Give Us Our Daily Bread – the Traditional Way 

By RAFAEL MORILLO | May 22, 2019
Courtesy of: Rafael Morillo Professional baker Rafael Morillo pulls a loaf out of the oven.

Can the words bread and health even be mentioned in the same sentence?

Current widespread beliefs on the topic of bread consumption and its effect on health and diet seem to deny this possibility. But real evidence based on scientific facts seems to say something quite different.

The anti-gluten movement began based on the work of Peter Gibson at Monash University, published in 2011, which pointed toward gluten as possibly responsible for inflammatory effects in many people. We are not talking about people who suffer from celiac disease, which is a serious autoimmune condition triggered by gluten. We are talking about ordinary people affected by what was named non-celiac gluten sensitivity. All of a sudden, gluten became something to be avoided, associated with all sorts of maladies. Bread became a bad word by association. A large gluten-free industry sprang up and has become a multimillion-dollar concern.

Further understanding and studies of bread and gluten seem to show the health benefits of responsible bread consumption.

A second publication by the same author, Peter Gibson, in late 2014 argues firmly to prove that gluten may not be the culprit after all. Rather, a whole universe of compounds generated alongside gluten in the modern bread-making process called Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAPs) are responsible for the adverse effects.

In other words, perhaps we convicted the wrong suspect! These components are also present in a variety of other food products (high-fructose corn syrup, milk, onions, garlic, avocados, lentils, apricots, soy beans, to name a few) that we consume daily.

The traditional and long-forgotten bread-making process, which uses natural leavening (such as sourdough) and long fermentation times, without dough improvers, antifungals and enhancers, can produce wonderful breads that are good for you and minimize the presence of undesirable compounds.  

The second publication has received little attention by consumers bent on avoiding bread and gluten as part of a well-established fad.

History and evidence support the fact that bread, in moderation, is actually healthy and a desirable part of our daily diet, among others reasons because:

• Bread rich in fiber such as whole wheat or multigrain bread contributes to lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing good cholesterol.

• Bread consumption can lead to a healthier lipids profile.

• It does not seem to induce inflammation.

• It improves your glucose metabolism.

• It can lead to better cardiovascular health.

Just like oil, which we were told to avoid for a long time and which now has been proven to be a desired and necessary part of our diet, bread is a valuable and healthy food that can contribute to better health and improved wellbeing.

A more recent study by Stanford University researchers concludes and confirms that in people who don’t have celiac disease, it is probably not the gluten but rather the FODMAPs that cause unpleasant digestive symptoms.

So just break bread with friends and enjoy!

Rafael Morillo of Barnegat Light, the artisan baker at MKT Eatery in Surf City, teaches bread-making classes.




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