Written by Temple journalism student Kelsey Kondraski
Bread is one food the people all around the world consume on a daily basis. We use it for a countless number of things and during every meal. For example, for toast and jam at breakfast, to enclose sandwiches for lunch, and to eat with dinner. Throughout history as well, bread has been a main food source. However, few people who peruse the bread aisle in the grocery store think about how bread is made or where it comes from and know little about what breads to choose for optimal health and nutrition.
There are several types of breads on the market. They come in all flavors and brands from white, to wheat, to seven grain, and so on. Many of these breads that claim to be “healthy” or “natural” contain ingredients and additives that can be detrimental to a person’s health. Most people consume these products without ever looking at the nutrition labels or ingredients.
The mass production of bread has turned into a mere business, which has sacrificed the quality of the product. Bread was once made in the home, and now can be conveniently purchased for less than a dollar at some stores at the expense of the nutritional value for the consumer.
These stores add chemicals and additives to bread in order to allow for a longer shelf life, soft texture, cheap and easy mass production, etc. In older times, grain was ground between stones to make flour for the bread. This allowed for all the nutrients in the grain to remain in the flour. Recently however, during the industrial revolution, bread became a good of mass production. Grinding grain between stones proved too slow and machines are now used in place of them. Roller mills were invented to produce flour quickly, but they do not grind the germ and bran in the grain properly so it is ejected. These are then fed as “byproducts” to animals. Elmer M. Cranton, M.D. states, “It’s been cynically observed that more profit can be made from healthy animals and sick people.”
The high temperatures used in processing the flour for bread also affect the nutrition content. The heat reaches around 400 degrees Fahrenheit that destroys even more vitamins in the flour. Also, to make bread whiter, the flour is bleached with a chemical similar to Clorox. Elmer M. Cranton, M.D., explained, “The bleaching process leaves residues of toxic chlorinated hydrocarbons and dioxins. Methionine, an essential amino acid, reacts with bleaching chemicals to form methionine sulfoxine.” This residue has proven to cause seizures in animals, so one could only imagine the affect it could have on humans. The process of bleaching also destroys even more vitamins and minerals in the bread. According to foodforlife.com “This results in the total loss of natural fiber, bran and 22 vitamins and minerals. To compensate, five vitamins and minerals (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, iron and folic acid) are added back in, “enriching” the flour.” Most wheat breads on the market are also a similar version of the white bread, they are just dyed a brown color.
An alternative to eating bread that has been bleached and stocked with chemicals and additives does exist. There is Organic Sprouted Whole Grain Products that exist on the market that are phenomenal for health. Breads are made from sprouted grains before they fully develop. These types of bread are organic and made without flour. The sprouted grains actually increase the vitamin content of the bread as opposed to the flour that is used in mass production. According to foodforlife.com,” Sprouting neutralizes phytic acid – a substance present in grains – that inhibits absorption of nutrients and more important Sprouting neutralizes or “predigests” if you will, grains through enzymatic activity.” The enzymes that are produced during the sprouting process break down the amino acids which help the body digest the whole grain. In essence, the human body digests these types of bread much like it would digest a vegetable.
An example of this type of bread is “Ezekiel 4:9” bread. This name of this bread is inspired by the Bible verse: Ezekiel 4:9., “Take also unto thee Wheat, and Barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and Spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it…” The bread is made with six sprouted grains and legumes. It contains all nine essential amino acids and contains protein, similar to that in milk and eggs, with a quality of 84.3 percent. This bread contains a total of 18 amino acids and is completely made from vegetables. Although this bread is about $4.00 a loaf, it is well worth it as a healthier and more nutritious option.
Bread can relate strongly to people, places, and the environment as it is consumed on a daily basis around the world. Elmer M. Cranton, M.D. summed it up when he stated: “Modern technology has transformed bread, once the staff of life, into a mere broken reed, contributing to widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies.”