Why I Never Eat Commercial Bread

January 31, 2012 · 89 comments

Pin It
Post image for Why I Never Eat Commercial Bread

Years ago, when I was still eating bread, I would roam the bread aisle of the super market looking for a loaf of whole grain bread that did not have so many additives, preservatives, dough conditioners and other toxic ingredients. Even then, I certainly knew that all the chemicals used in commercial baking were unhealthy for us. Now, with all the traditional wisdom I’ve learned from the Weston Price Foundation, I know that grains can be really toxic when they are not properly prepared by soaking, sprouting and/or sourdough leavening. Now, if I ate bread on a regular basis I would NEVER buy commercially produced bread. I’ll tell you why.

Up until the 1950s, bread had been made using sourdough leavening as the main technique, which would take up to a day to produce. This amount of time was necessary for the proper conditioning of the dough. With the advent of  bakery manufacturing facilities and mass-production of square (condensed) loaves of bread, the production time for bread had to be accelerated. It was discovered that the addition of certain chemicals and enzymes to the bread could shorten the process to two hours instead of the usual 12 to 24 hours.

Commercial bread manufacturers have no interest in nutrition. If they are using refined white flour it is fortified with synthetic vitamins which are poorly absorbed. If they are using whole grains, the vitamins and minerals are all bound up in the bran where it is unavailable unless it has been properly prepared. The marketing for these products is geared towards sale of the product, not the nutrient content.

That said, here is the ingredient label for a loaf of commercial bread that is trying to be “healthy”:

Bread Ingredients. bread additives


Mono & Di-glycerides, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate (SSL), and Diacetyl Esters of Tartaric Acid (DATEM) are used to keep the dough uniform and strong and the air bubbles open.

Mono & Di-glycerides are considered softeners because they prevent the starch complexes from firming or going stale.

SSL and DATEM are dough strengtheners. These two chemicals interact with the proteins and prevent them from collapsing when other ingredients are added to the dough such as raisins, bran or nuts.

Lecithin aids in the emulsification of the fats in the bread which, in turn, makes a more consistent crumb. It also helps the bread remains softer by retaining more moisture and is a great binding agent. Of course, lecithin is derived from soy, so it is from genetically modified plants.

Dough Conditioners

Azodicarbonamide is used in the food industry as a food additive, a flour bleaching agent and improving agent. Azodicarbonamide actually relaxes the dough so that when it is divided in large-scale bakeries under pressure, it still retains a good character.  It has been known to cause allergic reactions in those sensitive to other azo compounds, such as food dyes. The consumption of azodicarbonamide may also heighten an allergic reaction to other ingredients in a food. The principal use of azodicarbonamide is in the production of foamed plastics as an additive.

In the UK, the Health and Safety Executive has identified azodicarbonamide as a respiratory sensitizer (a possible cause of asthma) and has determined that these products should be labeled with the words “may cause sensitization by inhalation.” Do you really want to eat this?

It should be mentioned that ascorbic acid is also used as a dough conditioner to strengthen the gluten, but because it tightens the dough, it has a limited use, and is rarely used commercially.

Bromide is a dough conditioner found in most flours as potassium bromate. It replaced potassium iodate starting in the 1960’s because bakers claim it yields dependable results, and it makes the dough more elastic, which can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.

Bromate is an endocrine disruptor that competes for the same receptors in the thyroid gland as iodine. Constant ingestion of bromate in your daily bread may eventually create a thyroid hormone imbalance because iodine is needed for thyroid hormone production. It is also implicated in many cancers.

The UK banned bromate in bread in 1990. 
Canada banned bromate in bread in 1994.

In 1999, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to prohibit the use of potassium bromate, charging that the FDA had known for years that bromate causes cancer in lab animals. It is still in use today, although some artisan bakeries will use unbromated flour.


Calcium propionate is probably the most common preservative in commercial breads. The propionic acid inhibits the growth of molds and other microorganisms. However, there has been some speculation that calcium propionate may induce autistic type actions in rats.

Propionic acid may appear as cultured wheat starch or cultured whey on a food label.

Bread Improvers

The two main reasons for the use of bread improvers are: to help produce gas, and to retain the gas inside the bread. This is done by including enzymes, such as amylases to act on the starch and proteases to act on the gluten. The protease enzyme strengthens the gluten, thereby giving the bread a better structure and retaining more of the gas produced.

Sourdough fermentation over a 24 hour period naturally produces these enzymes — they do not need to be added. Bread improvers aim to boost the amount of these enzymes artificially, thereby increasing the amount of fermentation early on in the bread production. This eliminates the need for a long fermentation and helps companies produce more in less time.

Hydrochloride and Sodium metabisulfate are used as gluten softening and clearing agents. Sodium metabisulfate had been singled out as being highly allergenic and is not used as much today.

Other Additives

Ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride and phosphates are used to provide nitrogen and/or food for the yeast. Monocalcium phosphate or calcium carbonate are used to compensate for soft water, which may yield soft, sticky dough.

High fructose corn syrup, or other artificial sweeteners may be part of the bread. The dangers of high fructose corn syrup is a topic for another post.

As you can see from the ingredient label, even a loaf of whole wheat bread has all kinds of additives: dough conditioners, artificial food for the yeast, and preservatives. In addition, it has soybean oil that is most likely genetically modified as most of the soybean crop in the U.S. is GM.

What is Missing

Importantly, with very few exceptions, food companies do not soak, sprout or sour the grains. Therefore the grains in all of these products are not properly prepared and are full of anti-nutrients. So even if it is whole grain — the nutrients are not available as they are bound up.

Don’t even bother reading bread labels — with very few exceptions, they all have some additives you would not need to use at home. Learn how to make your own bread and you will know that it is done correctly and with the very best ingredients.

Where to buy sprouted flour

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties including, but not limited to, amazon.com, endless.com, myhabit.com, smallparts.com, or amazonwireless.com. Disclaimer

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

1 Gallon Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil is a product I use every day.
Pin It

{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristy February 1, 2012 at 6:34 am

Wow, I never knew bread could be so bad!

How do I make my own bread?


2 Jill February 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Hi Kristy, The link is at the bottom of the post for a new class about baking bread the right way!


3 Nicole February 20, 2014 at 8:47 am

Buy a bread maker! Sooooo easy!!!


4 Vanessa February 1, 2012 at 8:51 am

This is why I don’t eat store bread. If I want it I make my own. It’s so simple once you get the hang of it and it tastes way better than anything bought in a store.


5 Hallee the Homemaker February 1, 2012 at 9:50 am

I make all of our own bread. Even when time is not my friend, I think of those ingredients and find the time.



6 Lindsey February 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Wow! Ok, never eating store bought bread again. How do I make my own bread?


7 Jill February 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Hi Lindsey,
Here is a link to a new class about baking bread the right way!

Check out the new class from Cheeseslave: Healthy Whole Grains: Soaking, Sprouting and Sourdough.

The link is at the bottom of the post.


8 Lauren February 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Here’s the part I don’t get: even if they used the 24 hours to produce a loaf as before, they’re only losing one day at the very beginning of production, because every baker starts tomorrow’s loaves today. It’s a classic anti-real-food fallacy that this stuff takes more time; it takes more PLANNING, but the hands-on time doesn’t change.


9 Kelsey February 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Amen! That’s always bugged me too. That’s why it’s so irresponsible that they don’t do it the right way!


10 Kitty February 1, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I make all of our bread, too!!


11 Vanessa February 2, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Lauren, they would need to take the space to store all of the ingredients during the 24-hr process. I don’t know if it’s so much an issue of time, or of space! :)


12 Kathy (aka Mrs Dull) February 2, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Thanks for the in depth article! As I understand it iodine was used a dough conditioner prior to bromide. Dr. Brownstein’s books on iodine have more on this, I think.


13 GiGi Eats Celebrities February 2, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Bread is absolutely disgusting. The only one out there that’s legit is Ezeikel because it’s not really bread but sprouted grains with FIBER and not stripped of nutrients!


14 Run DMT February 3, 2012 at 6:24 am

Well, that was a very interesting read! Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I will consider making my own bread now.


15 Sarah February 3, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Good grief! And it’s so easy to make at home! Not to mention tastier! I’ve often wondered about what was up with that long list of ingredients… and why my 100% whole grain bread was such a different consistency than that grocery store kind.


16 Erin@TheHumbledHomemaker February 6, 2012 at 11:09 am

Uggg–this really makes me cringe–and so sad how much bread production how changed. :(Thanks for sharing w/ Healthy 2Day Wednesday! Hope to see you back next week!


17 Teresa February 6, 2012 at 11:56 am

This was amazing! I make our bread too and would love to give this article to all my family and friends who think bread making is a waste of their time. They can’t understand why I take the time making bread when all you need to do is go buy it. They think I am alittle crazy. They like my bread though.. Ha ha


18 Jill February 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hi Theresa,
I’m sure they like your bread — people think the ingredients are “safe” because the government and the FDA allows those ingredients in. Nothing could be further from the truth!


19 Melissa @ Dyno-mom February 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Fantastic analysis! We won’t take it even if it is free! “Someone I know” works at a store and a customer was asking about the “fresh” baked in the store. She wanted to know if there was soy or HFCS in it, and there was. All the bread there comes in frozen from a vendor and is thawed and baked by the staff. She apparently was European and looking for a real bakery. Good luck finding that State-side. The baker at this store is a lovely and friendly woman, but was amazed that I can bake bread, let alone bake without commercial yeast. She did a day long seminar with the vendor to learn how to “bake”; that is, thaw, rise and apply heat. Yet, the store has a giant and unused Hobart mixer. How is that a bakery? (Okay, since we have different last names, I’ll tell you this is at my sister’s bakery. Ssshhh!)


20 Melissa @ Dyno-mom February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

And by her bakery, I mean at a grocery store with a bakery that my sister works at. She does cakes not the breads. The cakes she does from home are way better but a tricky business since the health department thinks 5 gallon buckets of institutional frosting are safer.


21 Jill February 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Hi Melissa,
It is pathetic that a “bakery” does not make their own dough. That is left to the commercial “bakeries” and they are the ones putting in all the dough conditioners and additives. It is true — it is really hard to find a decent real bakery and almost impossible to find one that soaks, sprouts or does authentic sourdough.

Same in restaurants — they get their “meals” from a central food manufacturer and only have to heat it up!


22 Denise February 7, 2012 at 2:49 am

When my Mom worked in the bakery of a chain grocery store in the 1950s they were already doing this – customers ordered, she relayed it to the vendor, and the truck brought it. They had all the proper equipment to actually make the items, but these things sat and still sit 60 years later in many stores, unused. Some are original prior to the stores being bought out when it really did bake its own goods. With “convenience” stores homemade goods are often times now relegated to craft fairs and they always sell out with orders for more from new customers! I’m getting back to basics to hopefully keep these preservatives from causing illness and more serious issues to their genetics.


23 Bridget February 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

yuck! You should read the book…The Beginners Guide to Natural Living by Larry Cook. It’s a book everyone should read. It’s pretty gross and unhealthy what is out there these days. I’ve decided I’m done with processed foods, and try to buy organic and gluten free where I can. Most of the time I decide if I can’t understand what the word is or what it means, I don’t buy it! Thanks for sharing!!


24 Curly J February 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Soo so SOOO true! After an endless amount of searching for a “healthy” low preservative and chemical free bread, and not wanting to spend a crazy amount of money on something that “could” be made at home with a little effort… we agreed to stop buying bread from the grocery store. It was the best decision we ever made! And it turns out.. making bread is A LOT easier than I thought!


25 Anne @ Domesblissity February 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm

This is such an interesting post and really makes you wonder. I want to thank you so much for linking up each week to my “Thriving on Thursdays” linky party. You always have such fantastic ideas. The party will be starting again in just over 12 hours so if you get a chance, I’d love to see what you’ve been up to this week.

Anne @ Domesblissity xx


26 seejanemom February 9, 2012 at 6:49 am

All this is very well and good but I missed the part about the GMO wheat that one has to start with. There are very few, IF ANY NON-GMO bulk wheat sources. If you know of any, please share, but until then, I wouldn’t waste all this effort on franken-bread. One won’t die if they don’t eat bread. In fact there are many theories floating now that the incased rate of pancreatic cancer and diabetes is linked to the GMO wheat we all gobble, “organic” or not.


27 cindy August 24, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Our wheat is NON-GMO. GMO wheat is not approved for sale or production in the states. There was the recent scare in Oregon where they found rogue GMO wheat and who knows where that rabbit trail will lead (other than to the giant food corps that are hell-bent on killing us one chemical at a time).
That said, our wheat is still mutant wheat and has real health implications for us. A good long fermentation period and/or using wild yeast starters will go a long way towards reducing the negatives of the crappy wheat we are currently stuck with in this country until our organic farmers (God bless the real farmers) can get the primitive wheat strains back in production.


28 Gastronomical Sovereignty February 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

i want to add something, but you’ve done such a good job! i’ll just tweet :)


29 Sarah E. February 10, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Thank you for posting this. I think a lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to make homemade bread AND you can make a bunch and freeze it until you are ready to use it :)

Stopping by from MWM


30 anon February 20, 2013 at 1:19 am

seriously, get your facts straight.

“It should be mentioned that ascorbic acid is also used as a dough conditioner to strengthen the gluten, but because it tightens the dough, it has a limited use, and is rarely used commercially.”
do you know what ascorbic acid is? it’s vitamin C!!!

a lot of the things you mentioned aren’t harmful and are used to extend the shelf life of products so wastage is decreased.


31 John September 3, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Don’t know what ascorbic acid is – I thought vitamen C is citric acid!


32 Libby November 11, 2014 at 10:29 am

No John, vitamin C is ascorbic acid. You can wiki that.

Anon, you completely missed the point. The writer was indicating that commercial bakers should use ascorbic acid (as a natural alternative), but they don’t; they use toxic crap instead.


33 Alan March 26, 2013 at 9:32 am

Thank-you for this. It’s important to get this information out there.
Making your own bread at home is easy, tasty and satisfying.
Do know, however, that very few small, independent bakers use this stuff. Seek us out and support us (And ask us questions – we love to talk about what we make.)
We make good, nutritious breads using soaked whole grains, long, slow fermentation, and little (or no) fats,sugars or dairy.
Supporting the small, independent baker is one of the best ways to affect change (the big guys hate it when we take away their business, so they try to adapt).


34 Jill March 26, 2013 at 10:47 am

Thank YOU! We need more bakers like yourself!


35 Kerry May 1, 2013 at 11:52 am

I’ve learned several things about store-bought bread this morning (from multiple sources) that have motivated me to start baking my own again. It’s one of those things I enjoy doing, but I’ve gotten lazy and given in to convenience and apparently “healthy” grocery store options. Now it turns my stomach to think that I’ve been feeding this junk to my family. I’m headed to the kitchen right now to get a sourdough starter going!


36 Abdul May 20, 2013 at 2:26 am

Bread is every day food for me. After I started baking my bread, I noticed I am sleeping better and do not have gas as before. After too much research, I discovered that preservatives used in bread not only kills mold to keep bread on the shelf but adversely affect our health. I am very happy with this discovery.


37 tom August 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

how is martins potato rolls and bread i understand it b sold in whole foods except it has yellow dye


38 Jill August 17, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Martins has much worse things in it than just yellow dye…


39 Carl February 5, 2014 at 7:30 am

I really get miffed with irresponsible articles as this one. Anon is right. Get your facts right! For that spoiled rich contributor who says and I quote “Bread is absolutely disgusting” think of the millions upon millions of disadvantaged people who totally rely on this source of nutrition to keep them selves alive: you, Gigi what ever disgusts me!. Millions of loafs depends on additives to get it over long distances to the needy with out it spoiling.
And by the way EGGS contain Lecithin too. How many loafs today can you see in a modern store with bromide as an additive. Old news pal!.I just wonder what all the millions of illiterate that rely on their daily loaf of bread for survival will say about this article if they could read! BTW, what about the “good” additives like B2 (Riboflavin) Vital for human growth. No word on the good right?


40 Jill February 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

Instead of giving “disadvantaged” people crap food that harms more than provides nutrition, we should be teaching them how to make their own local foods without the interests of the food industry.


41 Nathan Pudwill September 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

Thanks Jill, you’ve got it right!! Commercial bread is poison!!!!! Bread is not necessary. You can get all your nutrients from fruits and vegetables a plant based diet and juicing will heal your body! Potatoes are natures bread its what you eat with them and put on them ( like the stuff you put in your sandwiches) other vegetables that makes them nutritious. KISS is what we need to practice.
We all need to grow are own foods and make our own BREAD!!!!!! If it has a label on it don’t by it and don’t trust it. Don’t waste your time reading labels I’ve done that!!! Spend your time making that Natural Bread yum yum…….


42 game of war fire age pirater ios February 19, 2014 at 7:42 am

naturally like your website but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts.
A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I
in finding it very bothersome to tell the truth nevertheless I will
definitely come back again.


43 księgowość February 20, 2014 at 2:05 pm

You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually something which I think
I would never understand. It sewms too complicated and vety broad for me.
I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the
hang of it!


44 Bible Verse Of The Day March 11, 2014 at 6:44 am

Ahaa, its good conversation about this paragraph here at this web site,
I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.


45 Relearning2Eat April 11, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Thank you for this article…


46 Jennifer June 23, 2014 at 4:11 pm

I’m curious about Panera bread? They say their bread has no preservatives. I know it is baked fresh daily, but I don’t think it has any of the sprouted grains you talked about.


47 Jill June 23, 2014 at 4:50 pm

Hi Jennifer,
I haven’t checked them specifically but am pretty certain it is just another commercial bread with dough conditioners and other unsavory additives even if it is preservative free. It is certainly not from soaked or sprouted grains.


48 Best AC Repair Palm Spring September 6, 2014 at 8:10 am

Hi to every one, since I am genuinely keen of reading this webpage’s post to be
updated on a regular basis. It contains good data.


49 restaurants in laguna beach for brunch September 24, 2014 at 1:20 am

At this time I am going to do myy breakfast, after having myy breakfast
coming yet again tto read other news.


50 Wifi Cracker September 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

I blog frequently and I really appreciate your information. This article has truly peaked my interest.

I will take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once a week.
I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


51 gta 5 September 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm

These kind of 5 individuals travelled four intended
for 5 upon profitable the postures. s, particularly as a marketing
tool for obvious reasons. GTA IV takes the prospect of dating
to a whole new level.


52 http://heinrich79.bplaced.net/index.php?mod=users&action=view&id=286 September 27, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my web site
so i came to return the want?.I am trying to find things to improve my web site!I assume its good enough to make use of a few
of your ideas!!


53 seo website October 3, 2014 at 9:05 pm

That iis a great tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere.
Brief but very precise information… Thanks for sharing this one.
A must read article!


Leave a Comment

{ 36 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: