Subway to take out the Azodicarbonamide
Last week Subway announced that they would no longer add azodicarbonamide to their dough. Apparently the multi- syllabic, difficult-to-pronounce, food conditioning chemical, (which is used in shoe leather and synthetic belts as well as fake food), while considered safe by the FDA, breaks down to form a well-known carcinogen called urethane. In addition to being found in all manner of synthetic and rubberized non-comestible products, azodicarbonamide is used as a dough softener, which means it makes bread mushy and squishy allowing to be swallowed more quickly, presumably so we'll eat more of the stuff. Food processors know that the faster a food slides down a customer's gullet, the more of that food said customer is likely to eat. They call it "throat slip" and it's these kinds of taste tricks and palatability plots hatched by food scientists that make indulging in fast fare such a risky proposition.
While it's really nice for the folks at Subway to take out the azodicarbonamide (whose use is completely banned in Europe and Australia), there's a lot of other chemicals added to their processed bread that should also raise a red flag. One of the worst is bromide, which supposedly gives bread an elastic quality that makes it seem more substantive than it really is. That way even though the stuff effortless slips down your throat you still think you're eating something substantial and real. Bromide is a hormone disrupter that can negatively affect the skin, brain and kidney and is especially problematic for the thyroid gland. And according to a June 2012 article published in the journal "Cancer Cause Control”, bromide derivatives are associated with increased risks for stomach
Although when we think about bread most of us have a warm fuzzy feeling, (throughout history a warm loaf has come to represent home, health and happiness) between emulsifiers, softeners, conditioners, flavor enhancers, sweeteners, improvers and preservative our 21st century modern version of the stuff represents less the staff of life and more the sickle of death.
Lest anyone think "whole grain" bread is any better than the squishy, soft, white, processed, "play" dough you get at a fast food joint like Subway, you might be interested to know that in reality there's no such thing, at least from a legal perspective. Whole grain actually isn't really made with any whole grain. It's a composite, a processed pastiche of various proportions of the germ, (the good stuff) highly nutritious backed with minerals and vitamins, the bran (that's where the fiber is), and the starch (the insulin spiking, diabetes causing sugar).
According to an article published last week in the Journal Food and Nutrition Research, while the term indicates the inclusion at least some of each of the three components, there are no standards legal or otherwise, and significant variances exist in how much of the good stuff has been used in a particular loaf of bread. The authors of the article proposed what they considered to be the "most comprehensive definition of the 'whole grain' term to date", which take into account various factors including grain types,
pseudo-grains (which according to the authors include quinoa and amaranth), and milling procedures; all of which impact nutritional value. Unfortunately, the proportion issue, that is how much of each particular grain component is in a given loaf of bread, is a subject that is not addressed by the proposed definition and guidelines.