Modern-day bread is a shadow of its former self. Nutrients have been replaced with antinutrients, a terrible swap. Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Bread Can Be Nutritious, But There Are Rules

And modern bread breaks all of them.


Modern-day bread is the consequence of shortcuts made at every stage of its production. As a result, the human staple for millennia has now become junk food. It’s low in nutrients, high in energy, easy to eat, cheap to buy, and ubiquitous. Modern bread is also hard to digest and problematic for a burgeoning group of people. The old fashioned, ancient food is none of those things, for a whole host of reasons.

When the soil is rich, and the grains are processed appropriately; the end-product is a world apart from the highly processed, hyper-palatable pap you see on the shelves today. For many, bread can be nutritious if we use the keys, handed down to us by our ancestors to unlock the nutrients inside the grains, and banish their chemical defenses.

Here’s why you may want to make some changes to your daily bread, read on.

Grains in the human diet

Grains, the main ingredient in bread, have been in the human diet for a minimum of 105,000 years, budding in parts of the ‘fertile crescent’, an area spanning the Middle East in which ancient humans flourished. We’ve been milling grains for at least 23,000 years, and storing them before domestication for about 11,300 years. But, the first evidence of bread making was collected by a meticulous archaeologist, sweeping charred bits from around a fireplace that were later dated to 14,000 years old; the oldest bread crumbs in the world.

The archaic flatbread was made from wild einkorn, a type of unadulterated wheat that’s making a comeback as artisan bread in flashy restaurants. Other grains that have traditionally been used to make bread include, rye, spelt (Dinkel), corn, Teff, Kamut, emmer, and many others. Each has its idiosyncrasies, from growing, processing, cooking, to flavour, and nutrient content.

However, one thing they all had in common was how they were carefully processed. You may think ‘processing’ denotes a modern action, but humans have processed grains in low-tech ways, for important reasons, over millennia. Grains of all kinds, to varying degrees, contain defensive chemicals that human digestive tracts are not well equipped to deal with. Collectively, they are known…



Tim Rees

Registered clinical nutritionist. At war with autoimmunity. Diets & tips on website. The Nutrition Chronicles (Substack). Meat eater.