White Flour vs Whole Wheat Flour: White vs Wheat, Bleached vs Unbleached Differences
Whole Wheat Flour and White Flour
The two are actually both made from the wheat grain; the difference lies in the parts of the grain used to make it. Whole wheat flour uses all three parts; the bran (outer layer), germ (inner layer), and endosperm (starchy part in between), while white flour uses only the endosperm.
When the bran and germ are removed from the wheat grain, over 80% of the fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants are also removed, so much that the government requires five of the 30 nutrients removed to be added back in, producing what Americans know as enriched or fortified flour. The synthetic nutrients sprayed on the final product are much weaker than the real nutrients and only add a fraction of what is supposed to be there.
White flour is nutritionally useless, and breaks down in the body as a sugar. The body cannot tell the difference between eating a spoonful of sugar or a slice of white bread; the pancreas reacts by secreting insulin—at fat-storing hormone stimulating the appetite and slowing the metabolism. With the Western diet so full of processed foods the pancreas works overtime to balance the sugars consumed and eventually shuts down, causing low blood sugar, diabetes, and a handful of other problems.
Food Labels Are Made to Confuse Consumers with Words like Whole Grain and Wheat
Americans are constantly fooled by the labels on the over 17,000 new products released in grocery stores each year. People aren’t getting enough fiber? Well, companies came up with their magic ingredient activia to act as the cure all. They double their income on the thousands of processed foods that cause the problem in the first place, and then sell the “cure” in yet another processed food.
Some labels even say whole grain on the front of the package yet the first ingredient listed is enriched wheat flour (white flour). The key word: whole. The first ingredient should be whole wheat or whole grain to insure the product is made with the entire grain of wheat; words on the package like multi-grain and seven-grain fool people into believing they are making a smart choice. Another clue is to look at the fiber content; true whole grain products will have two or more grams of fiber per serving.
Whole Wheat Flour is Rich in Fiber
The Western diet, only “invented” about 100 years ago, leads to many diseases: diabetes, coronary artery disease, many cancers, and obesity to name a few. Chances for colon cancer, for instance, can be dramatically reduced by eating less processed foods and more whole foods containing fiber.
Whole wheat flour is an excellent source of fiber, working as a broom in the colon. Ideally a person should move their bowels three times a day, much more than the average every-other-day habit of most Americans. When waste is not removed from the body, it sits in the colon providing a breeding ground for harmful parasites causing all sorts of problems including colon cancer and constipation which can lead to hemorrhoids, acne, fatigue, headaches, and excess weight.
Bleached Flour vs Unbleached Flour
Not only is white flour drastically less nutritious than whole wheat flour, but on top of the nutritionally worthless make-up of white flour, it is also chemically bleached. The bleaching process was invented due to, not surprisingly, money. Factories figured out they could speed up the normal aging process of flour (months) into literally days to make it ready to sell.
Flour mills add chemicals in the bleaching process such as nitrogen oxide, chlorine, chloride, benzoyl peroxide, and even potassium bromate, a known carcinogen banned in Europe, Japan, and Canada. Many European countries ban the bleaching process entirely. Except for an off-white tint, unbleached flour is identical to bleached flour in terms of cooking; many professional chefs will not use bleached flour due to the slight chemical taste in the final product many can detect.
Whole Wheat Flour is the Smart Choice
The fact is Americans are tricked into believing so much about nutrition simply due to the money advertisers use to do so. It costs less to make white flour and use it in products, therefore advertisers make it appealing to those trying to be health conscious by printing “enriched with vitamins and minerals” on the label. However, with a simple glance to the ingredient list one can see the truth.
Aim for two grams of fiber per whole grain serving and look for the first ingredient in whole grain foods like flour, pasta, bread, and cereal to be whole wheat or whole grain. With the addition to real whole grains in the diet, people will feel the immediate effects on bowel habits and reap the long-term rewards of warding off diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and many cancers.