Bread is everywhere – in every meal and snack – but most bread options these days bare little to no resemblance to the “daily bread” from history. Just as with other processed foods, most breads (including many “whole wheat” options) contain questionable components that are unnecessary and do not add to human health whatsoever. Add in GMO wheat and you have a few more uphill health battles to conquer including an ongoing “bread” addiction that pulls you away from consuming the fresh foods [intended for humans to eat]. In fact there is no mystery as to why many people are now going gluten-free and substituting “clean carbs” such as organic brown rice, steel-cut oatmeal, and millet for loaves of “pain” – you just look and feel better! But if you must have your daily bread, here’s a few compounds to veer away from when scoping out the labels in the bread isle.
For starters, most bread options have two primary (and toxic) chemicals used in the bleaching and aging of flour that living beings in general should steer clear of: Potassium Bromate and Chlorine Dioxide.
Potassium Bromate: Potassium Bromate is a carcinogenic that competes with iodine in the body, especially when an iodine deficiency is present. It is linked to kidney and thyroid tumors in test animals. It has been banned from use in food products in Europe, as well as the United Kingdom in 1990, and Canada in 1994, and most other countries. It was banned in Sri Lanka in 2001 and China in 2005. It is also banned in Nigeria, Brazil and Peru. However, it has not been banned in the United States. The FDA sanctioned the use of bromate before the Delaney clause of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act went into effect in 1958 — which bans carcinogenic substances — so that it is more difficult for it to now be banned. Instead, since 1991 the FDA has urged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.
Chlorine dioxide: a basic disinfectant and bleaching agent. No studies have been done on safety. Some believe it is actually helpful as an anti-viral agent when taken internally.
Other “substances” commonly found in most manufactured breads include:
A thickening and stabilizing agent made from seaweed. Can cause allergic reactions but generally safe.
Ammonium salt. Used as yeast food and dough conditioner. Fatal to rats in large doses.
A bleaching and maturing additive for flour. A number of reports have been published of individual workers alleging asthma induced by exposure to azodicarbonamide. May also be a skin irritant.
Also known as Plaster of Paris, this substance is used as a firming additive, yeast food, and dough conditioner. It is also used in cement, wall plaster and insecticides. Because is absorbs liquid and hardens quickly, can cause intestinal obstructions when ingested.
An acidic agent and antioxidant.
A thickening agent made from cyamopsis tetragonolobus, a plant of Indian origin. FDA says it’s safe in small amounts. Dangerous when used in weight loss products. It expands when wet and produces a feeling of fullness, but can also block the esophagus and stomach valves.
The process of making margarine includes using a solvent called hexane. Hexane is a toxic and volatile chemical made from crude oil.
Milk Protein Concentrate
This substance has a shady origin – the dried leftovers of dairy processing from all over the world are mixed together and generically called MPC. Big food processing companies save money by buying this cheap imported MPC rather than paying a fair price to U.S. dairy farmers. Food processors are petitioning the FDA to change the definition of milk, so they can list the liquid form of MPC as “milk” on product labels.
There are three commonly listed:
* Calcium propionate: which is a mold inhibitor, and is also used as an anti-fungal medication.
* Potassium sorbate: a mold and yeast inhibitor that can cause irritation of skin.
* Tocopherols: a form of vitamin E. Used as antioxidant and rancidity retardant.
Prevents discoloration during storage. Large doses have been reported to cause central nervous system depression and kidney changes in test animals.
Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate
An acidic agent used in leavening flour. FDA says its safe.
An emulsifier, a sequestering agent, and texturizer. Prevents scale formation and corrosion, and acts to stabilize product and prevent changes in appearance and texture. May cause respiratory tract irritation. Symptoms may include coughing and shortness of breath. Some individuals may experience an allergic reaction to the ingestion of sodium hexametaphosphate that may produce mild chest pain. Also linked to pancreatic cancer in continual doses.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate
A form of lactic acid. It is caustic in concentrated solutions.
Not toxic in a poisonous sense, but sugar molecules are 50% fructose, and fructose has been linked to health conditions such as metabolic syndrome and high blood pressure.
Titanium Dioxide Color
A white pigment used in foods and industrial products.
Thickening agent made from corn sugar.