Health Problems

Death By Fried Bread

Fry bread stands can be found across the country at pow wows and county fairs. “Indian tacos” or as they are called in the Southwest, “Navajo tacos” and “Hopi tacos”—fried white wheat bread topped with ground spiced meat (usually beef) or beans, cheese, lettuce and sometimes sour cream, are now on the menus of many restaurants. Although fry bread has been around tribal communities (and Mexican communities who make sopapillas that we in America see served with honey in Mexican restaurants) for centuries, it cannot be considered “traditional” because wheat was brought from the Old World to the New in 1602 and was first grown off the coast of Massachusetts. Wheat is thought to have originated in southwestern Asia. Today, the production of wheat is behind only rice and corn in terms of worldwide production.1

Generally speaking, because there is some variation in recipes, fry bread is made with wheat flour, baking powder, a bit of salt, water and vegetable shortening or lard. The water and dry ingredients are mixed in a bowl until it forms a sticky dough, then it is taken off and formed into either small pieces, like an egg, larger pieces like a brick, or maybe larger pieces the size of plates. Then the pieces are placed in hot shortening or grease until golden brown. Fry bread can be eaten alone or as part of a meal, or can be dessert topped with butter, cinnamon and sugar or perhaps honey. Fry bread is tempting to most people because of the grease/lard/shortening ingredient and therein lies the problem. Not only is fry bread high in fat, it is also caloric.2 A person who regularly eats fry bread without exercising is probably carrying excess weight. If that person does not consume foods that contribute to his/her daily nutrition requirements, they will be unhealthy, overweight and will be at risk for diabetes and all the problems associated with being overfat.