Hidden Dangers: The bread aisle… don’t let those fluffy bags of wheat fool you – there is more to consider here than simply the choice between raisin, rye, and sourdough. Bread is rarely the “staff of life” it once was, but rather a refined, nutrient-stripped counterfeit of the real deal. Most bread that adorns the shelves of your local supermarket is void of any real health benefit. In fact, due to the conventional methods of processing, it may even be the culprit of your indigestion, eczema, low energy, foggy brain and general malaise. And if the processing methods were not enough to make you stay away, then maybe this will. Many brands now add high fructose corn syrup, GMO-soy oil and flour, artificial flavors and artificial sugars such as sucralose – talk about a fast track to weight gain, neurological complications and cardiovascular damage.
What You Should Avoid: Made with refined wheat, also known as white flour, conventional bread is produced from wheat that has been stripped of its wheatgerm and bran. The vitamins, minerals and fiber live in the wheatgerm and bran. So once stripped, bread is void of most nutrients. While often replaced with synthetic nutrients, these versions are not the same as the real thing. Synthetic vitamins and minerals are not easily utilized by the body and can even be harmful. There is also gluten to consider. White bread has a higher gluten content, which often stresses the immune system, and leads to allergy-like reactions, headaches and even constipation. And what about whole wheat? Well, it’s not what it may seem. Most often whole wheat contains white flour as well, and there is no guarantee that it is even predominantly whole wheat. This makes it not much better than its white-flour alternative, other than the possibility of a higher fiber content.
Here’s what to do: Search out organic sprouted bread, and even better, sprouted, freshly-milled bread. The sprouting process dramatically increases the nutrient profile while reducing the gluten content. In addition, sprouting reduces the innate anti-nutrients found in wheat, making the vitamins and minerals more accessible to the body for use. Two of our favorite brands that make sprouted bread are Alvarado Street Bakery and Food for Life, while Grindstone Bakery makes stone-ground, fermented organic wheat and gluten-free breads.