Are you consuming a common bread additive that’s a possible human carcinogen?
That additive is known as potassium bromate, and although it’s health risks are well-known, it’s still present in many everyday bread brands. Learn more about this additive below, why it’s such a hazard, and how to choose the healthiest potassium bromate-free bread options.
Potassium Bromate: What It Is and Why It’s Bad
Potassium bromate is a food additive that helps strengthen bread dough. It’s what gives the bread that squeaky-clean bleached white color, helps the dough rise, and enhances its elasticity to make it fluffier.
It sounds pretty good, right? Who wouldn’t love a fluffy, visually appealing slice of bread like this? Although the end product is tasty, here’s the problem: potassium bromate is harmful to your health.
Potassium Bromate Dangers: Possible Carcinogen and More
There are some big areas of concern when it comes to potassium bromate.
Possible Human Carcinogen
In 1999, potassium bromate was determined as a possible human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Several countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, have even banned the use of potassium bromate as a food additive for this reason. It still remains legal in the United States, with the FDA simply encouraging bakers to stop using it voluntarily. California is the only state that regulates its use.
In lab animal tests, researchers found potassium bromate exposure increased benign and malignant tumors in the thyroid and abdominal cavity lining [*].
Can Disrupt DNA
When potassium bromate enters your body, it can potentially transform into radicals and oxides, highly reactive molecules than may damage and disrupt DNA. Research has shown these molecules can play a role in cancer development.
In addition, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has stated that even skin or eye exposure to potassium bromate is cause for medical attention.
How to Avoid Potassium Bromate Foods
Potassium bromate is a common ingredient in at least 86 well-known supermarket bread brands, according to the Environmental Working Group’s Food Scores. It’s also still found in many fast food buns.
The food industry gets around the evidence for potassium bromate dangers by the fact that breads virtually devoid of the additive after they’ve been baked.
But if the bromated flour isn’t baked at a high enough temperature, isn’t baked long enough, or if too much potassium bromate is added to begin with, the chance of exposure is still there.
Your safest bet is to avoid foods with potassium bromate completely. Check the ingredients list of any bread product for “potassium bromate” or “bromated flour.”
Focus on bread brands without potassium bromate, including the following:
- Organic rye breads (very minimal ingredients and low gluten content) like:
- Sprouted grain breads like:
- Ezekial 4:9
- Dave’s Killer Bread
- Gluten free breads like:
Thankfully, you can still enjoy bread while avoiding harmful ingredients like potassium bromate.
And at Nature’s Ideal, we want to make it easy for you to choose healthy at any time, for all of your food needs. For more all-natural bread products and alternatives, like wraps, see our Bread and Baked Goods selection!