Recent TikToks have been claiming that freezing bread can actually make it healthier. The science behind this claim is actually sound, albeit a little confusing. When bread is cooked, the starch in the flour expands and gelatinizes in the oven, making it easier to digest. However, when bread is cooled after being baked, the expanded starches shrink back down, becoming what is known as resistant starch. Resistant starch is harder for the enzymes in our digestive tract to break down, leading to a slower release of sugars into our cells.

Some evidence suggests that rapidly available glucose can cause an increase in insulin levels just after eating. While insulin is important for energy usage in our cells, too much insulin can lead to increased hunger and possibly weight gain. When foods containing gelatinized starches are cooled and turned into resistant starches, the blood sugar and insulin response after eating is reduced. This can potentially help with hunger and weight management.

A study on ten healthy individuals found that freezing white bread and then toasting it reduced the spike in blood sugar by 31 percent over two hours. Moreover, toasting fresh bread also lowered the rise in glucose by 25 percent. The effect was even more pronounced when homemade bread was frozen, thawed, and toasted, reducing the blood sugar response by 39 percent. However, the same effect was not observed when using store-bought white bread, indicating that the process of making commercial bread may impact the formation of resistant starch.

Resistant starch can be found in other cooked and chilled starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, and certain types of rice. It provides nutrients to gut bacteria, maintaining a healthy balance in our microbiome. Resistant starch has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, leading to better blood sugar utilization by our bodies. Additionally, it may help lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease. However, the long-term effects of these changes on our health are likely to be modest.

While freezing bread can have some short-term health benefits due to the formation of resistant starch, the long-term impact on appetite, weight gain, and disease risk remains unclear. The effects of freezing bread are temporary and may only last for a couple of hours after consumption. However, freezing bread can help reduce food waste and potentially provide some health benefits, even if they are relatively small.

Freezing bread can alter its starch content, leading to the formation of resistant starch, which may have some positive effects on blood sugar and insulin levels. While the evidence supports the idea that freezing bread can be beneficial in the short term, the long-term impacts on health are still unknown. So, go ahead and freeze your bread to reduce waste and possibly gain some health benefits, but don’t expect it to be a miracle solution for all your health concerns.

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