More Bad News About Bread

Mercy, Maude, this bread mess is something else!

In my article, “Two Problems With Bread,” I talked about celiac disease and bromide problems. Now I’m back with more bad news, additional 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’s bad stuff.

How’s that, you ask? Well, malted barley flour comes loaded with the amino acid glutamate, an excitotoxin. That is, it can rev 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.

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. Yikes!

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. MickyD’s 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.

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 (can you say ‘gout’?), 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 they didn’t mess with it so much.

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Bette Dowdell

A drunk driver damaged Bette Dowdell's pituitary gland shortly before her first birthday. Although doctors insisted for years that she was fine, her health drifted to a crash-and-burn event, and she realized her health was up to her.

Now she's happy to report she has energy all day, every day. She sleeps well. Colds, flu and headaches are all in the past. Optimism moved back in. Life is good.

Now Bette's sharing what she knows with others to help them take control of their health, too. People who become their own health advocate enjoy far better health than those that don't.

Bette grew up in The Salvation Army, where her parents were officers. Like the military, this Army life involved a lot of moving, and she attended ten schools, in nine cities, in three states before graduating from high school.

After college, Bette worked as an IBM Systems engineer, a small-company consultant and software company owner. She wrote the books How to be a Christian Without Being Annoying, On We March: A memoir of growing up in The Salvation Army and the e-book Pep For The Pooped: Discovering the Vitamins and Minerals Your Body Is Starving For.

She lives in the Phoenix area.


Bette Dowdell

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  1. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    Many people call chia God’s perfect food, so while I haven’t tasted chia bread, it should do good things–as long as they leave out the bromide, malted barley, HFCS and all the other bad actors.

    Rye and pumpernickel don’t work for celiac sufferers, but they, especially pumpernickel, sure taste good. Again, as long as they leave out the bad stuff.

  2. says

    Hi Bette,
    Thanks for the great info, but one day, you must give us healthy alternatives, My Dad is 75, and I don’t like him eating 2 or 3 slices of bread (whole-wheat) a day.
    But, after 70 plus yrs. he’s not about to change now.
    A healthy alternative would certainly help though.

  3. ZedeZ says

    regarding EZEKIEL bread.

    It’s made from SPROUTED grains, including SPROUTED Soybeans.
    So, the soy which is in this bread is not actually soy, but sprouts.
    Does it make any difference ???

    any comments ?

  4. ZedeZ says

    I obviously started to research the answer to my own question: how soybean is different from sprouted soybean, which is in EZEKIEL sprouted grains breads ?

    I haven’t found yet the answer, but found an interesting article on Dr.Robert Young’s Ph.D. blog.
    Robert Young is the author of the very popular book on PH balance of the body, alkaline vs acid, “PH Miracle”.
    He says, that Soy is an alkalizing food, and fermented food is acidic. This is of course from the point of view of acidity vs alkalinity.

    This is a very interesting fact that I din’t know.
    He also says that for years he was saying that any soy food(non-fermented) is beneficial for the health.
    Of course the soy should be NON-GMO.
    Here is the link to the article:

  5. ZedeZ says

    RE….Dr.Robert Young’s article about Sprouted Soy:

    I forgot to mention his article is called:

    “Sprouted Soy Is Good For the Body and May Prevent Cancer”

    But he mentions almost all the time regular soy.

  6. Frederica Huxley says

    The only answer is to make your own bread – with flours from known sources and sourdough starter. Tastes far, far better than the store bought variety and you know what is – and far more importantly, isnt – in it.

  7. harry havoc says

    Bette, I too like bread but eat very little of it, I particularly like spelt bread, spelt flower is the original flower used and is very nutritious and healthy. Do you know of any breads on the market that are ok? I have many clients that count on me for this type of information. I am not a doctor but a researcher and fitness, health and longevity trainer. My wife is as well and is considered the very top of her class in Europe. I like your article and the way you write. I was a patient in hospital for 4 years. The only remarkable thing about that was that they said I would not survive the hour. So obviously it is important to me to read such great information provided by you. I signed up for your newsletter by the way and thank you in advance. Best Harry

  8. Boomer12k says

    About the glands, hypothalamus, and thyroid problems. Maybe that is what helped what happened to me. I was taking too much pain reliever, and to make a long story short, got candida, leaky gut syndrome, and ended up with Grave’s Disease, and no thyroid. I was a huge bread eater back in the early to mid ninties, and had headaches, and even had a STROKE at 42 in 95. I was eating the “health” food, SOY!!!! As I was 90% vegan with some turkey now and then. But I was also a BIG JUNK FOOD EATER….so it is probably a combination of bad things!!!!
    So balance your diet with less processed, “company” made products, and get a good bread machine, if you like bread. That way you always know the ingredients. OR after regular shopping, go to the health store and get some healthier bread from there.
    On another note, my 87 year old father eats cheap, white bread, and has done so for AGES, and has no problems with it, or so it seems. I think it comes down to the qualifying statement….If you are susceptible.

    Be well and happy.

  9. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    Sickness aside, it’s a wonder you survived hospital food for four years, Harry! Even the IV stuff is only half there.

    There’s a small bakery here in the Phoenix area that makes good bread, but I don’t know of any national brands. Virtually all of them contain bromine–which jumps up and down on your thyroid. I found one that doesn’t have bromine, but it has iron.

    Thanks for signing up for Too Pooped To Participate. It’s chock-a-block full of good information, and I hope you find it helpful.

  10. Panama Bob says

    Actually even home made bread is not good for ya as all grains are high carb. Why the controversy over bread, it’s all bad.


  11. Wizened says

    Soy in all it’s forms except possibly fermented versions is really not good news. To start with the soy available today is a GMO product it is virtually impossible to get your hands on non-GMO soy. Just doesn’t exist. If somehow you managed to plant a field of non GMO seeds it would soon be contaminated by the GMO plants as well because the stuff has escaped into the general environment. But there are countless other reasons from thyroid issues to endocrine disruption that we ought to be avoiding the stuff.

    A quick search here on this site netted lots more reading on the subject for those interested:

    The Soy Myth

    The Truth About Soy

    Soy Isoflavones: Superfood or Toxic Killer?

    Why Tofu Wrecks Your Brain

  12. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    You’re right, Wizened. That’s why I jump up and down so much about soy. It also causes kidney stones, which more and more children are experiencing. Coincidence, ya think?

    Homemade bread can be good if you make it with coconut flour.

  13. Anonymous says

    Bread is not inherently bad, Panama Bob, it’s only white flour and all of the other harmful ingredients in store-bought bread that will do you harm. Bake your own bread and eat a reasonable amount every day (not the new USDA suggested serving size) and you will do just fine.
    I like to see articles like this that hit processed foods right where it counts, in the ingredient list, and also calls out some food chains by name for using these ingredients in their products.
    Good job!


  14. Anonymous says

    All these negatives about soy and the MONSANTO tragedy for this world, Asians use the fermented version and to this day the only organic, maybe I am wrong, the world is a short distance now days and corruption is ramped, it takes a few seconds to be bad, it takes a lifetime to do good, why is this obsession to contaminate our bodies, for as much as complex that they are, still, needs time to recuperate, although they are a marvelous wonder, they cannot cope with so much pollution, even Superman would have a problem taking aside the kryptonite. JAM

  15. says

    You are so right! I worked in a commercial bakery in college and what I saw there would turn your stomach. Dough on the floor being thrown back in the batch, contagious people (flu, colds, coughs) handling the dough and equipment, and many other oddities caused concern.

    Now the basic elements are being compromised. Ugh! We need to make our own bread or buy from a local person we know.

  16. Jilly says

    Why would anybody need to eat BREAD?

    Think about it. Bread is very much processed food, even the flour itself is already processed food.
    Believe me, without including bread into meals, you will eat healthier, you will have more space for better food, and you will ultimately eat less carbs.
    And when I want carbs, I can always have boiled potato or peas, or beans, or even a treat with anything with butter and a little sugar (like some ice cream or dark chocolate) which is better than bread! Or anything with flour!

  17. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    The problem with Monsanto and other health destroyers is they value money above people. As the Good Book says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Honestly earned, money is a good reward for work well done, but money for money’s sake pollutes everything. If you’ll permit me to wax philosophic.

  18. Hermitress says

    Another issue is the grain itself. The way grain is stored in silos causes fungus contamination. When I first read of the fungus connection to illnesses I thought…no way. But jumped onto some farmer lists and lo and behold they were all complaining about all the fungus that is contaminating their grains right in the silos. And how they have to get less price for it and are forced to sell it to companies like the bread industries. So actually, no grain is safe unless you grow it yourself and store it correctly. There are over 8,000 known fungus strains and many specific strains are being tied to specific illnesses.

    I started having an issue a few years back when I added large amounts of millet to my diet (vegan burger recipe). I did research and found that a specific fungus is found on millet and is tied to psoriasis and even though I stopped eating millet the problem persists because the fungus persists.

    I believe that many of the so called auto immune diseases are really caused by fungus in our body and our bodies attempt at getting rid of these invaders and their mycotoxins.

    In my opinion, our immune system is not attacking is attacking the fungus.

    A note about soy. Originally soy was used in China for thousand of years, but only as a rotation crop to put nitrogen back into the soil. It was not a food crop. It did not become edible until fermentation was discovered. It is possible that they have hybrid/gmo it enough to remove some of the toxins but much like canola oil (made from rapeseed it stands for Canadian Oil – rapeseed oil used to only be usable as machine oil) it is still not fit for consumption as it comes out of the ground.

  19. Anonymous says

    The grains using Round-up ready versions can develop extreme fungal conditions in the root system and spread them through-out the plant , even into the developing seeds. At harvest the seeds with the fungal infection are then placed into silos, where it develops and spreads, contaminating all the grain in the silo. This has been documented by several researchers in the last 2-3 years.

  20. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    Well, the whole thing’s a mess. Maybe since a source of the fungus has been identified–and it’s hitting in the pocketbook where it hurts–they’ll start doing something about it. I’m not optimistic enough to hold my breath as I wait, but maybe it’s a little sliver of light.

    On the other hand, Monsanto will probably find a way to put anti-fungals in their GMO products so we get to ingest that, too. Along with the pesticides already there.

    Many of my subscribers are e-mailing their indignation about finding ADA in the ingredients list of the premium breads they buy. Nothing like paying top dollar for something that poisons you.

    Hermitress, I am not a doctor so I know nothing and cure nothing, but niacinamide kills candida, which is a fungus. 250mg about every waking hour to keep the levels up. From what I read, up to 5000mg a day is safe. I always recommend taking a B complex if you take any specific B, so add that. Jarrow’ supposed to be a good brand.

  21. Hermitress says

    I have taken upwards of 3 grams a day of niacinamide but may need to take it a bit longer for a permanent result. It does really help with sleep which is a bonus. Next I will add vitamin D because when I get daily sun it clears significantly. I read somewhere that the body sends these mycotoxins up through the skin because there is more vitamin D available in/on the skin to destroy the fungus.

    I am currently doing MMS protocol 3 drops every hour. It helps also though I know the FDA is trying to scare people away for MMS but I have taken it off and on for years and have only had good results but this is the first time that I am trying the hourly protocol for fungus. Will know in a couple more weeks if this protocol works.

  22. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    MusherMaggie, quinoa (keen wah for those new to it) is excellent. It’s more protein than starch. It can substitute for rice, too.

    Hermitress, everybody needs Vitamin D3, whether by sun or by supplement. Every cell in the body has a receptor for D, which is why it does such a wide variety of good things. I take 5000iu a day.

  23. Cari says

    Wow! I knew bread wasn’t good for you but I didn’t know it was this unhealthy. I heard that L-cysteine (human hair and duck feathers) are in all breads except for Nature’s Own. Can you or anyone else confirm this?


  24. Bette Dowdellbetted says

    Well, if somebody’s making l-cysteine out of human hair and duck feathers, be sure to heed my advice to buy only the amino acids labeled as “free form”–which would avoid strange ingredients.

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