Do You Know Nutrition: 3-year-old hamburger still looking good

By Phylis Canion
Feb. 11, 2014 at midnight
Updated Feb. 10, 2014 at 8:11 p.m.

I recently read that some fast food chains use azodicarbonamide in the flour to make breads. Can you please explain what azodicarbonamide is and if it is dangerous to digest?

Ever wonder why bread purchased these days will stay fresh and not mold or grow bacteria for weeks? I have a hamburger in my office that is going on 3 years old and still looks like the day it was purchased.

The reason is because of azodicarbonamide, another name for a chemical named bromide, a name disguised by regulating agencies. Bromilated vegetable oils in breads and many other consumable products are the real culprit behind the obesity epidemic in the U.S.

Bromilated vegetable oils are used as a food additive, a flour bleaching agent and an improving agent. When they react with flour, during wetting of the dough, it behaves as a hydrogen receptor and is quickly converted to urea.

On a sobering note, azodicarbonamide is primarily used in the production of plastics, photography and electronics. The thermal decomposition of azodicarbonamide results in the evolution of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and ammonia gases trapped in the polymer as bubbles to form a foamed substance as in floor mats, exercise mats, etc.

Oh, and by the way, it is not considered to be digestable. It has been banned in Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom. However, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration recognizes that it is a dangerous additive but simply recommends that bakeries avoid using it.

Symptoms of a reaction or sensitivity to azodicarbonamide is cough, asthma, headache, shortness of breath, sore throat, wheezing, fatigue and cramps. When you read that laundry list of ingredients in bread, look for azodicarbonamide, you will be surprised to see it listed. Now you know why to avoid it, I hope.

Thought for the week: A life is never ended until all the lives it has touched have ended.

Next free nutrition class will be held in Cuero at the Wellness Center at 6 p.m. Feb. 20.

Phylis B. Canion is a doctor of naturopathic medicine and is a certified nutritional consultant, email her at This column is for nutritional information only and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure.



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