Lupin Bread

Reporter: Andrea Burns

It may well be the best thing since sliced bread. A loaf made specifically to fill you up, that could also slim you down. West Australians have grown up eating bread from John Noonans' family's bakeries. Now, in a world first, staff at John's Fremantle-based Bodhi's Bakehouse are producing a bread which contains forty per cent lupin flour. It's called "Slimmer Choice".

Created in conjunction with scientists from the University of Western Australia, it's a high protein, high fibre, low carbohydrate bread. John says "after consumption it provides a feeling of fullness, so you're less inclined to eat as much at a subsequent meal" Scientists were keen to create a bread that contains a high percentage of lupin - dubbed by some, a "super food".

Dr Johnathon Hodgson headed the study in which participants ate the the lupin bread for breakfast and lunch, their hunger levels were monitored. "What we found was the lupin enriched bread resulted in a significant reduction in hunger and in food intake" WA produces eighty per cent of the world's lupins. Plentiful, easy to grow and cheap, they're more often given to animals as stock feed - farmers have long known they're a high protein, low fat way of keeping stock feeling full. Now the same science is being used for people. "If those effects translate longer term, then we would expect to see significant benefits on weight loss"

John how tough was it to get the recipe right? "Lots and lots of trials, took us over 12 months and many many hundreds of trials, I'm afraid, cos raw lupin has quite a strong flavour - well , we've been able to bake that out so to speak so quite a breakthrough" With Australia in the grip of an obesity epidemic, finding foods that'll do our slimming for us has implications in reducing the galloping incidence of weight-related conditions including type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Lyn Jones was on the trial. She found lupin bread really filled her up, "definitely curtailed the appetite, for not only the meal, but definitely afterwards"

Retired engineer Keith Jarvis also participated in the trial. He didn't lose weight but did find the lupin bread reduced his appetite into the next day, "you did feel not as hungry" Overall, the study found participants ate up to one third less in a meal when they were eating lupin bread. And when they'd had it for breakfast, they ate fifteen per cent less at lunch.

Having shown it reduces hunger, Dr Hodgsons' says the next step is a larger trial seeing if using lupin bread translates into getting weight off - and keeping it off. We could also see more lupin products. "It could be used in things like breakfast cereals and it could be used for things like snack bars or breakfast bars" Meanwhile, John Noonan's staff are expecting to be busy baking between five and ten thousand extra loaves a week. "The Noonan family's been baking since 1933, I feel that we can really make a contribution to public health"

The "Slimmer Choice" bread is available from Bodhi's Bakehouse in Fremantle.

Phone Bodhi's on 9335 3902.

It should be available from most IGA supermarkets.