Wood In Gluten-Free Bread? - Dow Wellence Commercial

You'd have to think I was kidding. Wood in gluten-free bread? Believe it or not it's actual wood that those friendly, wonderful people at Dow have brought to the gluten-free world.


My family and I were watching tv on Saturday night and all of a sudden we hear the words "gluten-free." We all stop what we're doing and replayed the commercial again. Dow, the chemical company (important note here - Dow is a chemical company - a chemical company) has found a way to make gluten-free bread that doesn't taste like gluten-free bread. 

Wellence

Dow has created Wellence, chemically modified wood pulp, water-soluble polymers derived from cellulose. But it may be one sort of big thing to note here humans unlike cows, horses, sheep, goats, and termites cannot digest cellulose

But why did Dow do this? According to the commercial - to help us, of course. So that those of us following a gluten-free diet can once again enjoy bread and that this bread is the first bread we can all enjoy. And with all those smart minds busy at work what do they come up with to add to the bread to make a gluten-free bread that doesn't taste like gluten-free bread:


Wood
Wood Pulp
  Cellulose  


And then I had a phone conversation with my sister Liz and we were talking about the commercial. 

"Oh, we saw that commercial, too. Isn't that great? Can't wait to try that."

"Liz, do you know what's in the bread?"

"No. What?'

"Wood."

"No, really, what is it?"

"Wood pulp."

"Like real wood?"

"Yep."

"They can do that? You've got to be kidding me."

"Lots of other companies are doing it, too."

Wood, Cellulose, Natural Plant Fiber 

Those nice folks at Dow don't like to refer to it as wood though. They call it, "Natural Plant Fiber," or "Plant Based Food Ingredient," and often it is called, "Cellulose". Whatever they want to call it, however they want to pretty it up the fact of the matter is they're pumping these gluten-free bread loaves full of wood. Wellence is trademarked under Goods and Services as Chemicals for use in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and beverages. So it's not just wood you would be eating if you ingest this but chemically altered wood.  


Will you eat the bread or the wooden cutting board?

What Foods Might Contain Cellulose?

Manufacturers often add cellulose to processed foods because it is a cheap filler. Some foods are containing as much as 18% of this wood fiber (and I'm sure they'll find ways to add even more). If you're eating processed breads, pancakes, crackers, pizza crusts or muffins, there's a good chance your eating some wood with those foods. Check the labels - look for the word cellulose. According to the Dow Customer Information Group for Wellence email I received this wood pulp is currently used in bakery products, like some of the soft bread and buns, offered by Kinnickinnick Foods

And there's presently no limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in food products meant for human consumption other than a 3.5% limit on the amount of cellulose that can be used in meats. I can't even figure out why or how they would get this into meat but I'm sure they've figured out a way.

A lot of gluten-free diets have fallen prey to many of these tactics before - how to use these cheap crops that we have surpluses of and sneak them into people's diets. Many on a gluten-free diet already may be eating an abundance of corn and soy. And those not following a gf diet probably are eating wheat in almost every processed food imaginable.

So now they've found another item to add to the list.  


Wood - A Cheap Filler

In Dow's advertisement for Wellence they also say they are helping food companies by providing a cost efficient and high performance way to make gluten-free foods that people want to eat. And how do they do this by using something inedible. Yes, wood is inedible. Flour and oil and real ingredients are expensive - so why not pump these foods full of these inexpensive fillers instead?

What totally floored me was while researching for this article I came across several forums discussing the Dow Wellence commercial. Many people were not buying into the hype but some actually didn't care that they'd be eating wood. So what if they had to eat some inedible, chemically processed wood in order to enjoy great gluten-free bread. Still scratching my head on that one. 



Click through the slideshow to see how many other companies use wood in your foods. It's actually pretty sickening. And it's no wonder people are getting sick. Just look at what they're eating. I'll add this to the list of reasons why I'm glad we don't eat any of that junk anyway.

I wish I knew those nice folks at Dow were looking for a way to make gluten-free bread that doesn't taste like gluten-free bread.  Well, gosh, I could have saved them all the trouble. They could have just gone to my cookbook. I figured that out a while ago. 
 

Celeste's Best Gluten-Free, Yeast-Free Multi-Grain Bread

Image Credits: Sawing Log  ©Shinji Yasui/123RF, Pulp ©ice tray/123RF, Sawdust  ©Fedor Selivanov/123RF, Wooden Sawdust  ©Algirdas Urbonavicius/123RF, Sliced Bread on Cutting Board  ©Aliaksandr Mazurkevich/123RF


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Reader Comments from my previous website(2)

Modified cellulose is anything but cheap--it is a very expensive product with a lot of function and commercial producers need ingredients such as modified cellulose for shelf life. Wood is sustainable and GMO-free, unlike many other ingredients like certain flours or oils.

January 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterFood Scientist

I agree with you that it's great that it's GMO-free and sustainable. That may very well be true in most cases.

According to this article in the Wall Street Journal, http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703834804576300991196803916 cellulose is often a cheap filler used by the processed-food industry.

That said, it's still not something I want in the food I'm eating.

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Celeste's Best GlutenFree, Allergen-Free Recipes Cookbook |www.celestesbest.com | #glutenfree #gfree


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