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Monday, October 15, 2007

Bleached vs Unbleached flour

I just had a very interesting grocery store conversation about flour. I never used to pay attention to what my mom purchased, and i eventually started purchasing wheat flour once I was old enough to be more conscious and concerned over what I was putting into my body and started hoarding healthier wheat-whole grain-oat-and-bran items...

That said, flour is a basic ingredient and, as it turns out, there is a difference between bleached and unbleached flour. Flour is bleached to improve shelf life and aesthetics so consumers dont freak out by seeing yellowish/brownish flour when they are expecting snow white powder.'s made from WHEAT (ie: there is nothing remotely white about wheat...). Flour is commercially bleached with chemicals such as chlorine dioxide or benzoyl peroxide. Now, i am no chemist, but I do know that chlorine is used in swimming pools and that benzoyl peroxide is used in acne creams. That CANT be good for human consumption...

If I have somehow captivated even a small amount of your attention, here is an interesting blurb:

"Most cylinder and hammer mills are used to transform whole nutritious grains into nutritionally devoid white flour. In the milling process, the bran and germ layers of the grains are stripped away, leaving only the white, pulpy interior kernel, or endosperm. When whole wheat is milled into white flour, 83 percent of the nutrients are removed, with mostly starch remaining. The fiber is gone, and the Vitamin E content is reduced, along with twenty-one other nutrients. The flour that is produced is so useless as a food that it must be fortified with synthetically manufactured thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, as well as iron. Thirty-five of the fifty U.S. states require that white flour must be thus 'enriched' to be sold.

In addition to nutritional abuse and synthetic vitamin fortification, flour often suffers further adulteration with chemicals used to age, bleach, whiten, and preserve the product. Chlorine dioxide, an irritant to both the skin and respiratory tract, is used to bleach flour. Benzoyl peroxide, another bleaching agent, is also a skin irritant. Other additives include methyl bromide, nitrogen trichloride, alum, chalk, nitrogen peroxide, and ammonium carbonate."

--The Littleton Grist Mill

1 comment:

Rick from Cali said...

Wow! Great post! Keep up the good work!