Fact or Myth: Does Bread Crust Have the Most Vitamins?

This is a FACT.

Bread has been mostly touted for its high fiber content. According to bread enthusiasts, a high-fiber diet aids digestion and wards off colon cancer. A 2002 German study, however, suggests that bread’s most coveted nutrient is concentrated in the crust. So heed the warning: don’t cut off that crust! Turns out that bread crust is chock-full of a cancer-fighting compound—much more so than the soft, doughy center of bread.

bread crustBread Crust Is 8 X More Powerful!

The study, which was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, suggests that bread crust collects eight times more of a unique, cancer-fighting antioxidant than the crumb (the soft, pale center) of the bread does.

Researchers tested a common sourdough blend of rye and wheat flours for antioxidant level and activity. They discovered that pronyl-lysine, an anticarcinogenic compound, accumulates in abundant concentrations in the crust of the bread. A process called the Maillard effect takes place during baking. As heat sets to work reducing sugars in the flour, the amino acid L-lysine reacts with starch and forms pronyl-lysine.

Researchers at the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science in Kiel, Germany then tested the effect of the compound on human intestinal cells. They found that it increased the concentration of phase II enzymes that previous studies have linked to cancer prevention.

Which Bread Is Most Potent?

According to lead researcher Thomas Hofmann, Ph.D., dark-colored breads like pumpernickle and whole wheat have a higher concentration of pronyl-lysine than lighter colored, more refined breads do. In a similar manner, antioxidant capacity is greater when bread is separated into smaller pieces. In other words, bread stuffing in your Thanksgiving turkey is more concentrated with pronyl-lysine than a loaf of bread is. Researchers pointed out, however, that over-browning a bread during baking actually depeletes nutrients, including pronyl-lysine.