Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Whiter the Bread, the Quicker You're Dead

Not only recipes make for good food choices... sometimes we need information about what we are eating to help us do the right thing in the kitchen. Here is a little information about WHITE FLOUR from wheat that you should really gain a lot from! Hopefully, YEARS on your life! I am by no means perfect when it comes to eating healthy - but armed with all this knowledge about what is NOT good to put in my body, it has made me feel GUILT when I make wrong choices. It has also empowered me to make right ones. I love the book this information came from. I enjoy statistics. I also needed a big reminder to eat more fish. Fish is great for you. Stay tuned for more health related foodie posts.

Hopefully the next time you head to the supermarket, you'll choose Whole Wheat bread. Ezekiel bread is wonderful when you toast it (and it tastes great with the Brie Cheese recipe from my Medieval Feast post). The best whole wheat that I have found is Nature's Harvest. They are the only bread I can find readily available at a convenient grocery store (including Wal-Mart) that doesn't have high fructose corn syrup. Instead, they add brown sugar.

The Processing of Wheat for "Whiteness"

The processing of whole grains of wheat to white flour takes approximately twenty steps. The wheat kernel is composed of an outer layer called the bran. The bran is rich in B vitamins, minerals and fiber. The next layer is the wheat germ, which is the sprouting portion of the kernel. The wheat germ is a rich source of vitamins B and E. The next layer is the endosperm, which is the starch or food supply for the sprouting seed. The endosperm is approximately 80-85 percent of the grain. The germ is about 3 percent, and the bran about 15 percent.

Refined white flour is pure endosperm or starch. Both the bran and the germ have been removed, along with approximately 80 percent of the wheat's nutrients. The endosperm has far lower B vitamin and mineral content than the germ and bran, and also significantly less fiber.

Not only have 80 percent of the nutrients been removed, but the milling process involves such high temperatures that the remaining grain is damaged by oxidation. Flour at the end of the refining process actually has a grayish appearance from the oxidation. That color, of course, would be offensive to most consumers. So, a chemical agent such as chlorine dioxide, acetone peroxide, or benzoyl peroxide is used to bleach the flour to make it white. This bleaching process destroys even more of the few vitamins that remain. In addition, the bleaches can react with fatty acids to produce peroxides that are toxic and that can cause free-radical reactions. (Just compare these bleach products to the labels on chemical bleaches in your home such as Clorox!) In all, the milling and bleaching processes used today remove some twenty-two important nutrients from our bread, including fiber, vitamins and minerals.

The white flour, however, looks cleaner and purer than dirty brown whole wheat flour. And, as a consequence, it is more appealing to the American public.

What about "enriched" bread? To these breads, bakeries usually place about four nutrients to the flour they use - thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and iron. However, the vitamins they use are usually "coal tar derived" vitamins. Unfortunately, the end result is extremely little actual vitamin enrichment.

Low fiber bread that has been laced with a great deal of sugar and hydrogenated fat becomes paste-like in the intestines. This, in turn, leads to constipation, which in turn may lead to gastrointestinal disease such as irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids.

"But", you may be saying, "I only have a couple of slices of white bread a day." Oh really? Are you counting the buns for your hamburgers and hot dogs? Are you including crackers, bagels, pretzels, and many pasta and cereal products, which are also made of white flour? Remember, the most commonly eaten foods in America are white bread, coffee, and hot dogs.

- excerpt from "What Would Jesus Eat? - The Ultimate Program for Eating Well, Feeling Great, and Living Longer." by Don Colbert, M.D. (also the author of 'Toxic Relief')


Admin said...

Very interesting process. I have to try the brie recipe you mentioned. We mostly buy the honey wheat bread. My dh wanted to buy the whole wheat, but I cannot find one that tastes good, so we compromised on the honey wheat.

Diana said...

Wonderfully informative, as always, spritti. ;) I am going to check that book out next time we are in the library - I would be interested in any others you've read in that same catagory as well so please plug away if you're holding any back. LOL!

Sprittibee said...

Honey wheat is just white bread with a few wheat germs mixed into it to give it a wheat-ish flavor. :( Anything that says "ENRICHED" or "BLEACHED" is not good for you. Enriched means that they took God's nutrients OUT and replaced it with vitamins that are mostly NOT digestable and are certainly not natural. Many vitamins are extracted using the "Tar" process also (you'll have to read up about this stuff yourself because I'm not that good at explaining it).

Diana - Hope you enjoy the book! I love it. I was just loaned "The Maker's Diet" also. I look forward to reading that one.