Bread is a key food in our everyday diet, and for many, it’s a beloved item. However, no matter how much one desires to eat fresh, healthy bread all the time, it’s very difficult escaping the preservatives that plague the loaves around us. Standard bread that you find on the shelves is kept fresh by using different chemically laden preservatives. Even whole wheat bread uses modified wheat starch that is composed with chemicals that act as a thickener and preservative. Preservatives like this have no nutritional value and often times can actually be harmful to your health. To ensure you’re eating healthy foods, here are the top 3 bread preservatives you need to be on the lookout for, and avoid:

  1. Calcium propionate – This is the most common preservative used in bread. Calcium Propionate occurs naturally in butter and specific types of cheese and it helps prevent mold and bacteria growth in bread. It has been known to cause side effects such as stomach ulcers, behavioral irritability in children, and headaches.
  2. Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT) – This is a lab-produced chemical that is added to bread as a preservative. It slows down the autoxidation rate of ingredients that causes deterioration in the taste or color. It is known to produce problems upon ingestion such as abdominal pain, confusion, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Its long term effects on the lungs, liver, and kidneys are overall toxic.
  3. Sulfur Dioxide – Sulfur Dioxide is regularly used in bread for its properties as a preservative and antioxidants. It is mixed with the flour and serves as its bleaching agent. Though it increases the shelf life, just a small serving of sulfur dioxide can be devastating to your body if you have asthma, sulfite sensitivity or sulfite allergy.

The bottom line is that if you value a healthy lifestyle, avoid bread preservatives at all costs. Despite the listed bread preservatives that are mostly chemically produced and bad for your long term health, there are natural bread preservatives available such as ascorbic acid, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, honey, and lecithin. Breads with natural preservatives are a better choice; however, even though they may increase the softness and lengthen the freshness, they still don’t produce the healthiest bread that meets the nutritional demands your body needs to thrive. As a general rule, you want to look for healthy bread by finding food with a transparent and simple ingredient list. The fewer ingredients, the better.

Réver Artisan Bakery has the freshest, healthiest bread on the market. We double wrap our bread so that there is an additional barrier against moisture that causes bacteria growth. With zero bread preservatives to chemically transform our bread, you are getting 100% fresh and healthy bread.

Terry Ramsey