I have taken a break from my WTF blog to do some research on companies that produce quality, safer foods; those minus toxins, preservatives, and some of the other iffy substances. While that research is still in progress, I have listed one of the sources at the end of the article.
My love of bread inspired the information below. I hope that you find this information helpful in making plans for healthy eating.
Thinking About Bread
Lately, bread has been on my mind. After all, most households have a loaf or even loaves of white bread, wheat bread, whole grain bread or some other type of bread for sandwiches or sides. My family keeps a stock of bread most of the time. The government agency that oversees children’s dietary health in schools requires my daughter’s school to put “wheat bread” on the list of required lunch items for the children. So, our dedication to bread expands further than the home front.
As with most of the foods I find myself writing about, I begin with a rather optimistic view in hopes that I will be able to make a positive report. Despite that optimism and my love of bread, I remain a steadfast critical examiner of what’s in the bread we eat. While the news about bread is not all bad, choices matter.
So, What’s That Food?
Let’s start with the introduction of three types of common breads: wheat, whole wheat, white, multi-grain, gluten free as well as others. These different types of breads may fall into several categories:
- Organic Bread (Not just in name, but is certified organic) – This bread is made within the strict guidelines of certified organic; typically 95% of the ingredients must be organic. Out of the other types of bread discussed in this article, this one has the least additives/preservatives of them all. Since organically certified bread tends to be processed differently, it maintains higher nutritional values than other types of breads on the market.
- Natural Bread – nutritionally, this bread usually falls somewhere between organic and the normal bread/conventional bread. The “usually” means that there are times where “natural” is on a bread product, but the nutritional value is quite low. It might help to understand that “natural” can be put on products for a variety of reasons. It may have less preservatives, no artificial colors/sweeteners, no hydrogenated oils, and so on.
- Normal/Conventional Bread- This bread is the least of all breads. Generally speaking, it has the lowest nutritional value of all breads with the highest level of additives and preservatives.
The Conventional Non-Organic Bread
Since my family eats (or did eat) conventional wheat a.k.a. everyday wheat, let’s have a look. Many conventional breads look like this:
Ingredient 4: Dough conditioner – This could include any or all of the following:lactylate, monoglycerides, diglycerides, calcium dioxide, datem, and others. According to several sources, it is used to create a pleasing texture and helps create uniform loafs. Some of the dough conditioner items are preservatives.
The “Natural” (Non-Organic) Bread
Rather than provide an exhaustive list of ingredients, I’ll share the differences. Many of the ingredients are the same as conventional bread. One main difference is that the wheat is multigrain (several types of grain) and maintains slightly more nutrients after processing. Wheat flour is used and sweeteners do not include the high fructose corn syrup (as a general rule). Other possibly potentially harmful items that you might not see in “natural” breads includes: ammonium chloride, and dough conditioner. It is, in my opinion, a healthier choice but not the best as it still contains other unsafe substances.
Certified Organic Bread
Unfortunately, the food industry has gotten crafty. If the food meets certain criteria, it can list “organic” on the label. Unless it says USDA certified (for U.S.A. – other agencies regulate organic foods in other countries). So, to ensure that you have made the best possible choice for your family, look for certified organic bread. Certified organic bread is the best choice in my opinion. Here’s what you might see on the label: organic whole wheat flour, yeast, organic molasses (for sweetness), water, organic cracked wheat, and some have organic brown sugar. Everything is organic. If milk is used, it is also organic (cows graze on land that meets the organic certification standards). Some ingredients may vary. For example, there may not be a sweetener at all or it may not have milk in it. One thing to note is that not only does this product have 95% or more organic components, there is no soy which has some problems associated with it.
The Final Word
As I work toward transitioning toward healthier eating for my entire family, there are many considerations. For example, while pricing organic bread, I found it $1-$2 higher in cost. Limited budgets sometimes dictate our purchasing practices. My final word? If we all begin purchasing organic breads, they will become less expensive. Put your money where you mouth is. I plan to.
Newly Found Organic & Non GMO (genetically modified) Food Source
Research has led me to one possible source for healthier foods. Thrive market delivers to the door and is membership-based. I will keep you posted on how I feel they do on delivery, price, and quality products.