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Why is soya flour in bread and what if you don't want it?

Why I have quit eating bread?

I love bread, fresh bread with butter, bread and Marmite, bread and jam, bread to make sandwiches, but my bread eating days are over. If I cannot buy a loaf of bread without soya flour in the ingredients then I am not going to buy any bread at all!

I am trying to avoid soya and have found I cannot do so here in Tenerife if I am eating bread from the shops. Natural soya is bad enough but most soya flour added as ingredients of commercially available products is likely to be genetically-engineered which is far worse!

I was brought up to eat bread and it has been a staple food of mine but the bread we used to get did not have soya in it. Bread used to be made from wheat flour. Wholemeal bread had rye and oatmeal but never soya. Those days are sadly over!


White and brown bread

White and brown bread

Dangers of soya

Many people believe that eating soya is good for you but sadly this is not the case. Because so much soya has been grown in vast expanses of mono-culture farming it has become sold on to as many food manufactures as possible, as well as being used as animal feed. Genetically engineered crops have insecticides and herbicides added into their genetic make-up. That means these substances end up in us if we eat food made from genetically engineered produce.

Now it seems only logical to my mind to think that if a toxin in a plant can harm an insect that it's not likely to do us much good either! Genetically modified foods such as soya and maize flour have not been tested like drugs have to be. This means the experiment on what their long term effects will be is being conducted on the environment and its wildlife at large, and, scarily, on us, if we consume such foods.

In 1995, the Monsanto company first introduced their "Roundup Ready" soyabeans. These beans have been genetically engineered so that the growing plants are resistant to the glyphosate (Roundup) herbicide. There has been much controversy over this herbicide and evidence to show that it is killing off wildlife, despite its manufacturer's claims about its safety.

By 2010, as much as 93% of the soya produced in farms in the US, had come from genetically engineered varieties of the crop.

But that is only one very worrying reason why soya flour is best avoided. Soya is known to be a harmful food unless it is fermented properly such as in soy sauce, natto and tempeh.

Dr Mercola states that "the risks of consuming unfermented soy products FAR outweigh any possible benefits." Many people think that soy milk, soy cheese and veggie burgers made with soy are good for their health but these products are all made from unfermented soya.

Dr Mercola and others who claim that soya in its unfermented state is potentially harmful have linked it with breast cancer, thyroid diseases, lowered fertility, kidney stones, damage to the immune system and allergic reactions which can prove fatal.

Unfermented soya also causes digestive upset in many people, and that is one of my personal reasons fro wanting to avoid it.

Dr Mercola: Soy Myths Exposed - The Dangers of Soy


The website launched a campaign to ask the bread manufacturers about the soya flour in their produce and have published the results on their website. Parentsown were concerned about the dangers to children that suffered from allergies and food intolerance to soya and other ingredients in many modern foodstuffs. They contacted the following bakeries: Hovis, Kingsmill (allied Bakeries) and Warburtons.

Kingsmill are one of the companies that replied, and I quote from the parentsown website entry: "Soya has been added to our bread for some time now as it helps to produce a loaf of consistently high quality with a good crumb structure. Unfortunately there are no plans for us to remove this from our products."

So in other words, if you don't want soya flour in your bread it is tough luck because they don't make any without it and are not planning on changing. To my mind this is yet another example of where the consumers today are not given any choice apart from buying or not buying a product. In my case, that means I am boycotting all bread that has soya in it, and here in Tenerife, as far as I can see, that means all of it!

Copyright © 2011 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.


nEd o'hAmilli on January 13, 2012:


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Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on November 19, 2011:

Thanks for your feedback, Shaz! I am glad you found a solution to your problem!

shaz on November 18, 2011:

Not sure about the bread on the bakery but all of the bread on the supermarket shelves contain soya. I started to avoid soya when my mood became unstable. I read that soya blocks the ability for the body to absorb calcium and this affects mood, and can cause depression! I sort help from the doctors who just offered me their latest favourite happy pill. So I trailed cutting out soya and within days I felt like a different person. I use a breadmaker now, they are so easy, throw every thing in set the programme to run and it handles the rest. And it tastes lovely.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on November 07, 2011:

Thanks for the info, Chris!

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on November 07, 2011:

Chapatis are just basic wholemeal flour and water with a bit of salt, dry heated in a hot pan. That's why you need a good heavy bottomed pan, like cast iron. You kneed them and leave them for half an hour and then roll them out and cook them. You should be able to find a recipe on-line. A cinch.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on November 07, 2011:

Good idea, Chris! I think they are what are sold here as one of the foods sold as Tortillas. There are cooked tortillas made with egg like omelettes, maize or rice tortillas in a packet and these flat breads made with just wheat flour and salt etc that I have been buying. But making my own would be better still!

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on November 07, 2011:

I just thought of the solution to your problem Steve: chapatis. Easy to make, wholemeal flour, no soya, no oven needed, tasty, satisfying and nutritious. You just need a good heavy bottomed frying pan to cook them in.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on November 05, 2011:

It seems a lot of people are having digestive problems with bread either due to soya or wheat of both. One thing is for sure we never used to have these problems from eating this basic food! It is something else that truly was better in the past and has been ruined!

Amanda Severn from UK on November 05, 2011:

I no longer eat white, sliced bread either. Not because of the soya though. It's more to do with the difficulty I have in digesting the wheat flour. I have the same problem with pasta now, even though I never used to. I wonder if wheat is grown to be so resistant to insects, mould, etc. that it's actually become unsuitable for us, too? I now make a lot of my own bread, and generally use Spelt flour. Spelt is much easier to work than normal wheat, and it doen't need so long to rise.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on November 05, 2011:

I totally disagree! You clearly have done little research on the matter! I also happen to know my own body and bread with soya in it I cannot digest properly!

marcs-5 on November 04, 2011:

do be such a baby! soya has been used in bread for decades and its used in such small quantities like 1%-3% that even if it was toxic (which it isn't) it wouldn't do you any harm. It used to be labelled and called "improver" but now that its stated as soya flour on the ingredients every paranoid fool thinks its some sort of conspiracy! toughen up princesses, plenty of bigger things to worry about that soya..

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on November 01, 2011:

They would know. There will be a traditional bread on the Island, and people would know if it had been changed. Ask and find out.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on October 31, 2011:

I doubt if someone working in the bakery shops would know. They just sell the stuff.

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

Baking bread is a good thing. You can buy bread making machines that take a lot of the complexity out of it (and the need for an oven), but I still don't know why you don't ask the bakers what their bread is made from. I really doubt if it has soya in it.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on October 31, 2011:

No Tesco round where I am, Chris, so yes, that's out! I think I'm just going to have to get it together to make my own, so it's on the things to do list! lol

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on October 31, 2011:

Just looked at the bread I eat and there's no soya flour in it. It's Tesco finest multigrain batch (not available in Tenerife I suspect). Also I think that the bakery bread won't have soya in either. You should ask.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on October 30, 2011:

I am not worried about gluten just soy. You can get rice crackers/tortillas here and I eat those but they are nothing like bread.

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on October 30, 2011:

Luckily I can't eat bread but I have noticed that the loaves are smaller for the same price and that it takes forever to go off- can you buy gluten free bread? sometimes it is made with rice and is occasionally palatable!!

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on October 30, 2011:

The bread over here goes very dry too and doesn't go mouldy! Bring back the old-fashioned bread, I say!

Judi Brown from UK on October 30, 2011:

Bread here in the UK has definitely changed over the past decade - it is drier and doesn't go mouldy for days on end, so I guess they are adding lots of preservatives to it.

Making bread yourself is very satisfying and so much tastier. My father makes lots of different sorts, I can only do the basic variety - still tastes great though!

Thanks for the info about soya.

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on October 30, 2011:

Thanks for your posts, Paraglider and Chris!

Chris, the oven I have got here has only been used once when Faye was over and that was to please her more than me! lol It is very difficult to use and the cooker is ancient! I don't know about the bread from the bakeries but it doesn't have an ingredients label so you can't check. All I know is that all the brands I have looked at in the supermarkets all list soya and that I have often had digestive problems that have got worse while I have been over here and have figured out it is from the bread. If I stop eating it I get better. I have been living on a mainly vegan and breadless (except for pumpernickel) diet for the past few weeks, difficult as it is at times, but I feel a lot better for it! My friend Stefania tells me she has quit eating bought bread for health reasons too.

Christopher James Stone from Whitstable, UK on October 30, 2011:

Home made bread is lovely Steve. It takes a little time but it is worth it. Do you have a usable oven though? On the main issue: does the ordinary unprocessed bread in Tenerife have soya in it too? I imagine the supermarket bread does, but what about bread you buy in bakeries?

Dave McClure from Worcester, UK on October 30, 2011:

I think you'd like the bread I get in Qatar. The baker sits cross-legged over a floor-sunk clay oven, makes and rolls the dough by hand, slaps them onto the side of the oven (somehow they always stick, for him) fetches them up when ready with long tongs, chucks them into a box of newspaper. The only danger from this bread is first degree burns carrying it home! (But like you, I avoid the supermarket version).

Steve Andrews (author) from Lisbon, Portugal on October 30, 2011:

Great solution, Ayla, so thank you for posting! I am a pretty good cook but have never made bread in my life because I have never had a need to do so. Perhaps that time has arrived?

Ayla on October 30, 2011:

I have the perfect solution - make your own bread! It's pretty easy and very tasty, and you can choose what does or doesn't go into it. I love baking my own bread and almost never buy it from the shops now. I make 2 loaves at the weekend and slice one for the freezer to be used during the week. Another interesting thing I've noticed is that homemade bread doesn't seem to go mouldy, it just dries out - perfect for making breadcrumbs.

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