How Unhealthy Is White Flour?

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Enriched Flour

To enrich something means to make it richer by adding good things to it. If you add some organic apple cider vinegar to your water, you’ve enriched it. Enriched white flour must have lots of good things added, so it’s good for you. Right? Wrong!

The reality is that many of the good things that were originally in it have been stripped out through refinement. The components added back to the flour are actually toxic!

Iron is a “nutrient” added to enriched flour, except the type of iron added is not really a nutrient at all, but is considered a metallic iron. Metallic iron is not bioavailable to the human body and was never meant to be consumed.
Enriched flour is not absorbed by the body as wheat or a grain, in which case your body could use the energy slowly and effectively, but as a starch. That is because the wheat germ has been stripped from the flour; the FDA states that enriched flour cannot have more than 5% wheat germ.

How Enriched Flour Affects Your Health

Once this stuff has been stripped down, you’re left with a starch. How does your body react to pure starch? The same way it reacts to pure sugar! The consumption of enriched white flour or products containing enriched white flour causes your body to scream through the ride of a sugar high/low roller coaster.

White flour is really nothing more than refined carbohydrates and can contribute to obesity. According to a study that was referenced by Natural News, Americans eat enough extra calories (mostly through refined carbs) to add three pounds of body fat per month to their weight [1]. Carbs should come from unrefined sources, like fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Not from something that’s been processed, bleached, and treated with synthetic nutrients.

Alternatives to Enriched White Flour

Whole Wheat

It’s difficult to live flour-free. Many foods are made with flour of some type and it is hard to go flour-free without switching to an all-produce diet or raw food diet.

There are alternatives to enriched white flour. Try replacing enriched flour with whole wheat, oat flour, rye flour, almond meal, brown rice flour, or millet flour. Pasta and bread are the foods that most commonly contain white flour, but pay attention as many processed and frozen foods contain enriched flour.

If available, sprouted flours are best. Preferably, organic. Organic sprouted whole grain pastas and breads are becoming easier to obtain although the best diet plan would contain little to no grains and more live fruits, seeds and vegetables.

Whole Grain Flour vs. White Enriched Flour

  • Whole grain foods are higher in fiber because the wheat germ and bran have not been processed out of them.
  • Whole grain foods are digested more slowly, leaving you feeling fuller for a longer.
  • Whole grain foods have more nutrients than “enriched” foods.
  • Whole grains are not processed as a starch, so they don’t throw your body into a sugar dependency cycle.

Experiment with a 10 day, no enriched white flour challenge, you might be surprised at how easy it is. Better yet, share the challenge with your family and friends.

References

  1. Mike Adams. Refined carbohydrates are to blame for skyrocketing chronic disease, not just obesity. Natural News. 2004 March 02.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Smilardog

    What about homemade Sourdough bread and pancakes made from non-bleached flour??? Is it still as bad for you as plain white flour breads?

    My Mother in-law has Celiac and she can eat my Sourdough breads and pancakes with no problems, but she sure gets violently sick eating regular breads. Any comments???

    And…
    Can you make homemade Sourdough starter from any other grains

  • Well, non bleached isn’t as “bad” as bleached but it’s also perhaps not the best choice either. Here are a few sourdough breads made with alternative grains.

  • Smilardog

    Thank You! I just started making sourdough over a year ago, and that is all we eat now. We haven’t bought any bread from a store since. Except, once I had the wife buy a loaf of sourdough bread from the store just to compare it to my homemade sourdough. Sheesh man, that commercial sourdough is garbage compared to mine.

    I will research those alternative grains that you recommended, Thanks!

  • Hector Palacios

    I checked the papers in reference, and I couldn’t find a single reference of white flour.

    Why is it? Can you explain me what i’m doing wrong?

  • DoubtingThomas

    You’re not reading properly?

  • Hector Palacios

    Yes, pretty sure. I downloaded the papers, not a single reference of white flour. What about you?

  • DoubtingThomas

    I can offer the same advice I give my 7 year old when his homework is wrong… double check your work.

  • Hector Palacios

    You know, you just have to press ctrl+F to search in a document, is pretty easy to put the right words and find out if they are present in a document.

    If you talk about white flour, and you cite scientific articles, well, I expect that the words be explicit in the article. That’s why i’m asking, i’m not saying that everything said here is a bullshit, i’m asking for an explanation.

    Have you checked the article?

  • DoubtingThomas

    Sure did, and the references, everything seems to be in order. Can you be more specific as to what exactly you’re looking for where?

  • Hector Palacios

    I was pretty clear in the first comment about what i’m looking.

  • Hector Palacios

    Sorry, my mistake, only papers 2 and 3 don’t have a reference, but paper 3 is about folic acid. Thus, only paper 2.

  • JeeHoo?

    Is all purpose bleached flour with the added (fortified stuff) to it White flour as being discussed here. And is White Rice Flour different and gluten free(no wheat)?

  • Arthur Jackson

    Quacks like a duck. Almost 90% of a wheat kernel is endosperm, the ‘bad’ part, so whole wheat doesn’t really do squat. Lo and behold Wonder bread versus whole wheat bread shows a glycemic load/glycemic indices of 73/10 versus 69/9. Virtually the same. Wheat may be bad for us but white is no worse than whole wheat.

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