Despite being demonized in many diets and lifestyles, bread from dough remains a staple food in America. Look at the ketogenic trend to see how low-carb options using nuts have made bread more keto-friendly.
Bread is a staple food made from flour and water. It’s usually baked. There are many bread options on the market, but we will focus on traditional bread made with a flour and water base. It’s easy to see which bread is healthier by simply looking at the ingredients.
To make better flour choices, you should consider two factors. First, you need to decide whether to purchase bread made from gluten-free flour. The first is deciding whether to buy bread made from gluten-free flour.
Glyphosate (a herbicide) is used in cancer-causing products such as Roundup by Monsanto. By affecting the ability of the stomach to absorb and digest food properly, we start to notice more intolerances or allergies.[2,3] These are more related to intolerance to glyphosate than gluten.
First, determine if gluten intolerance is a concern. To ensure your gut health, you should only buy certified organic flour.[4-5]
When making informed and healthy bread choices, water is often overlooked. But not all water can be. Tap water can contain chlorine and remnants of toxic chemicals like hormones and pharmaceuticals.Choosing a bread company that only uses spring or properly filtered water is important. This is important because properly fermented bread requires live cultures. See point 3 for more information about how to make gluten digestible. Chlorinated tap water can not destroy live cultures.
Traditional bread fermentation yields bread that can be eaten within days, as the slow process allows it to ferment properly. Modern breadmakers have attempted to speed up this process using a chemical leavening agent. Commercial bakers call quick bread dough that doesn’t require fermentation.
Traditional fermented bread improves digestibility and lowers the glycemic index.[9-10]
The digestibility of bread depends on how well it has been fermented and what ingredients were used to make it rise. Natural yeast (sourdough starter) and commercial chemical leavening agents (baker’s yeast) are two common ways to raise the dough.
Wild or natural yeasts can be used to make starters for sourdough. They are made of fungus, and the live culture breaks down sugars in the flour, creating fermentation and making the dough rise.
Ingredients such as baking powder, cream of tartar, and baking soda are used to make leavening agents, like baker’s yeast. Many additives can be added to these yeasts, such as sodium metabisulfite or L-cysteine, as well as oxidants like potassium bromate and ascorbic acid. They don’t come from traditional live cultures which ferment the dough. These additives can also be linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Traditional fermented bread is slower because live cultures break down sugars and make them easier to digest. Traditionally fermented bread has a shorter shelf life than other types and requires one to keep it alive. If in doubt, it’s almost impossible to assume that the bread sold in large chains like Wholefoods and Panera, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Panera is real sourdough.
How to spot fake sourdough
When it comes down to bread, it is important to choose naturally fermented sourdough. In an age of greenwashing, people deceive others into believing they purchase real sourdough. Nowadays, “sourdough” is available for purchase anywhere. However, a local bakery will still provide sour-flavored bread.
“Sourdough starter” is the key to identifying authentic sourdough, which you can find in addition to flour, water, and salt. Although the wording of the sourdough starter may vary from one brand to the next, you should be able to recognize that it is a cultured starter.
You can identify fake sourdough when the bread has many ingredients. Except for flavorings (like rosemary or salt), there’s no reason to add flour, water, or sourdough starter to your traditionally fermented bread. If the label says “yeast” or contains additives such as oil, vinegar, sugar, or guar gums, you can assume it is fake.
It is important to pay attention to how long the dough has been fermented. Real sourdough should ferment for at least 4-6 hours. However, it can take up to 48 hours. It will be easier to digest the longer it ferments.
Additionally, you can tell if a fake sourdough has a short shelf-life. Bakeries often sell bread on the same day. While some bakeries may offer discounted loaves for “yesterday,” this should be enough to show you how susceptible real sourdough bread can become stale. The additives in packaged fake sourdough can harm you. They increase shelf-life and soften the bread.
The Substandard List
- Panera Sourdough
- Walmart brand sourdough sandwich loaf
- Cook’s Gluten-Free(tm) Bread Sourdough Gluten-Free
- ROCKENWAGNER BAKINGRY Sourdough Bachelor Loaf
- Whole Foods Market Sandwich Bread, Sourdough 365
- Rudi’s Rocky Mountain Bakery Gluten-Free Sourdough
- Target’s Sourdough Sliced Tuscan Bread: Favorite Day
- Sam’s Club Member Mark Sourdough Boules
- Central Market Sourdough Loaf
- Pepperidge Farm Farmhouse Sweet Bread
- Oroweat Fork-Split Sourdough English Muffins
- The Rustik Oven Artisan Bread
- Sourdough at a Great Value
- Marketside Bake at Home Sourdough Loaf
The Superior List
We don’t even have a “superior” list. Izzio Artisan Bakery is the only bread brand that can deliver nationally. It is also available in grocery stores. However, you will likely need to purchase your sourdough from an actual bakery. While some bakeries deliver to organic stores, you won’t find good quality products at large chains.
If it is real sourdough, sourdough bread can become a staple in a healthy diet. Slowly fermenting sourdough flour makes it more digestible and lowers its glycemic index. It’s not difficult to tell the difference between genuine and fake sourdough. However, you will most likely buy it from an organic bakery.
- Published by Statista Research Department on Jun 23, “U.S.: Usage of Bread
- 2011-2024.” Statista, Jun 23 2022, www.statista.com/statistics/281971/us-households-usage-of-bread-trend/.
- “Gluten Intolerance: Symptoms, Test, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity.” Cleveland Clinic, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/21622-gluten-intolerance.
- Samsel and Anthony Seneff. “Glyphosate pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac disease and gluten intolerance.” Interdisciplinary toxicology vol. 6,4 (2013): 159-84. doi:10.2478/intox-2013-0026
- Zhang, Luoping, et al. “Exposure to Glyphosate Based Herbicides, and Risk for Non Hodgkin Lymphoma : A Meta-Analysis with Supporting Evidence.” Mutation Research/Reviews In Mutation Research, vol. 781, 2019, pp. 186-206., doi:10.1016/j.mrrev.2019.02.001.
- Seneff, Stephanie, et al. “Glyphosate, the Gut.” Weston A. Price Foundation, Aug 27 2021, www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/glyphosate-and-gut-health/#gsc.tab=0.
- “Drugs in the Water.” Harvard Health, Jun 1 2011, www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/drugs-in-the-water.
- “Water Disinfection with Chlorine and Chloramine.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nov 17 2020, www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/public/water_disinfection.html.
- Grant’s Bakery. “Bread: The Most Important Thing in Human History.” Grant’s Bakery, grantsbakery.co.uk/blogs/posts/bread-the-most-important-thing-in-human-history.
- Rizzello, Carlo Giuseppe et al. “Sourdough Fermented Breads Are More Digestible Than Those Made with Baker’s yeast Alone: An In Vivo Challenge Dissecting Different Gastrointestinal Responses.” Nutrients vol. 11,12 2954. 4 Dec. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11122954
- Demirkesen-Bicak, Hilal et al. “Effects of different fermentation conditions on Estimated glycemic index, In Vitro starch digestibility and textural and sensory properties of sourdough bread.” Foods (Basel Switzerland), vol. 10,3 514. Mar 1. 2021, doi:10.3390/foods10030514
- Admin. “Modern History of Bread – 20th Century U.K.” Federation of Bakers, Jan 12 2017, www.fob.uk.com/about-the-bread-industry/history-of-bread-antiquity/history-bread-20th-century/.
- Costabile, Adele, et al. “Effect of breadmaking process on In Vitro Gut Microbiota parameters in Irritablebowel Syndrome.” PLOS ONE, vol. 9, no. 10, 2014, p. e111225, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0111225.
- Sarah Pope, “How to Spot Fake Sourdough in the Store (Panera Too!) ).” The Healthy Home Economist, Jul 17 2022, www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/fake-sourdough-bread/.