Still Consume White Flour? After Reading This, You Won’t…

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White Flour Issuesimage – EatLocalGrown

Cakes, soups, pastries and chicken nuggets – what do all of these have in common? These foods all have white flour as one of the main ingredients. Because flour is such a common ingredient, most people don’t think twice when purchasing it or purchasing food containing it.

However, regular processed white flour is one of the unhealthiest “foods” you can introduce to your body. Its nutritional content – or lack thereof – leaves so much to be desired, even with all the “fortifications” the manufacturers have added to it. The next time you add white flour to your shopping list, remember these five facts:

#1: Severe Lack Of Nutritional Content

White flour is named as such because it has been processed and refine to give it its color and texture. However, ultraprocessing gets rid of most, if not all, of flour’s nutritional content. Beyond its ability to thicken soups and make bread rise, it doesn’t really give your body anything else. This is why the FDA has permitted manufacturers to fortify or add nutrients to the flour to make it more appealing to the public. According to the FDA, white flour has the following nutrients: 110 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of protein, and 8 percent iron for every 30 grams of white flour – and that’s after fortification. [1]

#2: Zero Fiber Content

Grains are known for their high fiber content, for example whole grain oats that are considered valuable for cleansing the colon and promoting regular bowel movements. However, don’t think for a second that white flour is the same. After processing, white flour is stripped entirely of its fiber content. [2] With cardiac and metabolic diseases being one of the leading causes of death and illness in the world, a diet with more vegetables, low glycemic index and high fiber is recommended. According to a 2013 study, a diet with refined white flour (characterized by a lack of nutrients and fiber) increases a person’s risk for these diseases. [3]

#3: Potassium bromate

Potassium bromate is a substance that improves the “fluffiness” of bread. However, in high amounts, this chemical can cause severe damage to the kidneys. The US FDA allows the use of potassium bromate in very small amounts but when there are problems with regulation, higher concentration can occur in finished products like bread. In fact, an investigation in Massachusetts in the early 2000s revealed how an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness was caused increased levels of potassium bromate in tortilla bread. [4][5][6]

#4: L-cysteine

L-cysteine is used to improve the industrial processing of bread and other similar products. While l-cysteine generally doesn’t cause health problems, it’s non-essential, nutritionally, and its source is quite controversial. This might gross you out: In order to save money, l-cysteine is often made from duck feathers, human hair, chicken feathers, cow horns, or petroleum byproducts. Most L-cysteine sources also come from China, where there is a history of poor regulation. If sources are not well regulated you use might be using this kind of l-cysteine. [7]

#5: Alloxan

Alloxan is one of the most controversial chemicals that white flour has been processed with. Alloxan is a substance used to bleach flour, giving it its striking white color. Alloxan is a toxic substance that destroys the beta cells of the pancreas, causing metabolic disorders like diabetes. However, according to research, alloxan doesn’t build up in dangerous amounts in the body – meaning it doesn’t pose a health risk. Of course, being safe is better than being sorry. [8][9]

Further Reading:

Still Consume White Flour? After Reading This, You Won’t… (Eat Local Grown)

References:

[1] United States Department of Agriculture (2012). Flour, all-purpose, refined. http://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_FLOUR_ALL-PURPOSE_100400November2012.pdf

[2] Zelman, K. The Truth About White Foods. http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/truth-about-white-foods

[3] Amin, F. & Gilani, A. (2013). Fiber-free white flour with fructose offers a better model of metabolic syndrome. http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1476-511X-12-44.pdf

[4] Code of Federal Regulations (2015). Food and Drugs. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=172.730

[5] Centers for Disease Control (2006). Multiple Outbreaks of Gastrointestinal Illness Among School Children Associated with Consumption of Flour Tortillas — Massachusetts, 2003—2004. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5501a3.htm

[6] Kurokawa, Y., et. al. (1990). Toxicity and carcinogenicity of potassium bromate–a new renal carcinogen. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567851/

[7] Baking Association of Canada. L-cysteine. http://www.bakingassoccanada.com/Food%20and%20Nutrition%20Policy%20Revised/L-cysteine.pdf

[8] National Institutes of Health. Alloxan. http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Alloxan#section=Top

[9] Alloxan. Schwarcz, J. (2003). McGill University. http://wayback.archive.org/web/20110915221859/http://oss.mcgill.ca/everyday/alloxan.pdf

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