Bread is a major staple of our diet and is used everywhere in the world. Real bread consists of only 3 ingredients:
You can add salt for more taste. You can add yeast to make it rise. But other than that, that is it! So why, when we go to the supermarket, are there tons of ingredients we never heard of in our most simplest food staple??
Vegans have to be extra careful in understanding labels simply because many animal derived products are listed under chemical names that are hard to understand, as well as pronounce. However, I remain in the firm belief that food should come in its most natural state. The more man tampers with it, the less we should be eating it. Moving on.
The main answers include preservatives, other additives and addiction. Yes, addiction.
First, preservatives and additives. Several industrial grade bread makers use chemicals and dough fillers to make the bread more elastic and to give it a longer shelf life. The industrial grade bread makers also use white flour for the majority of their breads, giving them 0% nutritional value. If there is actual nutrition in the bread, it is because they have added synthetic vitamins and minerals to it so they can therefore label it as “nutritious”.
What are some of the additives, or emusifiers, in the breads and are they vegan?
Mono and diglycerides. This helps the bread from going stale. In commercial breads, it is NOT vegan unless specifically labeled as being from vegetable/soy origin.
Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate. A dough strengthener, it helps keep the dough uniform. This can also have several other names, one being sodium salt. This is very misleading as one might read sodium salt as being “salt”, therefore vegan. However, this preservative could be far from it. It’s a form of stearic acid and lactic acid combined together. Both of these are usually animal, either cow or pig derived, in commercial grade foods.
Diacetyl Esters of Tartaric Acid (DATEM). Has the same function as sodium stearoyl lactylate. It comes from mono and diglycerides, therefore not vegan unless specifically labeled.
Lecithin. This helps the bread stay softer. Lecithin can be either vegan or non vegan. It comes from tissues and organs of many animals. It can be found also in soy, peanuts and corn. Unless specifically labeled soy lecithin, or vegetable derived, I would steer clear. In commercial grade foods, the soy will be GMO.
Calcium propionate. This is used for preventing mold growth. It can also be labeled under propanoic acid or calcium salt. Calcium propionate is made synthetically from ethyl alcohol and carbon monoxide. It is a fatty acid that is found naturally in sweat, milk and fermented bacteria, however manufactures use a synthetic version that is vegan, but has been known to damage the brain cells.
L-Cysteine. L-Cysteine is a flour treatment agent extracted from duck, chicken feathers, cow horns and petroleum byproducts. Believe it or not, it is also extracted from human hair. The hair is gathered from barbershops in China and dissolved in acid while isolating the l-cysteine. Therefore it is 100% not vegan.
What about addiction?
Sugar. Many industrial grade companies use addictive ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup or sugar. Yes, HFCS is technically vegan, but so are poisonous mushrooms and we wouldn’t eat those. HFCS has a rather negative health profile and can be equated to having the same addictive effect as cocaine.
Processed sugar, also addictive, on the other hand may not necessarily be vegan. Many industrial grade companies use bone char in the processing of white sugar. Bones from animals, of course.
Glutamic acid or Mono Sodium Glutamate.
MSG is approximately 78 percent free glutamic acid, 21 percent sodium, and up to 1 percent contaminants. It is chemically derived and used as a flavor enhancer in many foods. MSG has several different names it goes by and may be “hidden MSG” under names such as:
- yeast extract
- Yeast nutrient
- autolyzed yeast
- anything “hydrolyzed” like “hydrolyzed protein”
- anything with “glutamate” or “glutamic”
- textured protein
- Calcium caseinate
- Sodium caseinate
It is under the “E” labels for additives.
MSG and derivatives thereof can have a devastating effect on the human body. It affects the nervous system and can be equivocated to over the counter drugs such as valium and lithium. So even though it is technically vegan, it is a chemical that can have irreversible damage to the human body.by