News Real Bread Campaign

Not all loaves are created equal

Our letter to The Guardian.

Bread or UPF?. Copyright: Canva

Bread or UPF?. Copyright: Canva

On 12 March 2024, The Guardian published an edited version of letter by Real Bread Campaign coordinator Chris Young, under a different title. Here is the original.

Not all loaves are created equal

In his opinion piece on ultra -processed food (6 March), Giles Yeo writes: '...ultimately, bread is made from flour, salt, water and yeast.' That's like saying coal and diamonds are both just carbon, vodka and whisky are both just alcohol, cheese is just milk, or wine is just grape juice. By doing so, Yeo forgets (or ignores) the transformative processes that result in very different things. Lactic acid bacterial fermentation, fundamental to the process of making genuine sourdough bread, leads to not only changes in flavour but, a growing body of evidence suggests, also might have health and nutritional benefits. 

Meanwhile, Chorleywood Process loaves aren't 'just' three or four natural ingredients. This industrial system all but eliminates fermentation (and, like much of the sourfaux on the market, has no lactic acid bacterial involvement at all) and uses a cocktail of additives, such as mono and diacetyl tartaric acid esters of mono and diglycerides of fatty acids, and calcium propionate. The jury's out about the safety, or otherwise, of individual additives, though concern and questions are mounting about their possible negative effects - variously on the human gut and our microbiomes, for example. That's before discussion of the potential cocktail effect of consuming all sort of combinations of additives and industrially modified ingredients, or the fact that history is littered with additives that were once declared safe but later withdrawn or banned on health grounds. 
Make it or buy it from a local indie bakery, we suggest sticking to Real Bread, which has been proved as safe (and enjoyable) to the vast majority of people over thousands of years.

See also

Published Wednesday 13 March 2024

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

Latest related news

Support our charity

Your donation will help support the spread of baking skills and access to real bread.


The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2024
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies