Should I Avoid Potassium Bromate?


Since we recently discussed the topic of carbs, perhaps you’ve determined that you are indeed not carbohydrate intolerant, and can enjoy all the bread you like. (Lucky!) There are some questionable ingredients in commercially produced breads though, one being potassium bromate.

In the early 1980’s Japanese scientists discovered that this ingredient, which is used to oxidize gluten molecules to get them to bind, causes cancer in rat and mouse models. Subsequently, several countries banned potassium bromate, but not the good ol’ US of A. The US determined that there is sufficiently low levels of this chemical in commercially baked bread, and thus is not a risk.

When bread bakes, potassium bromate mostly changes to potassium bromide, which I guess is pretty harmless in small amounts, but randomly is used as a drug for epilepsy in dogs. This conversion to bromide doesn’t always happen, and larger amounts of potassium bromate can be ingested.

Seeing as there is a possibility of this chemical being carcinogenic, it might be best practice to buy bread products that do not list potassium bromate in their ingredients. Cutting out chemicals not naturally found in whole food will only serve to optimize your health. Make it a practice to actually look at the ingredients in your food. Are there ingredients that you don’t know, and can’t even pronounce? Then best to avoid it.


featured photo credit: Potassium bromate by Danny S

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