ASTURIAS, SPAIN — White bread may have a positive effect on the modulation of intestinal microbiota, according to a study involving 38 healthy adults and appearing on-line May 23 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Researchers from the University of Oviedo in Asturias and the Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias found white bread, which provides hemicellulose and resistant starch, was associated directly with Lactobacillus, a group of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

The researchers noted several studies have addressed the association of dietary fibers in the modulation of intestinal microbiota, but studies on other correlated components in foods, such as polyphenols, are scarce. They then explored the association between the intake of fibers and polyphenols from a regular diet and fecal microbiota composition.

An annual food frequency questionnaire recorded food intake. Microbial populations in feces also were recorded.

“Because some effects on intestinal microbiota attributed to isolated fibers or polyphenols might be modified by other components present in the same food, future research should be focused on diet rather than individual compounds,” the researchers said.

The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovations provided funding for the study.