More Bad News About Bread

Mercy, Maude, this bread mess is something else!

I talked about celiac disease and bromide problems last time. And said I’d be back with more bad news. And here I am–with more bread ingredients you don’t want anything to do with.

• Most bread lists Malted Barley Flour as an ingredient, typically the second one–which means it’s the second most prevalent ingredient. Translated? There’s a bunch of it in there, and it causes brain damage.

How’s that, you ask? Well, malted barley flour comes loaded with the amino acid glutamate, an excitotoxin. That is, it revs up the hypothalamus part of the brain to toxic levels, leaving it a wounded warrior.

Now, this is a very bad thing seeing as how the hypothalamus controls your nervous system AND your endocrine system. When it gets wounded, so do you. Count on it.

You may not connect that to your autoimmune disease, but you should. Same with a punked out thyroid. Or any other endocrine gland. Not to mention neuropathies, the pins and needles pain that seems to have no explanation.

And, as if brain damage isn’t enough, malted barley flour contains a ton of tannins, a major cause of migraines. Now, tannins can do wonderful things, but if you’re allergic to them, there goes your head.

Most commercial breads and bags of flour contain malted barley flour. Ya gotta read labels! And if there’s no label to read, as in a restaurant? Assume it’s there.

They say malted barley flour improves the taste. Stomping all over your health isn’t mentioned.

Malted barley is also in some beers, with the same effects.

• Then there’s azodicarbonamide (ADA). It’s a pesticide from China that’s added to flour to speed up the bleaching process.

This is a biggy and getting bigger. While typically the last ingredient listed on labels, even a little packs a wallop. links it to cancer, reproductive and developmental problems, nerve damage and overall toxicity.

Well, is there enough of it in bread to do any real damage? Oh, indeedy!

It causes coughs, headaches that can last for days, shortness of breath, wheezing, swollen nasal cavities, burning throat and breathing problems. People report being diagnosed with asthma because of ADA. Quit the ADA, and they’re healed! Same with sinus infections.

The United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia and most of Europe ban ADA. The FDA and World Health Organization say it’s just hunky-dory. No problem here. Move along.

Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and Burger King all add ADA to their bread. MickyDs apparently doesn’t.

• And don’t buy any bread that’s fortified with iron. They make it sound as healthful as all get out, but it’s illegal in most of Europe because it triples the incidence of liver cancer. Besides, too much iron rusts us out. It also leads to heart problems. The reason women don’t have heart attacks before menopause is because their periods get rid of any excess iron. Men can reap the same benefit by donating blood every month or so.

• Finally, high fructose corn syrup. I’m worn out from all my jumping up and down about HFCS, so I’ll just recap: HFCS raises triglyceride levels, leads to obesity and diabetes, raises uric acid levels, damages the kidneys, wears out the liver and creates general mayhem. Poison.

Some people hope Ezekiel bread, said to be from a Bible recipe, is the answer. Sorry. Ezekial bread contains soy. Soy is a poison. Again, I’ll summarize: Soy disrupts the endocrine system, causes kidney stones, strips us of the minerals we need, damages the hypothalamus, depresses the thyroid and eventually leads to breast and prostate cancers. And the thing is, it didn’t exist in Bible lands during all the centuries in which the Bible was written.

I love bread. I love the taste, the texture in my mouth, everything about it. I just wish somebody would make bread that didn’t do me in.

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This is the second post of a two-part series. To read the first post, click here.

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10 Responses to More Bad News About Bread

  1. Bette July 16, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    I love bread, too, and this mess is a major problem. If you can find genuine Kosher bread, that’ll work. Or you can make bread–just be sure to get unbleached, unenriched, nothing added flour, use butter instead of oleo or oil, etc. And spread the word about the problem; there’s a business opportunity for anybody who wants to make healthful bread.

  2. Jacqueline Vasan December 12, 2010 at 4:56 pm #

    I get the flour from the farmer, about an hour away from my house. Yes, a simple recipe: flour water, olive oil, honey, a little salt if you like, yeast. Your comment tickled me because frequently someone will say, ‘oh, you make that healthy stuff’ I love bread and will ship to you if you like!

  3. Natalie June 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    I’ve been making flour tortillas with flour, per Bette’s advice, purchased at the health food store. Add sea salt, olive oil, baking powder (optional), and warm water (or milk). Let dough rest before rolling out. Cook in an ungreased, cast iron pan on stove top.

    They are quicker than yeast breads, and satisfy my “bread” desire. They warm up beautifully if you make a batch and keep them refrigerated! With no preservatives, they are much tastier than store-bought tortillas.

    • Bette June 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

      Way to go, Natalie! Isn’t it nice to rediscover how good things can taste?

  4. tom becker April 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm #


    i really enjoyed your article on bread. is there a commercial bread out there that that you would recommend? i have been eating Ezekiel, but that’s over with. i appreciate any advice.

    • Bette April 26, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      It seems like commercial bakers don’t worry about the same things regular people do. I haven’t found a bread to recommend. Sorry.

  5. Celeste April 30, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    What an informative article. I am allergic to barley and I cannot find any bread or even flour that doesn’t contain “malted barley flour” in it. I also find that it is contained in most crackers, pretzels and snacks. I actually sent an email to the FDA and they responded saying that barley is a safe grain and will continue to be used in baked products. I did not know about the dangers of soy, so thank you for that information. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and I notice how lousy I feel after eating many of these foods. I am now searching for flour without “malted barley” in it and purchasing a breadmaker. Wish me luck! Thank you again and hopefully if enough consumers complain the FDA will take out the barley. Not likely.

    • Bette Dowdell August 31, 2015 at 10:28 am #

      Hi, Celeste. I do wish you luck in your search for food fit to eat; it shouln’t be as so hard. Malted barley flour and the FDA are all about money, not health, so you’re right in guessing they won’t do anything positive.

  6. CHERIE RAE SERJEANT August 30, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    I really like this article. I wish i could share on FACEBOOK.I bought a Soft Pretzel Stick at Trader Joes. I really liked the taste. So I took a look at the ingredients n noticed it had Malted Barley Flour. I had recently read something about this ingredient but I could not remember what. So I I did a search and That is how I ended up on your site today. Thank you for the info. I do love the name of your site

    • Bette Dowdell August 31, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Thanks for your kind words, Cherie. If malted barley flour made things taste bad, we wouldn’t have a problem, but it doesn’t, and so our health gets damaged because we don’t know it’s a problem. But now you do, so life just got better. Get a free subscription at and a new article will show up in your inbox every Tuesday morning.

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