In 1911, the bread which made up 40 percent of the diet of the impoverished people of Britain was blamed for widespread poor health. Modern nutritional science confirms the accuracy of this assessment.
Refined white flour contains almost no natural minerals and vitamins. In particular, vitamin B deficiency from poor diet resulted in a range of illnesses that the Victorians called 'wasting diseases'. And white flour at the time was usually laced with alum, which made bad flour look whiter.
According to the Daily Mail:
"[In modern times], the Real Bread Campaign, a non-profit pressure group, claims that bread has actually gotten worse since 1911 in terms of secret adulterants -- enzymes that do not have to be declared on labels -- still being smuggled into it. Today, despite the modern fashion for healthy eating, 'nutritionally empty' white bread accounts for more than 50 percent of what we buy."