Let There Be Bread

For most of us, the holiday season has begun – or, at least that part of the holiday season when you are booked into a procession of Christmas parties and the almost daily threat of overindulging, all while stamping down a rising tide of panic of how you are going to get everything you need before the office lights go out next week.

Well, the clever minds at the CSIRO have made a breakthrough that could mitigate one of those issues.

Researchers at the CSIRO were part of an international team that developed high-amylose wheat that has ten times the amount of fibre of that ordinary wheat we’ve been munching for millennia. This fibre-boosted grain promises to improve gut health, and help to battle bowel cancer and Type 2 diabetes.

Does that mean we will be able to help ourselves to that dinner roll without the guilt pangs, indigestion and bloating? It won’t help anyone with gluten intolerance, but for the rest of the carb-loving world, the promise of a lot more fibre in our baked goods is good news.

A small number of farmers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington have just harvested the first crop of the wheat in United States that will soon make its way on to American supermarket shelves.

Dr Ahmed Regina with high-amylose wheat grains

A principal research scientist at CSIRO, Dr Ahmed Regina, said the benefits of the wheat centre around the high percentage of resistant starch, with the new wheat recording more than ten times the dietary fibre of regular wheat.

"Largely lacking in Western diets, resistant starch is known to improve digestive health, protect against the genetic damage that precedes bowel cancer and help combat Type 2 diabetes," Dr Ahmed Regina said.

"Wheat is the most popular source of dietary fibre and eaten by 30 per cent of the world’s population, whether it's in bread, pizzas, pastas or tortillas.

"Having a wheat with high levels of resistant starch enables people to get this important fibre without changing the type of grain they eat or the amount of grain-based foods they need for recommended dietary levels."

The team responsible for developing the new type of wheat are hopeful an Australian-based company will capitalise on the opportunity to market it locally.

Sadly, the good folk at the CSIRO don’t say anything about how we curb the pandemic of ‘I need it before we shut down for the year’ work demands.

Feature Image Courtesy: Tract Consulting
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