Why Do Some Bread Companies Add Synthetic Vitamins?
Yes, many, many, many highly processed, standard loaves of bread out there have synthetic vitamins added to them. However, if you look for them to be listed in the ingredient panel you certainly won't find them listed as "synthetic vitamins." In fact, the words you seeing may actually make you think you have found a healthy, nutritious loaf of bread. Let's set the record straight and dive into a quick vocabulary lesson.
Enriched - means that vitamins and minerals that were lost during food processing have been added back. When you see this word on food - it implies that that product has been heavily processed and that the natural nutrients have been destroyed so they've had to add synthetic vitamins to give it nutritional value.
Fortified - means that extra vitamins and minerals have been added to a product that were not necessarily present before food processing. Fresh foods like meat, fish, fruit and vegetables are not currently allowed to be fortified but milk, orange juice, cereals, oils and grain based products can be. When you see this word on food, it means that the nutrients in that product are not naturally occurring in the food and that synthetic vitamins have been added to meet dietary recommendation standards.
What I find really interesting is that the terms "enriched" and "fortified" sound like good things! Who doesn't want their lives to be enriched or fortified?? This is why it's important to not simply trust claims on food labels. Do your research! Find your truth!
What Kind of Synthetic Vitamins are in Bread?
In our previous article "Rancidity in Whole Grain Flours" we discussed how the grain seed (aka the kernel) is made up of 3 components - the bran, the germ and the endosperm. We went on to discuss how most of grain's nutritional value is found in the bran and the germ - both of which efficient, modern grain processing completely ELIMINATES from standard flour. Mass producing is at it again!
So, without the bran and the germ - processed flour is missing key nutrients such as Iron, Magnesium, Selenium, B Vitamins and Fiber. This is why many bread companies add synthetic versions of these vitamins and minerals back into their flour but not usually enough to make it as nutritious as the original grain.
Could these Synthetic Vitamins be Making Us Sick?
The answer is - maybe.
There is much debate about whether synthetic vitamins can even be processed and absorbed by the human body. According to a recent article on Today.com "doctors say not enough evidence exists to say whether fortified foods can replace foods naturally containing necessary vitamins and minerals. In other words, eating a cereal containing a plethora of vitamins does not equate to eating fruits, vegetables, legumes, or lean meats."
However, many people agree that naturally occurring nutrients are more highly absorbed and utilized by the body than synthetic vitamins.
Additionally, there are some nutritional things you need to take a look at. Enriched flour is not absorbed by the body as wheat or grain - but as a pure starch. You may not know this but our bodies respond to pure starch the same way they respond to pure sugar! This means enriched white flour can cause your blood sugar to spike and then fall (the sugar rollercoaster) exactly like sugar.
Going further - two slices of enriched white bread has about 150 calories and 1.5 grams of fiber. Two slices of our Whole Grain Spelt Bread has 160 calories with 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein.
Nutritionally, whole grain breads are powerhouses of nutrition compared to overly processed, enriched breads.
What to Know About Berlin Natural Bakery
We do no mass producing of our Heirloom Spelt Products. In fact, we only do small batch baking which comes out to 100 loaves at a time.
We use an old fashioned, stone grinding method on our Heirloom Spelt. This method allows us to preserve the whole grain - germ, bran and endosperm. We lose less than 1% during our milling process which helps us keep the natural nutritional benefits of spelt in our flour.
In a nutshell - we do not have to put any synthetic vitamins into our breads because we never take the naturally occurring ones out!
Things are heating up and we're only about half way through this series!
Next up on the agenda is "Plant Growth Regulators" aka hormone type substances that are applied to wheat that may be affecting our health. Definitely not an article you'll want to miss!