What’s in your Bread?
If I asked you to close your eyes and visualize yourself preparing to make homemade bread, what ingredients would you envision? Flour? Water? Yeast? How about some Azodicarbonamide? Butylated Hydroxyanisole? Ethoxylated mono and di-glycerides? What, no? How did a time honored tradition that was once so simple and honest become so dangerous and confusing?
Don’t worry-you don’t have to start making bread from scratch in order to continue enjoying it. There are a variety of companies and breads to choose from; you may just have to look in the freezer section rather than the bread aisle to find them.
Nowadays, the process of manufacturing bread on a commercial level has become less about what ingredients are going into the bread and more about how long the bread can remain on the shelf. Let’s break down some of the leading dangers and unnecessary ingredients in commercial breads today:
- Potassium Bromate aka “Bromated Flour” – perhaps the most dangerous oxidizing agent used to strengthen and give bread more volume that is currently banned worldwide except for the US & Japan. It is linked to kidney and nervous system damage and should be avoided at all costs. The FDA strongly discourages the use of potassium bromate but has yet to ban it.
- Azodicarbonamide aka “ADA” – a dough conditioner that applies to the texture and strength of the bread that is not necessary in the bread making process. Banned in the EU, Australia and Singapore.
- Partially Hydrogenated Oil – a trans fat primarily used to extend the shelf life that increases “bad” cholesterol. Most damaging to your arteries and increases inflammation which leads to heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
- Added Sugar – unnecessary amounts of artificial sugars or “sucralose” especially found in “light” breads.
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole aka “BHA or BHT” – a FDA approved flour bleaching agent/stengthener used for elasticity. BHA is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” and could easily be replaced by vitamins E and C.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) – a major contributor in high calories and most often made from genetically modified corn. HFCS is used as a cheaper alternative to sucrose as a sweetener that keeps bread moist for longer.
- Soy, Soybean Oil, Soy Lecithin – Soy is one of the top grown GMO crops currently in the US and the pesticides used and sprayed are highly toxic and poisonous.
I stopped buying commercial breads a long time ago and have slowly been removing bread from my overall diet the past few months. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice, fresh, crunchy crispy artisan bread just as much as the next person; I just favor quality over quantity. The cost of a genuine, healthy loaf of bread may seem more expensive up front (and it is), but you will find that it lasts longer and you will enjoy it more. Your body will also thank you in the end. For now, when I purchase bread, my go-to brands are Food for Life (found in the healthy freezer section) and/or Thom’s Bread (check website to find the nearest retailer).
For a great read and breakdown of some of the major bread companies and their ingredients, visit:
foodbabe.com – Before You Ever Buy Bread Again…Read This! (And Find The Healthiest Bread On The Market)
For a current Propostition 65 List of known cancer causing chemicals including Bromate and Butylated Hydroxyanisole, visit:
oehha.ca.gov – CHEMICALS KNOWN TO THE STATE TO CAUSE CANCER OR REPRODUCTIVE TOXICITY August 25, 2015