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Flour: Why Consumption Should Be Reconsidered

White flour contains plenty of carbohydrates and some protein, mostly in the form of gluten. White flour does not contain much more. no longer as a staple food.

White flour in ancient Egypt

Even the ancient Egyptians are said to have loved white flour. Of course not the snow-white and dust-fine white flour as we know it today, but an ancient variant of it. With more or less fine sieves, they were able to separate the coarse parts from the flour and obtained a kind of white flour.

But please don’t think that in ancient Egypt people ate table rolls fresh from the oven made from antique white flour every day across the country. no way. White flour was a privilege of the rich upper class. The broad masses “had” to eat bread made from wholemeal flour.

Atherosclerosis in Ancient Egypt

Now, researchers recently examined some Egyptian mummies that were found around 1,550 BC. should have lived. Since the deceased were only embalmed at that time if they belonged to the upper class, the scientists had to deal with priests, rulers, and court employees.

The researchers were very surprised when they found arteriosclerotic deposits in the blood vessels of an Egyptian princess – until now it was thought that arteriosclerosis was a disease of the modern affluent society, which prefers to eat fatty foods, smoke, and exercise as little as possible sells.

In arteriosclerosis, deposits in the blood vessels lead to the narrowing of the same, which significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In the course of the investigations it turned out that the princess was apparently not alone with this ailment, but that half of all mummies had suffered from arteriosclerosis during their lifetime.

Does white flour promote arteriosclerosis?

Since the ancient Egyptians basically devoted themselves to a very exemplary lifestyle, i.e. they had a low-fat diet, were non-smokers, and were keen to exercise, the scientists concluded that arteriosclerosis must be a hereditary condition and can only be influenced to a small extent by external factors.

Although they still considered the presumably lavish meat consumption of the rich Egyptians as a possible risk factor, that too hardly seemed to be the only trigger in question. Unfortunately, one did not think of the many grain products that the Egyptians ate in abundance – and one did not think of their fondness for white flour.

White flour is bad for heart and blood sugar

However, according to some studies with people of our age, white flour is to be regarded as problematic with regard to the development of arteriosclerosis and thus cardiovascular diseases – and not only that: Diabetes also feels in people who like products from Eat white flour, much more comfortable than where wholemeal flour is preferred.

According to the researchers, the risk of diabetes could actually be reduced if, in the future, products made from wholemeal flour were eaten instead of products made from white flour.

The explanation for this is quite simple: white flour is an isolated product with a very high carbohydrate content. Fiber is nowhere to be seen. As a result, the starch is broken down into sugar very quickly in the small intestine. This gets into the blood unchecked, where it drives up the blood sugar level just as quickly as normal household sugar does.

white flour and rheumatism

In addition, experience has shown that rheumatic joint complaints improve when the consumption of white flour and other isolated carbohydrates (sugar, starch, etc.) is stopped and whole grain products are eaten instead – to a lesser extent – but preferably a lot of vegetables and fruit.

White flour and sick eyes

Eye health also benefits more the less white flour is eaten. Researchers found that macular degeneration – an eye disease in which the retinal cells are destroyed – develops preferentially or progresses quickly in people who like to eat products made from white flour.

White flour and gallstones

Even the bile is grateful if you save with white flour & co. Gallstones are said to develop more easily in those people who have isolated carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour on their menu.

Death by white flour?

Fortunately, most people don’t ONLY eat white flour. Otherwise, you could possibly feel the same way as those experimental animals that had to be available to the German nutritionist Professor Werner Kollath for various feeding experiments many years ago.

Kollath divided his test eaters into three groups: some were fed white flour but also other foods, a second part was fed wholemeal flour, and a third part was fed exclusively white flour.

Those animals that ate white flour, among other things, soon suffered from a wide variety of metabolic disorders, at the latest in the next few generations. They developed tooth and gum problems, jaw, skeletal and blood changes, eye diseases, kidney and liver damage, tumors, etc., basically all the complaints that drive people to the doctor’s office today.

The poor white flour group (whose diet ONLY contained white flour), on the other hand, had no time to develop any chronic diseases, as they died after just a few weeks.

Wholemeal flour instead of white flour?

One or the other may now think: No problem, then from now on, we will eat pasta, pizza, bread, and cakes made from wholemeal flour instead of white flour. However, no sooner is the person willing to make a change in his favorite grocery store with this new resolution than it becomes apparent that the implementation is by no means as easy as expected. After all, what is whole grain anyway?

There is hardly any flour labeled “wholemeal flour” in the supermarket. Depending on the range, there are quite a few types of flour there, for example, flour type 405, flour type 550, type 1050, type 1150, type 1700, etc. But which of these is wholemeal flour and which is white flour? To do this, you have to do something:

What is whole grain anyway?

A grain kernel consists of three parts:

  • The fiber-rich outer layers, which are also called bran
  • The tiny fatty germ that would give rise to the plant
  • The starchy main part of the grain called the endosperm is intended to serve as the first food for the germ when the plant begins to germinate and grow

If this cereal grain is now completely ground, the result is called wholemeal flour. It doesn’t matter which grain the flour was ground from. Some people believe that white flour is made from wheat and wholemeal flour, so “dark” flour is made from rye.

However, this is not the case. Wholegrain flour is wholegrain flour when it comes from whole grain, whether it’s wheat, rye, spelled, barley, or whatever.

If bread is baked from it (and if no white flour is mixed in with it), then the result is called wholemeal bread. If you make noodles out of it, they are whole-grain noodles. If it’s turned into cookies, they’re whole-grain cookies.

However, bakers and the food industry are allowed to write “whole grain” on bread or other grain product if it consists of only 90 percent whole grain flour.

The canned white flour

However, freshly ground wholemeal flour cannot be stored for very long. The germ is rich in fat, and when that fat goes rancid, the flour spoils. In order to increase the storability of the flour, about 150 years ago the flour was mechanically sieved. The edge layers and the nucleus were sorted out.

What remained was the ground endosperm, the white flour, which could now be stored almost indefinitely – and thus became a real preserve.

Bran and germ, on the other hand, are fed to cattle. Why? Because this is feed rich in nutrients and vital substances. No cattle farmer would feed his animals white flour. Their efficiency and thus their profits would suffer greatly from such a meager malnutrition.

Mankind, however, eats white flour products with pleasure and also imagines that they are particularly cultivated and progressive.

In the production of white flour, however, 60 percent dietary fiber, 50 percent calcium, 70 percent iron, 80 percent magnesium, 99 percent chromium (chromium deficiency is involved in the development of diabetes), 90 percent vitamin E and 90 percent vitamin B1 are lost, just to name a few to indicate a small selection of this mineral and vitamin loss.

What does “flour type 405” mean?

If a type designation, such as e.g. B. Type 405 is to be read, then this should give an idea of the residual mineral content. The lower the number of types, the fewer minerals are contained. White flour has the number 405 and contains 405 milligrams of minerals per 100 grams of flour.

A flour with the type designation 1050, which is often purchased for making bread, provides a good gram (1050 milligrams) of minerals per 100 grams. Wholemeal flour carries the type number 1700 or 1800. But before you storm into the nearest store and their whole wheat flour buys, read a little further…

Childless through white flour

The researchers Kühnau and Bernasek wanted to find out the different effects of white flour and wholemeal flour on the fertility of rats. While rats aren’t human, they’re very similar in some ways, so you can compare them.

A professor of human medicine once mentioned during a lecture that, apart from rats and humans, there were only a few animals that could feed on garbage so successfully. In any case, Mr. Kühnau and Mr. Bernasek divided the test animals into five groups. They were all given 50 percent “normal” food. The other 50 percent of the feed consisted of the following ingredients:

  • Group 1 also received freshly ground wholemeal flour
  • Group 2 received bread made from freshly ground wholemeal flour
  • Group 3 received whole wheat flour that was 14 days old
  • Group 4 received bread made from wholemeal flour that had been stored for 14 days before baking
  • Group 5 had to be satisfied with white flour

The white flour group 5 gave birth to an average of 8 babies in the first generation, only 1.2 in the third, and died out in the fourth because there were no more offspring. This was within expectation and did not overly surprise the scientists.

The good health of groups 1 and 2 with consistently high numbers of babies in all generations also fitted in very well with the expected picture. What shook the researchers, however, was that groups 3 and 4 died out in the fourth generation, just like the white flour group before them. Although they produced slightly more offspring than Group 5 in the third generation, this did not alter the fact that these offspring remained sterile.

If whole wheat flour, then freshly ground

So it actually looks as if whole grain flour can only be beneficial to health if – as the whole food gurus have been preaching for decades – it is freshly ground immediately before consumption or before further processing.

The oxygen, which immediately attacks every dust of flour after grinding and leads to the oxidation of vital substances, should not be underestimated – which makes the purchase of your own grain mill worth considering again. But only if you don’t tend to be overweight…

Flour makes you fat and addictive

There are several studies that show that people who eat whole grain products are significantly less likely to be overweight than those who love white flour. Nevertheless, the cardiologist Dr. William Davis an interesting discovery.

In his diabetic patients, he found that flour made you fat – especially when it was wheat flour, although it didn’t matter so much whether the patients preferred wholemeal or white flour.

dr Davis finally found the culprit for this disaster: a protein called gliadin. It is a component of the wheat protein gluten, which in some people leads to an intolerance reaction known as celiac disease. Apart from that, however, gliadin has completely different effects on the human organism – not only in sensitive people but in all people.

Gliadin leads – according to Dr. Davis – basically to the following reaction: When gliadin is digested, so-called exorphins are released. Exorphins are substances that are similar to opium, i.e. they have a narcotic effect and can be addictive at the same time. They can cross the blood-brain barrier and bind to so-called opioid receptors in the brain, which initiates an addiction – an addiction to wheat.

The appetite for wheat products is stimulated in this way, which increases the desire for more and more pasta and baked goods. If this desire is pursued, the calorie intake naturally increases, and the person concerned gains weight.

Incidentally, the wheat exorphins are so addictive that a pharmaceutical company has already developed a drug that can block the opioid receptors – with continued consumption of wheat products – and is intended to serve as a slimming aid. The first tests showed amazing results. The test subjects lost 10 kilograms over the course of six months – without any change in diet. Those who are smart don’t need a slimming pill, just leave out the wheat.

Flour contains dangerous lectins

In recent years, other grain ingredients have also made the headlines with increasing frequency: the so-called lectins. Lectins are also proteins. They are also called agglutinins (in wheat they are called wheat agglutinin or WGA for wheat germ agglutinin).

In addition to being able to bind with red blood cells and thereby thicken the blood (which can promote thrombosis and, as a result, stroke and heart attack), they also influence what happens in the intestine.

Lectins also have benefits

However, the studies that led to the above negative assessment of lectins were conducted with such high levels of lectins that it is highly unlikely that diet can match them.

At the same time, there are indications that lectins can also have positive effects. For example, lectins – precisely because they can attach themselves to the intestinal mucosa – are intended to prevent pathogenic germs from settling there. In this context, there is also talk of a preventive anti-cancer effect. It is said that lectins cause tumor cells to clump together, which is why research is currently being carried out into cancer drugs based on lectins. Healthy body cells, on the other hand, only clump together under the influence of lectins at a significantly higher lectin dose.

Gluten sensitivity is not from gluten at all but from ATIs?

In addition to gluten and lectins, the usual types of flour also contain so-called ATIs (amylase trypsin inhibitors). The protein in grain is about 4 percent ATIs. These are also proteins that are inherent to the grain. ATIs are now associated with the development of autoimmune diseases, since they can lead to such strong inflammatory processes in the intestine that they no longer remain in the intestine, but can spread beyond the intestine throughout the body. In this way, chronic inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, asthma, or, of course, inflammatory bowel diseases can develop.

Rule #1: Avoid wheat flour

So the first rule is: Avoid wheat as a matter of principle – both white flour and whole grain products (including sprouts, wheat germ, and wheat bran). If you want to proceed consistently, you will soon notice that the food industry mixes wheat flour in almost every finished product. It is not only found in bread, pastries, and pasta, but also in creamed spinach, ice cream, ready-made sauces, and sausages.

Rule #2: Alternatives

Types of grain that have not been bred in the same way as wheat could be more recommendable. Many people who are sensitive to wheat can tolerate spelled, even though it also contains gluten and is therefore rich in the gliadin mentioned above. However, spelled gliadin is not identical to wheat gliadin. Other types of grain that are not very overbred are emmer, einkorn, and ancient rye, as well as allegedly also the Kamut grain from the USA.

Millet and the pseudo-cereals quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth are completely gluten-free and therefore significantly less risky. But here, too, there are always indications of potentially questionable ingredients. However, you can avoid these if you take your time with processing and stick to certain traditional preparation methods.

Thorough washing and soaking overnight, followed by pouring away the soaking water, is one of the basic rules for the healthy preparation of pseudocereals.

Bread – regardless of grain – is considered to be better tolerated if it has been allowed to rise for a long time and has been baked with sourdough or baking ferment. There are also flours that are not of grain origin and that promise a special taste experience.

These include e.g. B. chestnut flour, nut flour, almond flour, and coconut flour. Although they cannot be used to bake bread on their own, they can be mixed into bread dough and at least help reduce the amount of flour used.

Rule #3: Reduce grain consumption

Conclusion

Wheat should no longer be considered a staple food. Other grains can be consumed in small amounts. We recommend – if it has to be pastries – to use freshly ground wholemeal flour, to process it further in the traditional way, and, if possible, to mix it with other flours (nuts, almonds, chestnuts, etc.).

There are no particular benefits to eating white flour. It does have a lower lectin content, but accepting its extreme lack of vital substances and the above-mentioned health disadvantages (diabetes, eye problems, gallstones, rheumatism, etc.) does not make much sense to us.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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