Is white bread low histamine? White bread is a staple in many households, but if you suffer from histamine intolerance, you wonder whether making a sandwich (with a low-histamine spread) and white bread is safe – or will white bread trigger histamine intolerance symptoms?
Although white bread doesn’t top the list of high-histamine foods, there are some reasons why white bread isn’t an ideal food if you have histamine intolerance. (And even if you don’t)
What’s In White Bread That Could Trigger Histamine Intolerance Symptoms?
The basic recipe for white bread includes flour, water, yeast, and salt. However, what’s in a loaf of bread varies with how it’s made. For instance, manufacturers may add sugar, milk, eggs, and oil to the dough to enhance its flavor, texture, and nutritional value.
You can also make bread from different types of flour, including wheat, rye, corn, and oats. White bread is made from refined, white flour. Depending on the type of flour and processing methods, bread can have different levels of histamine and other amines that can affect histamine intolerance.
Yet there’s little evidence that most white bread contains significant histamine or other biogenic amines. Based on the reports of many histamine intolerance sufferers, white bread doesn’t seem to trigger histamine intolerance symptoms.
White Bread May Contain Additives and Preservatives
Still, manufacturers of commercial white bread add other ingredients, including preservatives or bleaching agents, such as potassium sorbate and calcium propionate. There’s some evidence that potassium sorbate causes cancer in rats.
Plus, a human study found that potassium sorbate may induce mutations in the DNA of white blood cells in humans. (1) The European Union won’t allow the use of potassium bromate due to concerns about its safety.
High fructose corn syrup is also problematic. Plus, some bread may contain high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. Research associates this highly processed sweetener with a higher risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. (NAFLD)(2)
Soft drinks are another source of high-fructose corn syrup, and that’s one reason they’re bad for you.
As you can see, white bread contains more than simple flour, water, yeast, and salt. And some people appear sensitive to some additives in white bread.(3)
Another problem with white bread is the effect it has on blood sugar. Since white bread is made from white flour and is low in fiber, it can cause blood sugar spikes. The refining process white bread undergoes removes most of the grain’s protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
As a result, white bread will spike your blood sugar, with a GI index like sugary foods.(4) Breads made with white flour tend to have the greatest glucose impact. These refined grains are stripped of the fibers that slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream, which causes your blood sugar levels to soar and then crash, raising your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
What about the Yeast in White Bread?
Another factor to consider is the yeast used to make bread. Yeast is a type of fungus that helps bread rise and gives it a fluffy texture. While yeast itself does not contain histamine, it can act as a catalyst for histamine production in some products.
For example, yeast can increase the histamine content of wine and beer during fermentation. Yeast can also interact with other ingredients in bread, such as sugar or milk, and cause them to produce more histamine over time.
Although most people seem to tolerate white bread, the yeast that it’s made with is a cause for concern. Pay attention to your own unique dietary triggers and consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian.
Everyone with histamine intolerance responds differently, even to the same foods. So, you’ll need to listen to your body and how it responds to different foods.
Choosing White Bread if You Have Histamine Intolerance
So be a smart bread shopper and choose fresh bread that does not contain ingredients that you are sensitive to and contain few additives. Also, avoid bread that isn’t fresh or has been exposed to temperature or humidity.
These conditions can promote the growth of bacteria and mold, which can produce more histamine in bread. That’s why you shouldn’t eat bread at a restaurant where you don’t know the age or the conditions they stored it under.
As mentioned, everyone with histamine intolerance responds differently, even to the same foods. If you are unsure how white bread affects your histamine intolerance, you may want to try an elimination diet. (5)
This involves avoiding all high-histamine foods for a few weeks, and then reintroducing them one by one to see how you react.
You can also keep a food diary to track your symptoms and identify your triggers. By tracking your symptoms and identifying your triggers, you can manage your histamine intolerance and improve your quality of life.
Make Your Own Bread
Alternatively, you may want to try making your own bread at home using low-histamine flours and ingredients. Examples of low-histamine flours are rice flour, cassava flour, coconut flour, and buckwheat flour.
You can also experiment with not using yeast and substituting baking soda or baking powder to make your bread rise.
By baking your own bread, you have more control over the ingredients that go into it as well as its level of freshness. Plus, you can explore various tastes and consistencies that align with your personal taste.
Note that bread made at home might have a shorter shelf life compared to bread purchased from a store, since you’re not adding preservatives. To prevent spoilage, store homemade bread in a refrigerator or freezer.
Is White Bread Low Histamine?
White bread may be low in histamine, depending on the type of flour and yeast used and how fresh it is. However, it could also contain other ingredients, like additives, that can trigger histamine intolerance or inflammation.
So, shop wisely and choose fresh bread that does not contain additives or preservatives, and avoid bread stored for a long time or exposed to high temperatures or humidity.
You may also want to make your own bread at home using low-histamine flours and ingredients if you want more control over your diet. Also, find out whether corn tortillas contain histamine.
- Mamur S, Yüzbaşioğlu D, Unal F, Yilmaz S. Does potassium sorbate induce genotoxic or mutagenic effects in lymphocytes? Toxicol In Vitro. 2010 Apr;24(3):790-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tiv.2009.12.021. Epub 2009 Dec 29. PMID: 20036729.
- “How high fructose intake may trigger fatty liver disease.” 15 Sept. 2020, https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/how-high-fructose-intake-may-trigger-fatty-liver-disease.
- Valluzzi RL, Fierro V, Arasi S, Mennini M, Pecora V, Fiocchi A. Allergy to food additives. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019 Jun;19(3):256-262. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000528. PMID: 30883393.
- “Why Refined Carbs Are Bad For You – Healthline.” 21 Apr. 2023, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-refined-carbs-are-bad.
- “Elimination Diet & How To Start – Cleveland Clinic.” 12 Apr. 2022, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/elimination-diet/.