5 Dangerous Additives that are Hiding in Packaged Bread


Looks can be deceiving, and many breads that are labelled as “heart healthy” or “natural” do not always contain ingredients which live up to that promise. When purchasing commercial bread, be sure to read the ingredients on the label carefully and avoid the following dangerous ingredients.

Potassium Bromate
This additive is popular in many commercial breads because it strengthens dough and decreases the bread’s baking time, which is important to large-scale industrial bakeries. Although its use is legal in America, many other parts of the world including the European Union, Canada, Brazil, South Korea and China have banned it in foods do to the fact that it is a suspected carcinogen. One study out of Japan, in fact, linked it to cancer of the thyroid and kidney.

Refined Grains
Refined grains – found in products like white bread and bread products, white rice, and white crackers – are unhealthy for a number of reasons. They have been stripped of their nutritional value through the refining process and are rich sources of simple carbohydrates that are digested quickly by the body and are linked to insulin resistance, high blood pressure and increases the risk of a heart attack by roughly 30%.

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Many people know about this additive in products like candy, desserts and some beverages, but do not realize it is also a common ingredient in bread. This highly processed, chemically altered additive is processed differently by the body: it breaks down more quickly and once in the blood stream, goes directly to the liver where it can cause long-term damage. It has also been linked to the obesity epidemic in this country.

Ammonium Sulfate
Ammonia is, of course, best known for its use in household cleaners, but sadly, it is also commonly found in bread. It has been deemed safe at the levels with which it used in food products, but many people find it unnerving nonetheless. To avoid it, read the ingredients list carefully before purchase.

Perhaps the least appetizing of the bread additives is the compound l-cysteine, which is an amino acid added to dough that, like potassium bromate, shortens the baking time. What makes it so unappetizing is that fact that it is derived from a cheap natural protein source: human hair. The hair is dissolved in acid then chemically isolated and shipped to commercial bakeries all over the country.

The best way to avoid these nasty additives is to read the food labels carefully and not purchase products which contain them, or to shop at an organic or all-natural bakery. To be completely certain of what is going into the bread, simply learn to bake it at home: it tastes delicious and is much healthier as well!

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Mayimina has written articles on most health-related topics, including traditional medicine, alternative and naturopathic and natural treatments, wellness, medical marijuana, diets and fitness.