Bread is everywhere! We can’t escape it, it creeps into our diets daily. However, I try to keep it to a minimum. Here’s why: A lot of us may already know that white bread is unhealthy. Some of us may reason that as long as we are buying whole grain bread, we are making a healthy choice.

If you ask me (which you did, right?) I’ll tell you that most “Whole Wheat Bread” is poison too! I’m talking about commercial processed breads – most of which (among other undesirable ingredients) – include bromide (more on this evil chemical soon). Oftentimes, sadly enough, if its a typical highly processed commercial bread, the fact that it is whole wheat doesn’t make it much better than choosing its white brother.

So…Why is bread bad for you?

There are different schools of thought at work here. Some say that even whole wheat commercial bread is better because it is loaded with fiber and its glycemic index is lower. However, what I’m concerned about in processed bread is a pretty nasty ingredient- bromide- and the fact that all the naturally occurring nutrients have been stripped out in the factory process.

I don’t buy the argument that commercial/processed whole wheat bread is still healthy because all the vitamins and minerals (calcium, iron, vitamin E, etc) are added back to the flour as part of the process. Its still no match for the naturally occurring nutrients that were there in the first place! Also, the companies are using them in their synthetic form, which are not able to properly adapt to our bodies.

Processed bread is treated with a variety of chemicals from the ground to production in order to “bleach” the flour and prevent it from sticking- such as:

  • insecticides
  • fungicides
  • benzoyl peroxide or chlorine dioxide (known to cause cancer)
  • methyl bromide
  • nitrogen trichloride
  • alum
  • ammonium carbonate
  • nitrogen peroxide


These “hidden ingredients” can cause:

  • allergies that manifest as bloating, diarrhoea, eczema, asthma, headache or general malaise or lack of energy
  • leaky gut syndrome
  • growth of unfriendly toxin generating bacteria in the gut
  • slowing of bowel transit time, so toxic substances are in contact with the bowel for longer

It sure makes me crazy that someone would buy a refined, processed “whole wheat plus fiber” bread at their grocery store, hoping it is what they need to support the gastrointestinal tract and help flush out toxins. When they are getting the opposite!

So…What’s Bromide?

Bromide is a dough conditioner found in most flours as potassium bromate. It came into use in the 1960’s as an “improvement” on potassium iodate.

I’ll cut to the chase: Bromides disrupts the endocrine system and slow down the metabolism. Because bromide is also a halide (Any organic compound that contains a halogen atom can be considered a halide) it competes for the same receptors that are used in the thyroid gland (among other places) to capture iodine. This will inhibit thyroid hormone production, resulting in a low thyroid state. This throws your metabolism out of whack.

Why on earth do they use it, then?

Some commercial bakers claim they use bromated flour because it yields dependable results, and it makes more elastic dough which can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.

The UK banned bromate in bread in 1990. 
Canada banned bromate in bread in 1994.

Back in 1999, the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned the FDA to prohibit the use of potassium bromate, charging that the FDA had known for years that bromate causes cancer in lab animals, but had failed to ban it.

Who’s not using it?

I prefer non baked breads, known as “live bread”. Not only are the enzymes, minerals and vitamins (all the “goodies”) in it, but no bromide is added and it is more filling, energizing and nourishing.

There are many brands of live bread, my personal favorite being Ezekial Sprouted Bread. I’ve also heard that some manufacturers are starting to advertise their bread as “Bromide FREE.” Look for these!

The healthiest option, though, is to look for “Sprouted Bread”. This is bread that hasn’t been baked but still retains a very bread-like state. It’s packed with all the naturally occurring nutrients and enzymes that processed bread strips out. Other healthier options is to make your own bread from grains such as spelt, quinoa, rice, etc..

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