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


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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  • 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… you know what is in it?

  • Karen Laing

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

    • 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.

      • Tarnivash

        Tell that to Prahlad Jani, and Hira Ratan Manek. Eating is a voluntary thing. Mastery of the human body can make it unnecessary.

      • Utot Moe

        he is trying to suggest something… like plant your own stuff grown from soil without chemicals/fertilizers, then eat the harvest then you will be fine.

  • 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.

    • Utot Moe

      i guess it causes me to fart all the time.

    • LuAnn Sims

      You might want to try Gluten-free bread. What you have sounds a lot like Celiac disease.

      • bouncedancer

        No, I do just fine with white flour!

  • D. Richards

    I’m allergic to soybeans and so I have to read labels. On bread ingredients, I’ve noticed that many breads and dessert baked goods contain soy flour. This seems to be present in many low-priced products where, I presume, the maufacturer is using it as a filler vice actual ingredients that baked goods are historically made from. I have also noticed that the use of soy products is ubiquitous in most processed foods, especially in meat products. That is most assuredly to save money on ingredients. My question is what quality of the finished product is improved by using these derivatives? Also, why are we being inundated by these products, as soy beans are certainly not the cheap filler it was in the past?

  • me

    DATEM is in A LOT of Baby formulas. I guess chemically burning babies with Pampers isn’t enough torture

  • Goddess333tt

    Thank you for this link with info on Datem. I was about to eat a Mrs. Fields cookie but have changed my mind.

  • charlesrfd3

    Great articles. Too bad high school graduates do not have to know this to get diplomas. Actually, if should required of junior high school children since some don’t make it to high school graduation. What a change we would see if we really had massive numbers of informed consumers.

  • Jean

    Datum seems to cause me an itching rash. Anyone else?