Why avoid bread preservatives?

Nearly 20 years ago, a failsafe mother wrote:

“I believe that 282 is the worst food additive. It is hidden in a healthy food (bread and crumpets) and most people don't know about the problems it causes in children. Doctors don't know about it, so therefore it doesn't cause a problem (yeah right!!). It turns good kids into screaming, tantrum throwing, horrible children with no idea why” – from story [194]

Some people are affected by the bread preservative and some are not. But the trouble is, if you are affected, you are probably eating it – unknowingly - in a healthy product many times a day every day, so there is no chance to see how much better you could feel.

Even worse, the bread preservative is difficult to avoid now because it is widely used and can be hidden as some innocent-sounding  ingredient.


Here is what failsafers report about the effects of propionate bread preservatives (282 -  also called calcium propionate, cultured dextrose, cultured wheat flour, fermented wheat flour and many others.

Migraine - eliminating 282 from my diet almost completely eliminated my migraines – Deborah, from story [1274]

Migraine - as a migraine sufferer, I have found that 282 is one of my main triggers for a migraine attack, I have them very infrequently but very severely – from story [204]

Adult acne - I am a 50 yo adult and I always get a breakout if I eat a bread product containing 282, either because it was in fast food and not tagged (McDonalds use it, KFC and Hungry Jacks don't) or because the label did not show it – Ric from story [921]

Low energy, headaches - avoiding the bread preservatives (280s) seems to be helping me with new energy levels and lack of headaches – from story [138]

Chronic fatigue - I am a busy executive. I love my job but for the last two years I have been feeling tired all the time and struggling to keep up. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. After I read your book I decided to try preservative free bread and GUESS WHAT? I don't have chronic fatigue after all - it was all due to that stupid preservative. People need to know it doesn't only affect kids. When I eat it, I feel tired and need to sleep a lot – from story [1164]

Moody, stressed out, anxious, tired, ongoing rash, feeling of ants crawling on my skin - I have always eaten a lot of bread, mainly wholemeal bread, muffins and bagels. I would often eat 6 English muffins a day. I used to get very moody, stressed out and anxious ... I used to get very angry quickly and then in a split second I would feel like crying my eyes out. I also had an ongoing rash on my body, a feeling of ants crawling over my skin, was very tired and couldn't get up in the morning … Within a day of stopping eating bread I was feeling better, not irritable or anxious, and actually feeling happy, a change to how I normally feel. After three days I felt really different, better than I have for 6 or 7 years. Even my boss has said he's seen a huge change in me  - Tim from story [207]

Itchy hivesMy  reaction to the bread preservative … itchy hives … enough to avoid eating it unless there is no other option – from story [095]

Extreme eczema - my three-year-old son is a classic example of a reaction to preservative 282 (uncontrollable, irrational, stubborn) except he also gets telltale extreme eczema, usually on his stomach and folds of legs and arms, which he scratches until it bleeds – from story [208]

Urinary incontinence in a 56 year old - We gave up 282 preservatives in bread after reading your book ‘Fed up’ about two years ago – within a week my 56 yo wife was free of urinary incontinence – from story [338]

Bedwetting - My 8 year old son, who is usually dry at night, started wetting his bed every night for over 2 months. During this same time, his twin sister went from wetting her bed once a night to wetting at least twice a night. Even their 3 year old brother, who was occasionally dry, stopped having any dry nights … I discovered that the "healthy" bread we had switched to about 2 months before contains 282. I have not used it, or any of the bagels or wraps (all with 282) we used to buy and my son has not wet his bed once since then – apart from last Monday night -  a long-life bread with 282  – Michelle, from story [1096]

Urge incontinenceI am the mother of identical twin girls aged three and a half. One of my twin girls reacts violently to the preservative 282 in bread - screaming, tantrums. With the other twin, it seems to me that her ability to hold her bladder disappears while being affected by 282, that is, she says she needs to go pee, then her pants are wet. Off 282 for a few weeks, mentions she needs to pee in the middle of grocery shopping, I have time to quickly finish off shop then get trolley through the checkout and then get to toilet. A big difference. At home now she will need to go, but can keep playing for about 2 – 5 minutes whereas if she is eating 282 and needs to pee, she will pee on floor on the way to bathroom – from story [448]

Muscle spasms - 1.5 hours after ingesting bread preservative 282 my muscles go rigid (praying mantis style), mainly my arms and legs are affected. Sometimes even my facial muscles and tongue when it is severe. I can't walk or feed myself when this happens … can last for up to 4 hours – Tessa from story [1140]

Fast heart beat (tachycardia) - I have suffered for years from episodes of fast heart beat. It can be very strong and disturbing, and I have ended up in hospital but it goes away after a few hours and they could never find anything wrong. Eventually I worked out it happened on the days I ate bread. A friend suggested it might be the preservative in bread. When I eat Brumbys' bread I have no problems, but when I ate some preserved bread without thinking at my mother's place, I had another episode – from story [116]

Heart arrhythmia and severe heart palpitations - My 14-year-old son has Aspergers syndrome. He experiences arrhythmia and severe heart palpitations every time he consumes any additives 282, 220, 211 etc. If he has been free from these additives for over two weeks then he will get away with the first exposure and then it accumulates and gets worse – Therese from story [711]

Self-harming - When she was 4 years old, overnight my daughter became utterly unmanageable. Her slight anxiety blew out of control, she was melting down 4-10 times a day over tiny things, she was disagreeable, angry and miserable … Worst of all, she started hurting herself during these meltdowns. She would tear her skin all up her arms until it bled, bite her arms until she bruised them and rip her hair out… Was anything different in our diet in the 8 weeks she had been like this? - I had been buying a different 'healthy looking' gluten free commercial sliced bread ... It contained 282 and I threw it in the bin. The meltdowns and self harming stopped the next day …” – Kylie from story [1296]

Biting - my son was a chronic biter and after seeing several shows on TV about the additive 282 I took him off that bread and he stopped biting – from story [381]

Grumpy and rude - after having a child for the past 3 weeks back to being Grumpy and Rude, lacking concentration, disruptive whenever possible and just not being nice, today I discovered that the 'healthy' wraps we have been eating are now putting 282 in their product - Cherie from story [1163]

Oppositional defiance - We have a breadmaker but recently become lazy and had reverted to using commercial breads. I could never understand how my daughter could be an angel for one whole day and then spend the next 5 days angry and sullen. I am now only using … bread without 282. My daughter's Oppositional Defiant Disorder has disappeared within a week - from story [1162]

Loud voice - we took away breads with 282 preservative and saw a huge difference in ”loud voice” -  volume and improvement in speech for my son … he has no idea he is talking loudly – Jennifer from story [1138]

Nosebleeds, speech delay, lack of social interaction - About 4 weeks ago I removed 282 from my son’s diet and he improved greatly, he would only speak in a mumble, he suffered from many nose bleeds in the week, was very negative about everything, not affectionate, didn't interact at preschool, would not co-operate at speech therapy. The change has been great he is talking so much more, he has not had a nose bleed since stopping 282, he is loving to everyone, he was great at speech therapy and sat still, interacts with others and notices things around him so much more – story [958]

Broken sleep and runny nose - My baby had a terrible broken night sleep pattern …  After struggling for eight months, she did start to settle down, waking perhaps once a night. This was great until I started her, at 10 months on bread. She immediately returned to night waking - for no apparent reason- and also had a clear runny nose. I found that the bread had preservative 282 in it so we stopped feeding it to her. Within a couple of nights she settled down to a peaceful nights' sleep! AND her nose cleared up! – story [831]

Violent and uncontrollable - I started giving my 2 yo son crumpets for breakfast. He would be fine after eating them, however when he woke from his sleep he would be screaming and hitting me, very violent and uncontrollable … I found out about 282 (in all crumpets and some breads) and cut it out completely. He was normal again!! – Michelle from story [858]

Angry outbursts in a 7 yo - My son was extremely defiant, loud, argumentative, talked non-stop, very anxious, had frequent bad dreams and was prone to angry outbursts The difference once we removed 282 from his diet by making our own bread was astounding … he immediately became much calmer and quieter … from story [355]

“Huge anger” in a 15 yo - My eldest son  has always been very calm, but even he notices an anger building up following the ingestion of 282, in his own words: “I find a huge almost uncontrollable anger building up inside me, for no reason, and I feel I just want to punch something or someone” – from story [206]

Extremely aggressive and impulsive - I embarked on the elimination diet with the help of a dietician … My 7 yo daughter’s  teachers were openly amazed at the change in her behaviour. Challenges  …  a very strong reaction to the bread preservative (282) which gradually built up over a 5 day period. Once the challenge was stopped, it took 2 weeks for withdrawal. Her behaviour was extremely aggressive and impulsive and withdrawal resulted in lethargy and stomach aches- from story [139]

Diarrhoea and screaming in agony - Preservative 282 in bread is by far the worst additive - within 3 hours my 19 months old son is screaming in agony and has chronic diarrhea. When I was breastfeeding and ate 282 he would react within 12 hours – from story [152]

Screaming and diarrhoea in a breast-fed baby - from the minute she was born my daughter Laura screamed and screamed  …. I kept saying that Laura is reacting to my breastmilk but was laughed at and told that that wasn't possible. I now know that I was right and the bread that I was consuming was giving this poor child a huge bellyache … When Laura was 20 months we finally discovered what we think is wrong. We went to my husband's family farm and stayed for two and a half weeks. In that time all meals were cooked. No toast, no bread, no sandwiches, no diarrhoea, no nappy rash, sleeping through the night. I went from a child who had 10 runny burning nappies a day to 1 flushable nappy in a matter of days. Laura was cured … my sister heard about RPA's allergy unit and I was on the phone to them. Wow!!! Within minutes I had my answers. They explained the link between 282 and stomach upsets and runny nappies … - Rose from story [293]

Upset stomach - I have some real difficulties when I eat some breads yet I can eat other breads without them upsetting my stomach – from story [199]

See more in our success story collections

Introduction to food intolerance

Bread preservative 282 factsheet

Sue's blog on autistic rate research and the bread preservative

Sue's blog "caution cultured dextrose"

Sue's blog on latest propionate research 2021



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