Graham created a bread free from the chemical additives that were common in white bread at that time such as alum and chlorine. He argued that these chemical additives were unwholesome in that they increased the sex drive, which would in turn deplete the body.
While Graham's specific theories on the dangers of "venereal excess" have no scientific footing, he was correct in his broader stance against additives as both alum and chlorine are now known to be toxic. The use of additives by bakeries was a common practice during the Industrial Revolution to make bread whiter in color and more commercially appealing. Refined bread was a status symbol of the middle class because of its "purity and refinement" in its color and was purchased, rather than home-made.