The Effect of Regular Consumption of Reformulated Breads on Glycemic Control: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials

Adv Nutr. 2023 Jan;14(1):30-43. doi: 10.1016/j.advnut.2022.10.008. Epub 2022 Dec 17.


Bread is a major source of grain-derived carbohydrates worldwide. High intakes of refined grains, low in dietary fiber and high in glycemic index, are linked with increased risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and other chronic diseases. Hence, improvements in the composition of bread could influence population health. This systematic review evaluated the effect of regular consumption of reformulated breads on glycemic control among healthy adults, adults at cardiometabolic risk or with manifest T2DM. A literature search was performed using MEDLINE, Embase, Web of Science and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. Eligible studies employed a bread intervention (≥2 wk) in adults (healthy, at cardiometabolic risk or manifest T2DM) and reported glycemic outcomes (fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, HOMA-IR, HbA1c, and postprandial glucose responses). Data were pooled using generic inverse variance with random-effects model and presented as mean difference (MD) or standardized MD between treatments with 95% CIs. Twenty-two studies met the inclusion criteria (n = 1037 participants). Compared with "regular" or comparator bread, consumption of reformulated intervention breads yielded lower fasting blood glucose concentrations (MD: -0.21 mmol/L; 95% CI: -0.38, -0.03; I2 = 88%, moderate certainty of evidence), yet no differences in fasting insulin (MD: -1.59 pmol/L; 95% CI: -5.78, 2.59; I2 = 38%, moderate certainty of evidence), HOMA-IR (MD: -0.09; 95% CI: -0.35, 0.23; I2 = 60%, moderate certainty of evidence), HbA1c (MD: -0.14; 95% CI: -0.39, 0.10; I2 = 56%, very low certainty of evidence), or postprandial glucose response (SMD: -0.46; 95% CI: -1.28, 0.36; I2 = 74%, low certainty of evidence). Subgroup analyses revealed a beneficial effect for fasting blood glucose only among people with T2DM (low certainty of evidence). Our findings suggest a beneficial effect of reformulated breads high in dietary fiber, whole grains, and/or functional ingredients on fasting blood glucose concentrations in adults, primarily among those with T2DM. This trial was registered at PROSPERO as CRD42020205458.

Keywords: bread consumption; carbohydrate staple foods; glycemic control; metabolic health; systematic review and meta-analysis; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Bread
  • Cardiovascular Diseases*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin
  • Insulin
  • Dietary Fiber