WHAT THEY MAY ACTUALLY MEAN IN MODERN BREAD
Are “whole grain” breads more nutritious? The term “whole grain” refers to the grain before it has been milled into flour. A grain kernel is comprised of 3 layers: the bran (the outer layer where most of the fibre exists), the germ (the inside layer where many nutrients and essential fatty acids are found) and the endosperm (the starchy middle layer).
The high nutrient density associated with grains exists only when these 3 are intact. This was possible in the olden days when flour was originally produced by grinding grains between large stones. The final product, 100% stone-ground whole-wheat flour, contained everything that was in the grain, including the germ, fibre, starch and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
The modern method uses high-speed, steel roller mills that eject the germ and the bran. Much of this “waste product” (the most nutritious part of the grain) is eliminated. The resulting white flour contains only a fraction of the nutrients of the original grain.
In fact, the grain used in industrial bakeries is specially milled to smash apart the carbohydrates it contains, reducing the nutritional quality of the grain but increasing the capacity of the flour to absorb water and be processed faster by the yeast and enzymes.
What about “wholemeal” bread? “Wholemeal” bread is made from white flour to which is added chemically treated wheat germ. Doris Grant, author of Your Daily Food, suggests the addition of chemically treated wheat germ makes the finished product twice as harmful as bread made from white flour alone.
In the west, much of the bread now marketed as “whole-wheat” bread is the same old refined white bread with a little brown colouring added. That colouring is usually burnt sugar, listed on the label as caramel.
“High fibre” and “fibre-added” are also terms appearing on many bread wrappers, but what do they mean? These terms suggest the bread you are buying will assist in keeping your bowel movement regular. There is no fibre in milled flour, which is essentially just starch, so commercial bakers add non-digestible vegetable fibre or synthetic methyl cellulose to replace the fibre contained in the cellulose shell, ie the bran, the outside layer of a grain kernel, discarded when flour is milled.
In the US, one manufacturer even added sawdust (!) to replace the lost bran, calling it cellulose on the label and advertising it as “high fiber” bread.
From CAP GUIDE: What’s in Your Bread Available here: https://consumer.org.my/product/whats-in-your-bread/