Before you make that next sandwich, you may want to read the list of ingredients on your bread bag label – because there’s a very good chance that it may contain carcinogens.
A food additive used in bread called potassium bromate has been in the international news lately. Indian health officials have recently called for a ban on the use of the additive, which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
A testing of products in India found potassium bromate in 84 percent of 38 popular brands of bread, buns, pizza crusts and other baked goods. Potassium bromate has already been banned in numerous countries, including the entire EU, the UK, Canada, China and Brazil.
Potassium bromate not banned in the U.S.
However, the use of potassium bromate has not been banned in the United States, and although all states require the listing of ingredients, only California requires a warning label for the additive to be included.
Potassium bromate is added to dough to make it stronger and more elastic. It also speeds up the bread-making process and gives baked products a white color.
Genotoxic effects of potassium bromate
Clinical studies measuring the effects of potassium bromate on humans have not been performed, but studies on human cells suggest that the chemical may indeed cause cancer.
In 2015, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a report on potassium bromate.
From Tree Hugger:
“‘Obviously there haven’t been any intentional studies that expose humans to high levels of potassium bromate,’ said Jose Aguayo, EWG database analyst and co-author of the report. ‘But there have been studies done on human cells.’
“Aguayo told TreeHugger that in studies of human cell cultures, potassium bromate has been seen to have a genotoxic effect, or in other words, causes damage to the cell’s DNA. Aguayo said that while this doesn’t prove potassium bromate causes cancer in humans, it suggests that it could.
“Manufactu[r]ers say that the baking process converts potassium bromate into a salt, potassium bromide. But if ingredients aren’t mixed at the correct ratios, or aren’t cooked properly, the original compound may remain.
“The EWG report cites testing in the UK where some samples of finished bread products were found to have potassium bromate residues.”
Other dangerous bread additives
Potassium bromate, however, is just one of many chemicals found in commercial bread products. Baked goods found on grocery store shelves in the U.S. and elsewhere typically contain numerous additives that are not only potentially harmful, but actually unnecessary.
As Vani Hari, the Food Babe, noted:
“It only takes 4 ingredients to make bread – flour, yeast, water and salt, there’s really no need for all that other nonsense.”
As reported by Food Babe:
“Commercially available grain-based products that line grocery store shelves and are served at restaurants are unhealthy.
“They are full of ingredients that are not food, like azodicarbonamide (the same chemical in yoga mats and shoe rubber), other chemical dough conditioners, added sugars, artificial flavorings or coloring and GMOs.
“Flour can be treated with any of the 60 different chemicals approved by the FDA before it ends up on store shelves – including chemical bleach! Also, the industrial processing destroys nutrients, such as Vitamin E and fiber.
Even many of the bread products that look healthy are actually loaded with sugar and other questionable additives.
The label may say “100% Wholewheat,” but upon closer inspection you’re likely to find high fructose corn syrup and numerous preservatives on the list of ingredients.
When you buy bread products at the grocery store, always check the ingredient list – or better yet, learn to make your own delicious natural bread at home.
You’ll save money while eating healthier and – believe me – your hot, homemade bread, fresh from the oven, will smell and taste better than anything you’ll find on the supermarket shelf!