What goes around, comes around
Lately you can’t but help notice the stories in the media, books and online content which focus on maintaining good health by selecting a diet which is high in protein and low in carbohydrate. Advocates of this approach to nutrition claim that it can help you to lose weight and manage your cholesterol and blood sugar. Eating a moderate amount of whole grains and stopping your intake of white flour is advised. There are several baking companies and at least one supermarket chain in Australia which have brought out innovative products to help you embrace this lifestyle: loaves of bread and bread mixes which are high in protein, low in carbohydrate and contain fats which are good for you!
If you think that this type of specialist bread is a modern phenomenon, take a look at this advertisement for the Procera brand of bread printed by the The North East Leader, a Messenger newspaper on page 9 of the edition dated 4 October, 1967.
Production of the Procera loaf led to the development of the first franchise opportunities in Australia. During the 1930s, a baker in New Zealand, Henry Maltwood Williams developed a way to enrich flour with gluten, thus boosting its protein content and decreasing starch, which improved the texture of a loaf. Williams took out a patent on his baking process, which was implemented worldwide and Australian bakers could apply for the patent-licensing to produce Procera.
An article in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in 1935 explained why Procera was supposed to be good for you:
“PROCERA BREAD THE NEW PROCESS …the new Procera (pronounced Pro-cera) process of bread-making, which is protected throughout the world, is now in operation in Rockhampton. The sole rights have been procured by Rickert’s of manufacturing Procera white, wholemeal, slimming, and diabetic bread. The virtue of the process lies in the regulation of starch and protein content of the loaf, making it lighter and more easily digestible. A slight reduction of starch and increase in protein makes a marked difference in the bread and is particularly noticeable when it is toasted.
Using 100 per cent wholemeal, and no white flour, the Procera method produces a delightful wholemeal loaf, light in texture in contrast to the somewhat heavy nature of the ordinary wholemeal bread. The germ, minerals, vitamines, etc., of the wheat grain are incorporated in the Procera Loaf, making it light and pleasant to eat as toast or bread and butter. The Procera process enables a pure diabetic loaf to be made, with eating qualities similar to those of ordinary bread, which should be a boon to people who suffer from diabetic troubles. Samples of this bread have been submitted to eminent medical men and health authorities in Sydney who have reported favourably.”
Procera was marketed as being particularly beneficial for people who were trying to lose weight and for diabetics. And of course, Procera was approved by doctors and health professionals, though no actual sources are noted! (https://australianfoodtimeline.com.au/procera-bread/)
If you are curious, it is worth comparing what the advertisement in the North East Leader in 1967 says about Procera with the nutritional claims made by today’s baking companies about their high protein, low carbohydrate loaves. Technology has improved and the manufacturing processes may have changed to produce the different brands of loaves. However, from my search online, the benefits seem similar with regard to lowering calorie intake, building muscle mass and lowering blood sugar. Products from both eras supposedly also make great toast!