Is Sourdough a Healthier Option to Regular Bread?

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Sourdough bread is often lower on the glycemic index (GI) than other types of bread, and is a better choice for blood glucose management.

Many people enjoy crusty and fluffy sourdough bread that’s so perfect toasted and slathered with butter, served with piping hot winter soup, or as an open-faced sandwich. However you choose to eat it, sourdough is a type of bread that is full of flavour and fairly easy to make at home, though truly mastering it takes plenty of practice. Just ask everyone who took it up as a hobby during 2020.

The flavor of sourdough sets it apart from many other types of bread, and that is achieved through a unique fermenting process. Instead of using a traditional yeast, which is how other bread rises when baking, sourdough is made with a “starter,” which is flour and water combined and left to ferment for a couple of days at minimum. The starter utilises the natural yeasts found both in the flour and the environment, and it’s the key to sourdough’s special properties.

Because of sourdough’s unique fermentation process, it has long been considered to be potentially healthier than other types of more refined bread… but why? Is there truth to the belief that sourdough is actually healthier than regular bread?


The short answer is that yes, when it comes to your blood sugar, sourdough may be better for you.

For one thing, sourdough bread is often lower on the glycemic index (GI) than other types of bread, and is a better choice for people who are focused on blood glucose management.

How To Make Sourdough Bread | Kitchn
Image Credit: The Kitchn

The GI is a way of measuring how fast your blood sugar can rise with certain foods using a scale that ranges from zero to 100, with sugar being 100. An average loaf sourdough bread has about a GI of about 54, whereas a more refined white wheat flour bread has a GI of 71.


Another benefit that sourdough has is that it can help with gut health, again, due to the fermenting process. Sourdough bread may contain prebiotic fiber, which is the result of the fermentation. This can support the live and beneficial bacteria that live in your gut by acting as selective fuel.


Notably, some recent research has suggested the health benefits of sourdough may in fact depend on the individual, meaning it may not actually be healthier for everyone.

small 2017 study in Cell Metabolism looked into the effects of sourdough and white bread on various participants. While some people had better blood glucose management after eating sourdough over white bread, there were also people who saw a higher spike after eating the sourdough.

Sourdough Recipe | How To Make Sourdough Bread | SPAR
Image Credit: SPAR

Regardless, sourdough almost always sits lower on the GI than refined bread, and it has the potential to help your gut microbiome. Aside from that, there aren’t many notable differences between these types of bread, and current research (although small) suggests that it all truly depends on the individual.


Ultimately, different breads offer different health benefits to an individual. And for some, sourdough bread may be a great choice for their unique needs.

For those interested, here’s a step-by-step guide to make your own sourdough bread at home.

Source: Eat This, Not That

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