Bread is called the staff of life because it has more nutrients per weight that fruit, vegetables, meat, milk, and potatoes. Whole wheat flour is better than refined white flour for four reasons according to Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Associate Professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard:
In white flour, all of the bran has been removed. Bran has soluble and insoluble dietary fiber, B vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and tocopherols (see what vitamins and minerals that have been stolen).
In white flour, the germ has been removed. The Germ has numerous healthy fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (see what vitamins and minerals that have been stolen).
Whole grain flour is a solid rather than a liquid, so it’s digested more slowly. You can’t add artificial fiber and micronutrients to fix the issues with white flour, because the health effects, as in fruits and vegetables, result from synergistic effects of multiple constituents that are unlikely to be matched by supplemental fiber alone, added bran, or isolated micronutrients. The so-called artificial “fiber” added to commercial bread products (sometimes from wood pulp) is just one kind of fiber, not a diversity of fibers that create a healthier gut flora.
Glycemic load. White flour only has the endosperm which is mainly starch and some protein and no fiber, so it’s rapidly digested, increasing the glycemic response (like eating sugar). The experts who are saying wheat flour is no better than white flour are only criticizing wheat flour for this one aspect alone, not the other three above. And i’ts NOT TRUE if you mill your own flour with a Family Grain Mill, because the Family Grain Mill is incapable of grinding a really fine flour. To say that whole wheat flour is no better than white flour for this one reason is not scientific, irresponsible, and flat out wrong.
Here are the so-called experts who say are incorrectly saying whole wheat flour is no better than white flour:
- March 2013 Harvard School of Public Health conference “Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives”. The speaker at a bread baking talk said that there was no reason to bake with whole wheat flour, since it was no healthier than white flour because it had been ground so finely there was no fiber.
- Dr. David Ludwig, pediatrician, on NPR’s Talk of the Nation on March 1, 2013 in Seeking A Grain Of Truth In “Whole Grain” Labels. Same criticism, most flour is ground too fine.
- Dr. Robert Lustig at UCSF on NPR’s Science Friday on Jan 11, 2013 in The Fallacies of Fat. “All the benefits that you get from whole grain are gone as soon as you pulverize it,” though a dense German fitness bread with nuts and seeds is good, a very different kind of bread than what’s commercially available. A lot of the fiber that they tout in these breads is actually added soluble fiber, such as cilium and things like that.
I wrote several experts to see if they agreed, and Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, Associate Professor of medicine and epidemiology at Harvard replied:
There are at least 4 different, interrelated metrics that can definite carbohydrate quality:
- whole grain (bran, germ) content
- fiber content
- glycemic load
- structure (solid vs. liquid)