Traditionally, white bread in the USA is made through a process that includes mixing, fermentation, proofing, baking, cooling, slicing, and packaging. The basic ingredients used in this process are wheat flour (enriched with vitamins and minerals like niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, and folic acid), water, yeast, salt, sugar and fat (such as butter, vegetable oil, or lard).

Unfortunately we are not told about all the other additives used in this process that helps to cut baking costs, add a longer life to the bread and insure a consistent supply.

Many of these additives are banned in other countries and have shown evidence that they may be detrimental to your health, affecting your diet and fitness goals. Today, we are revealing the full list with the hope that you can make better decisions for you and your family’s health:

5 Common Additives in White American Bread

  1. Potassium Bromate:
    • Usage: Strengthens the  dough and helps to promote rising.
    • Health Concerns:
    • Potassium bromate is classified as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Animal studies indicate it  can cause tumors in the kidneys, thyroid, and other tissues. Plus some evidence suggests it could have carcinogenic effects in humans.
    • Regulation: Banned in the EU, Canada, Brazil, China, and India
  2. Azodicarbonamide (ACA):
    • Usage: as a dough conditioner and bleaching agent.
    • Health Concerns: According to the World Health Organization (WHO),  It has been shown to cause respiratory problems like asthma and other respiratory symptoms.  Plus, it has been shown to break down into a chemical that is linked to cancer.
    • Regulation: It has been banned in Europe and Australia
  3. Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO):
    • Usage: Used in some but not all baking
    • Health Concerns: Over consuming is linked to neurological symptoms like headaches, fatigue, balance issues, speech difficulties, and memory loss
    • Regulation: Banned in Europe.
  4. Artificial Colors and Preservatives:
    • Usage: Includes Yellow # 5, Yellow # 6, Red # 40, and preservatives like calcium propionate.
    • Health Concerns: Yellow #5 Can cause allergic reactions, particularly in individuals with aspirin sensitivity. Symptoms include hives, itching, and asthma attacks.
    • Yellow #6 can cause allergic reactions like skin rashes and asthma.
    • Red #40 can cause allergic reactions, especially in people sensitive to aspirin or who have existing allergies. Symptoms may include hives and facial swelling.
    • Calcium Propionate– gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and bloating in sensitive individuals
    • Regulation: Several are restricted or banned in Europe.
  5. Enrichment and Bleaching:
    • Usage: Flour in the U.S. is often enriched with vitamins and minerals and bleached for a whiter appearance.
    • Health Concerns: Enrichment usually focuses on specific nutrients and may neglect vital components like fiber, essential fatty acids, and phytochemicals that are found in whole grains.
    • Bleaching reduces the nutritional value of flour through degrading certain vitamins and minerals. It  removes the bran and germ thereby stripping the flour of fiber, essential fatty acids, and many micronutrients. As a result, the lack of fiber may contribute to digestive problems like constipation and poor gut health. Plus some people may be sensitive to the chemicals that can lead to allergic reactions.
    • Regulation: European flours are less likely to be enriched or bleached.

General Health Implications of White Bread

  1. High Glycemic Index: White bread has a high glycemic index that causes rapid spikes in blood sugar levels and can lead to insulin resistance, increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and weight gain.
  2. Low Satiety:
    • Due to  low fiber content, white bread may not provide a lasting feeling of fullness leading to overeating and weight gain.
  3. Nutritional Deficiencies:
    • Too much white bread can contribute to nutritional deficiencies, as it lacks the healthier nutrients found in whole grains.
  4. Chronic Diseases:
    • Regular consumption of refined is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.

The key difference between  European regulations and American regulations lies in that Europe takes a precautionary approach. They ban many additives that may be linked to potential health risks. On the other hand, the FDA still permits their use based on the “generally recognized as safe” designation until proven.

Some experts argue this results in greater exposure to potentially harmful substances for Americans compared to European. However, the FDA maintains its evaluation process ensures safety before approval.

You be the judge!

Keep these facts in mind…

RE: Lobbying and Business Interests-  Experts have pointed out that lobbying and business interests have influenced the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines have been criticized for being unduly influenced by food manufacturers and special interest groups. This influence leads to the perpetuation of outdated research and recommendations that do not align with the latest scientific evidence.

Insiders Health Tip

We recommend avoiding ultra-processed breads with lengthy ingredient lists and  supporting local bakeries who use simpler methods and ingredients, or try baking at home to limit exposure to controversial additives.

Here is our list of alternative healthy foods to eat instead of commercially produced white bread:

1. Ezekiel Bread

Ezekiel bread is made from a mix of sprouted whole grains and legumes, including wheat, barley, spelt, millet, soybeans, and lentils. The sprouting process increases nutrient availability and makes the bread more easily digestible. It is also free from added sugars.

2. Sourdough Bread

Sourdough bread is made from fermented grains, which reduces antinutrients and increases nutrient availability. It has a lower glycemic index compared to regular white bread, making it a better option for blood sugar control. However, it still contains gluten

3. Rye Bread

Whole grain rye, is rich in fiber, B vitamins, and plant compounds called lignans. It supports gut health and has a lower glycemic index, which helps ito maintain stable blood sugar levels.

4. Sprouted Grain Bread

Sprouted grain bread is made from grains that have been allowed to sprout before being processed. This process reduces enzyme inhibitors and increases nutrient absorption. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and various vitamins and minerals.

5. Almond Bread

Almond bread is a grain-free and gluten-free alternative made with almond flour, eggs, and spices. It is high in protein and fiber, making it suitable for those following a Paleo diet or those with gluten sensitivities. These alternatives offer various health benefits, including improved nutrient absorption, better blood sugar control, and enhanced digestive health.


While commercially produced white bread has long been a staple diet, there are growing worries about the potential health risks of some chemicals and the lack of emphasis on whole grains. This has prompted many people to seek alternative healthy diet foods that better match their dietary goals.

Choosing whole grain alternatives, which retain their natural nutrients and fiber, can provide a healthier option for maintaining a balanced diet.



Wheat Classes


European Flour Explained to the Confused Baker

What are the different types of Wheat?


Science of Bread making

White Pan Bread

Bread Processing


FDA’s Gluten Labeling Guidelines Q&A

Bread Alternatives For Breakfast, Lunch, Or Snack Time


Top 5 Healthiest Bread Types to Eat


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