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Bromate in bread, is it really bad?

Bread is a common staple food widely consumed by people all over the world. There are different types of bread but the most common is the ‘white bread’.

Shocking fact about white bread in Nigeria.
• Most white bread contain potassium bromate.

Potassium bromate is an additive (oxidizing agent) used during bread production to strengthen dough and obtain a uniform and whitened bread. It is often used because it is cheaper causing a huge rise in dough during production also resulting in more elastic, fluffy and soft bread.

Ascorbic acid or Vitamin C also an oxidizing agent  is considered a healthy alternative to potassium bromate. Other oxidizing agents that can be used are;  glucose oxidase ammonium persulphate, ammonium chloride and amylases.

Potassium bromate has been banned in so many countries including Nigeria. the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) banned the use of potassium bromate as a dough conditioner in 2003, despite this; elevated levels (above the normal permissible limit) of potassium bromate are consistently detected in bread produced and consumed in Nigeria.

The use of potassium bromate as a food additive in bread production and consumption has a serious effect on human health and the nutritional value of the bread. This include;

• Degradation of vitamins A1, B1, B2, E and niacin which are the main vitamins available in bread.
• Headache, irritability, and impaired thinking.
• Kidney damage.
• Deafness
• Liver and intestine damage.
• Hypotension
• Cancer
• Gastrointestinal discomfort
• Nervous system damage

Tips on bread consumption
• It is advisable to avoid white bread if possible.
• Consider whole wheat bread, sourdough bread or gluten-free bread as healthier alternatives.
• It is advisable to avoid anything that has potassium bromate or bromated flour or E924 listed as an ingredient.
• It is advisable to eat white bread that is properly baked (brown on the outside).
• It is advisable to eat white bread with thicker texture and little crumbs.

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2 thoughts on “Bromate in bread, is it really bad?”

    1. Thank you for finding this piece life saving and I thank you for the question.

      Since we cannot chemically test for bromate at the point of purchase which would have been the ideal thing to do in order to ascertain the presence of bromate, I have a few advice to give you.

      1. Go for a labelled bread.
      2. Avoid buying bread that has ‘bromated flour’ as one of the listed ingredients.
      3. Bake your own bread, if possible
      4. Eat ‘properly baked’ bread and avoid the ‘white’ bread

      I hope you find this helpful

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