As a staple food, bread digestibility deserves a marked nutritional interest. Combining wide-spectrum characterization of breads, in vitro nutritional indices, and in vivo postprandial markers of gastrointestinal function, we aimed at comparing the digestibility of sourdough and baker's yeast breads. Microbiological and biochemical data showed the representativeness of the baker´s yeast bread (BYB) and the two sourdough breads (SB and t-SB, mainly differing for the time of fermentation) manufactured at semi-industrial level. All in vitro nutritional indices had the highest scores for sourdough breads. Thirty-six healthy volunteers underwent an in vivo challenge in response to bread ingestion, while monitoring gallbladder, stomach, and oro-cecal motility. SB, made with moderate sourdough acidification, stimulated more appetite and induced lower satiety. t-SB, having the most intense acidic taste, induced the highest fullness perception in the shortest time. Gallbladder response did not differ among breads, while gastric emptying was faster with sourdough breads. Oro-cecal transit was prolonged for BYB and faster for sourdough breads, especially when made with traditional and long-time fermentation (t-SB), whose transit lasted ca. 20 min less than BYB. Differences in carbohydrate digestibility and absorption determined different post-prandial glycaemia responses. Sourdough breads had the lowest values. After ingesting sourdough breads, which had a concentration of total free amino acids markedly higher than that of BYB, the levels in blood plasma were maintained at constantly high levels for extended time.
Keywords: gallbladder emptying; hydrogen breath test; orocecal transit time; stomach emptying; test meal; ultrasonography.