If you’re a fan of a good deli sandwich, then bread is probably something you think about now and again. Bread is often a staple item in home kitchens, and you’ll find it in almost any restaurant, local deli, and grocery store. Not all bread is created equal, however. Today’s grocery store breads are made with a laundry list of funny-sounding ingredients and chemicals that affect flavor and texture.


Bread should only contain simple, natural ingredients, such as flour, water, yeast, and salt. In some cases, artisan breads may require other simple, natural ingredients, such as a starter, a small amount of sugar, butter, and/or milk. Breads that you find in grocery stores, however, contain a long list of ingredients that includes chemical preservatives, conditioners, flavorings, texture enhancers, and large amounts of sugar and salt. As you might imagine, when chemicals are added to any food product, it makes it taste bad. As a result, manufacturers load the product with heavy amounts of sugar, salt, and flavorings to mask the bad taste.

There are several goals that mass-market manufacturers are looking to achieve when they make bread for store shelves. The first is shelf life. This is a scary term because it means that products will contain chemical preservatives and additives to prevent them from spoiling. Second is crave-ability. Salt and sugar make your body crave the food, and so they are used in excess in factory breads. Too much of either of these ingredients is unhealthy. Last is presentation: Chemicals and additives are used to help bread maintain a uniform shape on the shelf over long periods of time and to hold up during heavy processing in the factories.

It’s understandable that, during our busy lives, we’re looking for fast, convenient foods. It can be hard to stop at a separate store every other day for fresh bread. There are ways, however, to make natural foods work when you’re on a busy schedule. With bread, for example, you can purchase it from a reputable store and freeze it for future use.

One of the most valuable nutrients found in some natural bread is fiber. Fiber helps slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. This keeps your blood glucose levels from rising too fast. Fiber is also very good for your intestinal system. High-fiber diets have been attributed to strong heart health, reduced rates of stroke, and regulation of weight, among other health benefits.

To help maintain even basic nutritional values, it’s important to know what to look for when purchasing bread. Labels are misleading. For example, “wheat bread” implies that the bread is nutritious. The truth is that this type of bread may contain little to no fiber or other nutrients. Wheat and whole wheat are two different things. Whole wheat, or whole grain, means that the entire grain remains intact. During factory processing, grains are often stripped of two of their three parts. The two parts that are removed contain vital nutrients.

For many of us, it’s hard to pass up a delicious sandwich from the local deli. When you seek out natural ingredients, however, you can enjoy what you’re eating without worrying about added chemicals, preservatives, and additives to your food. And it will taste better, too.