circumference and BMI). Additionally, the number of low-insulin-releasing individuals with significant weight reductions exceeding 1kg was double that of the rye-bread control group.

 In conclusion, the researchers confirmed that simply exchanging a common insulinogenic bread for a low-insulin-stimulating option potentially leads to weight loss in overweight persons, especially those at older age.

The power of postbiotics

MIM Habits bread

Combining years of biotechnological investigation with artisanal processes to make organic breads, the scientists at MIM, too, have demonstrated how bread can be used to balance intestinal microbiota.

“We defend artisan production and we love the perfect imperfection of every loaf of bread we knead and roll for our followers,”​ said MIM founder and head baker Quim Lorente.

The organic range consists of four sourdough loaves, each with individual health benefits to promote different areas of wellbeing:

  • Stress Relief: Made with oat flour and poppy seeds, this loaf helps to achieve quality sleep.
  • Immunity Boost: Containing turmeric and ginger, this loaf helps to strengthen the immune system.
  • Bowel Balance: With wholegrain rye flour and flax seeds to promote digestion and relieve the symptoms of constipation,
  • Tension Care: Made with wholegrain rice flour and beetroot, this loaf benefits coronary health.

All are 100% vegan; free from added sugars, sweeteners and preservatives; and are made with ancestral wheats. They also include the MIM Complex, a postbiotic formula that helps to regulate microbiota in the gut. When these microbiota are in balance, the body can more easily absorb the nutrients that help keep the immune system healthy, and so prevent bacterial infections and viruses.

Like any other vitamin complex, however, the formula functions best when consumed daily, and MIM’s scientists recommend two slices a day for at least 12 weeks. MIM claims consumers will notice the effects in the quality of their skin, their mood and their immunity.

The Spanish brand is rolling out on the UK market, available to purchase online. It also operates on a subscription basis with home delivery for an enhanced customer experience.


Impact of a low-insulin-stimulating bread on weight development – a real life randomised controlled trial

Authors: K. Kempf, M. Röhling, H. Kolb and S. Martin

Nutrients. 2023 Mar 6;15(5):1301


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