Sep 22, 2017

Why brown bread is unhealthy?

 One of the items I stopped buying this year was the loaf of bread. Over the past 3-4 years, it was featuring regularly in my weekly grocery shopping. Though I’m not a fan of bread toast and sandwiches, my husband and daughter loved to eat a slice or two with jam or peanut butter. We would invariably waste nearly half the pack every week since it would have gone past the expiry date. We stopped buying it primarily because of the wastage.

There are so many variants of bread available in the market. Milk bread and sandwich bread are made of 100% maida. Many of us buy whole wheat bread or brown bread on a regular basis, thinking that we are making a healthier choice for ourselves. But is brown bread actually healthy? 

The best way to check is to look at its ingredients. Here’s a brown bread pack from “Daily Bread”, one of the popular brands in Bangalore.

Whole wheat flour (32%)
Refined Wheat flour
Edible common salt
Edible vegetable oil (Palm)
Class II preservative (282)
Improvers (1100, 1104,300)
Emulsifier (472e)
Acidity Regulator (260)
Flour treatment agent (510)
Permitted natural food colour (150a)

Brown bread has ONLY 32% of whole wheat flour and the rest is refined wheat flour or maida.
All packaged foods are made of palm oil, which is one of the cheapest edible oils that is bad for our health, environment and economy.

Let’s look at the list of 8 additives used in this product:

Class II preservative (282)
Called as Calcium propionate, a natural acid that acts as an antimicrobial preservative in food products, especially in bakery. It helps in the prevention of mold formation and extends shelf life. 
Linked to headaches, migraine, asthma and also aggravates food intolerances.

Amylase - Helps to break down complex starch found in flour. Causes the bread to rise. Derived from mould mushroom or pig pancreas.  
Amylase occurs naturally in yeast and so I’m not sure why there is a need to add it separately as well. 

Lipases - it is used as an emulsifier and processing aid in the breakdown of fats and oils, and as a flour treatment agent in baked goods and bakery products.

L-ascorbic acid. It is an artificial additive that helps to retain gas in the dough, which makes the loaf rise more.

Diacetyltartaric and fatty acid esters of glycerol.
Obtained from either soybeans (possibly GMO) or pork.

Acidity regulator
Acetic acid
Helps to control the acidity or alkalinity, so the required pH level can be maintained which prevents the growth of bacteria in the product.
Main component of vinegar, synthetically produced from wood fibres 
The main side effect of this additive is that it can trigger asthma.  

Flour treatment agent
Ammonium Chloride
Large amounts can cause acidosis - nausea, headaches, insomnia. 
Should be avoided by people with impaired liver or kidney function. 

Permitted natural food colour
Caramel colour - so now we know what gives the brown bread the “brown” colour. 
Caramel colouring can be produced from sugar or glucose from plant starches, typically from corn (possibly GMO) 

Looking at these long list of ingredients, Brown bread sounds as unhealthy as a pack of cookies or any other junk food. If you like to eat bread on a regular basis, it is much safer to bake it at home. I have baked bread at home a couple of times…All I had to use was flour (a combination of maida and wholewheat flour), yeast, little sugar, salt and little oil. No chemicals/additives are needed.

Given the number of issues that arise out of excess gluten consumption, the best option would be to avoid bread completely and switch to other healthy breakfast/snack alternatives.



Unknown said...

Hi. Am from processed food industries for over 50 years. I read your views on various items. While I agree with some of the views expressed a proper comp would have been to give details of white bread ingredients. I always advise my friends n children in US to look for ingredients n not be carried away by misleading ads from manufacturers specially in this part of the world. This is a commercial industry -period. Amudan .

Anuradha Sridharan said...

Thank you Amudan for sharing your views. As you rightly said, it is a commercial industry with profit motives. All the health claims that are being advertised need to be investigated before purchase. I'll do a separate writeup comparing the ingredients of various types of bread available in India.

Concerned citizen said...

Agreed it's a commercial industry. They can come up with n number of products and advertise them but should not claim to be healthy when they are not.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for sharing ur analysis report, I used to notice manf date and exp. date thinking that brown bread is best over others. Every day I add bread in the kids lunch box now I should seriously think. I am Thank full to you for sharing such an informative article, this should reach every parents to build a healthy generation.

Unknown said...

Thank you very much for sharing ur Report. I wish every parents should read this article to bring an awareness in kids as well as young generation who are using these products in their daily life to make life easy and encouraging the manufacturer. Let us make our kids healthy and strong and make tomorrow better

padmum said...

We just have to stop
Drinking.. .even water
That leaves just one thing
Praying... And Bhavathi Bikshaan Dehi is not one of the prayers
Life today is not to live.... But to die.
Bless you for your detailed exposes

Unknown said...

Appreciate ur effort of doing so deep RND & sharing

Rupal said...

Thanx for the info, accidentally I got to read the article as I was trying to understand these unknown chemicals mentioned reverse on the bread packet.
I was even wondering why my wheat bread(I bakein home) is dense n very filling than to market bread, n got my answers.

Unknown said...

Thanks for giving valuable information

DUDESK.COM said...

If we need a peaceful death, not a life full of allergies, unknown disease types, we have to resolve to lead a holistic (if not fully at least partial) living. Which is possible taking the foods directly as they come from, with little or no processing. The western food sciences is designed to increase shelf life, considering the hostile climate conditions they have. We better not live their way of living.
I am sorry if I have given too much of explanation.

Saraswata said...

NO, AMYLASE Does not occur naturally in yeast.! If so then yeast could simply breakdown any starch source, which it cant, yeast can only eat simple sugars like glucose, maltose, fructose etc.

A.V said...

Given the health issues with 'gluten'? We should avoid bread and switch to other breakfasts?

Such an uninformed view.

We have been consuming wheat for thousands of years. Our forefathers have been consuming rotis , upma and other wheat based staples for generations? Suddenly we have started mindlessly aping the western world and claiming that gluten is 'bad'.

Anuradha Sridharan said...

@A.V. Please read the post again. All I had mentioned was "excess gluten consumption" in the last sentence. I have never spoken about going gluten-free anywhere. And the intention of this post is to highlight the ingredients present in brown bread. Eating store-bought packaged bread on a daily basis is unhealthy - that's the summary.

Unknown said...

बात घूम फिर कर वहीं आ जाएगी। जितना हो सके नैसर्गिक खाओ। । धन्यवाद अनुराधा जी, वैसे तो ब्रेड मैं केवल जीव्हा के चोचले पूरे करने हेतु ही कभी-कभी खाता था। अब ब्राउन ब्रेड भी नहीं

Dr.M.K.Mukundan said...

The write up is fascinating for common man. Some concerns expressed are baseless. For any food to get a good shelf life some preservatives are permitted. Such preservatives are approved to be safe by the joint expert committee of FAO and WHO. They have also prescribed their maximum permissible levels. Subject to such processing & production, which in India FSSAI, then safety assurance methods like GMP, H & S and HACCP ensures keep the products safe. So the concerns expressed are not relevant, though exciting to common man.
Dr M K Mukundan.

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