So if you eat wheat, hopefully this post will make things clear —- hopefully clearer than mud anyway :).
By in large, studies have shown that 73% of shoppers believe that wheat flour and whole grain flour are the same thing. Even labels are deceiving, stating that certain healthy products are “made with whole grains”. When you turn the package over, and look at the ingredients, they might say something like: wheat flour, whole wheat flour, or enriched whole wheat flour.
Why is wheat flour not the best thing to be eating? Well, if you look on the list of ingredients I mentioned above, that means that the natural vitamins and minerals have been stripped from the wheat, and the mill has enriched it, or replaced a few of them back.
Like a friend of mine says, if you had 21 dollars, and a robber came and took all 21 of your dollars, and then returned 3, would you feel “enriched”?
That’s exactly what happens when flour is enriched. The mill strips 21 nutrients from the natural grain, and then replaces 3 of them. It doesn’t sound so great now, does it?
So why is it done in the first place?
Well, natural grains are prone to going rancid, so when a mill refines the flour, it increases the shelf life for quite a long time.
Often, the “enriched” or “replaced” vitamins and minerals are also synthetic, and not even the natural ones originally found in the wheat in the first place! The companies can claim that a product is whole wheat or whole grain if at least 5% of the wheat is whole grain.
Why would this be a problem? Well of course if a natural food is stripped of its vitamins and minerals, it’s a lot less nutritious and you’re just eating junk food disguised as healthy food.
“Unbleached whole grain flour” is also a very misleading term. Whole wheat flour is never bleached in the first place, so this term only serves to make you feel better about the junk you just bought.
So what conclusion should you come to if you’re looking to eat wheat in a healthy way?
In the US, simply look for “whole wheat grain flour” as the first ingredient on the package. Don’t trust the flashy front label to tell you whether it’s made from whole grains or not, look on the ingredient facts on the back of the package.
This may vary in other countries. In the US, if the ingredients say “whole wheat flour”, it must contain the complete whole grain. In Canada, the whole grain will be labeled “whole grain whole wheat flour”. In the UK, it will be labeled as “wholemeal”.
If you’re concerned about getting the best nutrition available, avoid these ingredients:
Enriched wheat flour
Unbleached wheat flour
Hope this helps with all the confusion.
Talk to you later,