Many companies promote sprouted bread benefits, but is there truth in their advertising? Before addressing that question there’s a better question: “What is sprouted grain bread?”
Bread is one of humanity’s oldest processed foods; earliest known examples date back over 10,000 years among the Swiss Lake Dwellers. Humans discovered that crushing the seeds of wild cereal grains, such as wheat and barley, and combining with water made a paste that could be cooked on hot stones. This coarse, flat bread became a staple.
Egyptians discovered leavening. A piece of raw bread dough was saved from each bread-making, and added to the next. This older piece was “infected” with wild, airborne yeast – each new batch received an injection of yeast from the older, saved dough. Thus, yeast was propagated from one baking to another. Egyptians also invented the oven and the sifting process, yielding “cleaner” flour for their upper society’s bread.
Sprouted grain bread was born of necessity. The ancients could not properly store grains long-term, nor could they afford to throw away grains that perhaps had started germinating while in storage. In extreme cases of poor grain storage, particularly with rye, a fungus called ergot developed. Ergot is the fungus from which LSD is derived; ergotism – hallucinations, vomiting, convulsions, and death – could result from eating too much ergot-tainted grain.
Breads were made from the germinating grains rather than waste them. The bread dough of cracked, ground flour from sprouted wheat grain is of a stickier consistency than common hard wheat bread and the finished loaves are significantly denser, richer in texture, and retain some vitamins and minerals that might have been worked out in processing finer flours. The flavor of such breads is more robust, and for those without a palate for it, it may take some getting used to.
Sprouted grain bread benefits are simply those found in the extra nutritional value of the pre-processed grain. These breads are higher in proteins and lower in carbohydrates because much of the carbohydrates (the seeds’ “food energy”) are converted to protein during the germination process. The finished breads have about 40% less fat than their traditional counterparts.
Wildly exaggerated claims of vitamin and mineral boosts of a thousand times normal are baseless and false. The breads do carry a slight uptick in both, but not the insanely claimed numbers given out by New Age hucksters. The USDA does not recognize these breads as anything more than what they are: good, solid, healthy foods high in fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are not miracle cures for diseases or disorders.
Sprouted grain breads – fact or fiction? The bread does not contain miraculous healing powers, sexual potency restorative abilities, or the supernatural power to cure cancer. The facts are simple: this is one robust food source that tastes great, and has high fiber and tremendous food value. Those facts alone should outweigh any fictions.