Created on: September 22, 2008
Danger of white flour
White flour does not come from white wheat. It comes from whole wheat, just like brown whole-wheat flour. What makes the white flour white? Bleach and the removal of the outer kernel of the grain. The outer kernel is like the covering of a nut. It is hard and protects the soft inner layer that we eat. However if you remove the outer layer and discard it, you remove all the nutrients and the food value of the flour.
Whole wheat is considered primitive by many. Refined products such as white flour are a product of our industrialized society. Before machines, it was not possible to remove the outer kernel of wheat, and everyone's wheat was whole. Since the Industrial Revolution, we can refine our wheat, and now that is thought to be an "advance" of our civilization.
The outer hull of wheat contains many nutrients, and most of the fiber. If you eat whole wheat, you will gain the benefits of the natural oil, the B vitamins, the calcium that are all inherent in wheat. If you remove the outer hull, the interior portion, or the "white" wheat, contains only simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates spike your blood sugar and can contribute to diabetes.
Much modern bread is marketed by major brands as whole wheat when it is not, so it is important to read the labels. Some mass-market brands are made of white, bleached wheat with molasses and other browning agents added. Vitamins are added as well, to make up for those removed by the processing, but these do not add up to the amount of nutrients found in wheat germ and wheat bran. Wheat germ is an excellent source of B vitamins, and wheat bran is an excellent source of fiber.
Many nutritionists feel that nutrients from whole foods are better for your body than nutrients taken individually. It makes sense that your body was accustomed to taking the nutrients out of whole grains, as it survived this way for many millennia.
Purchase breads made of whole grains and whole wheat to gain the benefit of these vitamins in their natural source. A whole grain bread should be heavy and have a heft to it. If you feel the loaf is spongy and if it is lightweight, the ingredients may be white flour bread with food coloring.
Use whole grains whenever possible. If you want a fluffy birthday cake, feel free to splurge on exotic white flour- it's better with pink frosting and candles most of the time, and whole grain cakes are not easy to come by. But for your daily bread, use whole flour and whole grains and take in your nutrients the natural way, in the shell and hull they come ready package in.
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