FIVE Bread Ingredients You Absolutely Should Avoid [Bread miniseries part 4/4]

Dough-Enhancer

Welcome to part 4 of our miniseries. In part 1, we provided  ground rules for choosing healthy bread. In part 2, we explained what whole grains are. In part 3 we presented the most common ingredients used in bread.

Today, five ingredients you want to avoid in store brought bread:

  1. Partially hydrogenated oils – yes, the evil trans-fat lurk in the bread aisle too. Make sure they don’t make the jump to your shopping cart.
  2. Potassium bromate – used as a dough conditioner. (Reminder: dough conditioners  (1) shorten dough rising times (2) increase shelf life, and (3) make the dough easier for their machinery to process). Potassium bromate is harmful in its raw form, but disappears during the baking process. Unless some of it doesn’t. Europe, Canada, and many other countries have banned the use of this additive.
  3. Azodicarbonamide – a popular dough conditioner. As a side benefit, it also bleaches the flour (makes it whiter). It’s considered safe in the US at up to 45 parts per million, but is banned from use in Europe because studies showed it could cause asthma or allergic reactions.
  4. DATEM – an acronym for Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Monoglycerides. Another dough conditioner used to improve volume and uniformity. It is considered safe by the FDA, but a study in 2002, on rats, showed “heart muscle fibrosis and adrenal overgrowth”.
  5. Artificial colors – you’d be surprised but some breads include artificial colors.

Here are some additional indicators of a less nutritious bread:

  • enriched flours instead of whole grain flours
  •  ingredient list with more than 10-15 ingredients (the average is over 20)
  • bleached flour vs. unbleached flour.
  • low fiber count (less than 2 grams per slice)
  • excessive amounts of fats and sugars

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  • http://www.facebook.com/cynthia.h.martin.10 Cynthia Hughes Martin

    Numbers 2 and 3 are why I started making our bread here at home. We are working on cutting out foods that contain things that we can’t pronounce and/or don’t know what they are. With bread made at home we know we’re eating flour, salt, butter, sugar, and milk. 99% of what we eat is made from scratch. It’s amazing how our grocery budget has gone down since we stopped buying things like the taco seasoning packets and other boxed foods. We feel better too. Our next step is to go gluten free.

    • Maria L

      I also prefer making my own foods from scratch. I like knowing what’s in the foods I eat and what I feed my family. The shorter the ingredient list, the better. Whole, natural, and unprocessed.

    • Laura

      How about the flour…..do you know what is in it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.laing Karen Laing

    So, is there a list somewhere of breads that don’t include these ingredients?

    • http://twitter.com/jeffreyjohnson Jeffrey Johnson

      use their app..its pretty badass :)

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  • OCD

    Europe is not a country. It’s a continent consisting of over 40 countries that each have their own governments, laws, and bans.

    • Barthelemy

      Many regulations are inforced by the European Union, not by each country. This is the case for food additives. Each country can inforce more stringent regulations, but not loser ones. Potassium Bromate and Azodicarbonamide are not authorized as food ingredients in the European Union.

  • bill

    other than making your own bread at home, is there a safe bread that can be purchased in the grocery store? What brand name?

    • i

      Whole Foods and any other natural retailer that is willing to guarantee they use only un-chemically-orocessed flour.

    • David

      ezekiel 4:9

  • Stephanie

    As others commented, I try to make most things from scratch as well to avoid unwanted chemicals. However, this ingredient was an additive in my whole wheat flour. I didn’t realize I have to read flour ingredients too!

    • Stephanie

      Sorry, by “this” I mean azodicarbonamide.

  • Rich39

    If you buy food from a store or eat out you are in danger of killing your self.

    • Melizabeth

      … If you don’t eat, you are in danger of killing yourself.

  • bouncedancer

    Actually, low-fiber, white-flour bread (unbleached please) is what is way healthier for me than whole-grain bread, which KILLS me! If I eat whole-grain bread 2 days in a row, I’ll be bleeding from my butt from the severe constipation it causes me. It’s actually not unusual that whole grains cause more problems than white flour — the fiber is way too irritating for a lot of people.