The Latin root of the Italian word “biscotti” means “twice baked”. This refers to the actual process of making this dessert. The dough is first baked as a whole loaf, and then sliced into smaller pieces which are baked again. The point was to make the biscotti crunchy and dry, and thus extend their storage period.
Back in the days of the Roman Empire, such twice-baked breads were practical for long journeys or combat rations for soldiers. Nowadays biscotti are simply enjoyed as dessert. Depending on the regional culture, it can be eaten along with an alcoholic beverage like fortified wine or a hot drink like coffee or tea.
Traditional recipes of biscotti only make use of flour, eggs, sugar, and almonds or pine nuts. Current preparations however may now include yeast, baking powder or fat such as butter, vegetable oil or milk. A quite popular present-day variation is coating or glazing biscotti with chocolate. It is the quality of the basic ingredients as well as those of the modern additional ingredients that give commercial biscotti products potential health risks.
Read further to discover the negative effects of biscotti (and be sure to also check out the recommended soak times for beans, grains, legumes, nuts and rice.)
The flour used during Roman Empire times to bake biscotti is certainly quite different from modern flour. Wheat has undergone a lot of modifications since then and so has the way its grains are processed. As mentioned in the earlier article regarding regular wheat products, flour is turned white through bleaching agents. Some of these chemicals such as nitrogen dioxide, chlorine and benzoyl peroxide, have been banned for this specific use because they are known to be toxic.
Another problem with modern wheat flour is that substances like potassium bromate are added. The reason for doing this is to enhance the inherent gluten and thus make better shaped finished products. Unfortunately bromates are carcinogenic. Also, increasing gluten just makes biscotti or any baked product made of wheat flour more dangerous for those allergic to this protein-like substance.
Nuts are good sources of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fatty acids. Some nuts however carry potential risks that you need to consider. Almonds are one of those tree nuts that are susceptible to aflatoxin contamination. This is a carcinogenic substance produced by Aspergillus molds. The contamination isn’t just from poor storage. The molds can come up through infested soil or brought along by pests. There are of course regulations and safety measures that minimize this health risk but it is still prudent to be aware of this danger when purchasing products with almonds such as biscotti.
A typical biscotti recipe has an approximate processed sugar to refined flour ratio of 1:3 (measured in cups). This may not seem as sweet as other pastries or cookies, but remember this is just for a stripped-down basic preparation of the dessert. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine how sugar (and therefore caloric) content increases for the fancier types such as those glazed or dipped in chocolate. Besides the sugar, the other major source of calories would be the shortening used, which would most likely be full of unhealthy saturated or trans fats.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of scones and why you should avoid them to succeed in your quest to Become Superhuman.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the grains and legumes on Superhuman Food Pyramid:
• GMO Corn
• Soy Nuts
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the negative effects of biscotti, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the negative effects of biscotti.