Unbleached Flour

July 10, 2007

I despise bleached flour, as it is a clever way to hide CLOROX or GASOLINE in your bread. Yes, the chemical compounds of the bleach that they use in preparing bleached flour are the same as that of clorox or gas. Think about that the next time you are biting into one of those fluffy hot dog buns.

However, this is not to say that all white flours are equally nutrient averse. While most white flours are seriously devoid of vitamins, fiber or any other good-for-you substance, UN-bleached white flour does not have the extra toxicity that bleached flour does.

The difference comes from the way that the flour is prepared. Unbleached flour has the germ and the bran removed from the wheat kernel, but the flour is then allowed to whiten naturally through exposure to air. Bleached flour is told not to wait, but to take a bath in bleach to speed up the process so that more flour goes out the door. Its a matter of modern industry verses nutritional value.

So what do I do? Well, look at the nutritional labels on the food which you purchase. Unless it clearly says “Unbleached flour” or “whole wheat flour,” it is bleached. Sad, I know. But that is the world we live in. Nature’s Own and most organic products are not made with bleached flour.

A note about UN-bleached white flour: Just because it is unbleached does not mean that it is good for you. White flour is made from the wheat kernel that has had the bran (fiber) and the germ (fiber, vitamins, good oils) removed. When your body processes white flour, it sees a simple sugar. That means that it is basically the same as you eating a slice of sugar. Your body will experience a sugar spike, and then drop (white flour has a high glycemic index). It will then turn into a sort of paste in your GI tract. In other words, white flour is like sugar which clogs your intestines. Not exactly a good thing.

The important thing is to avoid bleached flour as much as possible and to incorporate more whole grains and vegetables into your diet, not to completely nix white flour altogether. King Arthur Flour is a good brand to stick by, as I don’t think that they ever bleach their flour.


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