Before the 1900s flour was milled locally and bread was baked at home. Miller’s in each town ground the grain daily because within 72 hours (3 days) 90% of over 30 nutrients are virtually gone. However, in the 1920s new technology allowed the millers to separate the wheat germ, germ oil and bran from the wheat kernel. This was great! The flour could now be stored indefinitely. Hooray! (I have a loaf of Wonder Bread that I bought in 2006 that still looks good. It’s a little dry but who cares. With some butter and jelly it would be great.) This was progress because (1) no more grinding grain every day, (2) no more baking bread every day, (3) by-products could be sold as high protein cattle feed, (4) beri beri and pellagra (vitamin B deficiency diseases) increased. Oops! Hold on… that’s not a good thing.
It turns out that the new milling process striped the B vitamins as well as about 24 other nutrients from the wheat. So logically, the health officials asked the millers to return to grinding grain each day and, of course, they complied. Well, not exactly… actually, not at all. It was all too lucrative, but… they agreed to “enrich” the flour by adding back 4 vitamins in order to solve the beri beri and pellagra problems. I feel so much better now, don’t you? After all, we don’t know anyone with those diseases, do we?
No, we don’t. However, other diseases are directly related to consumption of white flour such as appendicitis, diverticular disease, hiatal hernia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity among others and we have heard of people with those conditions. Oh… this is discouraging. What can we do?
We can stop eating white breads and white floured products. When you buy bread be sure to get the darkest, heaviest, WHOLE GRAIN bread you can. You can make your own bread using whole grain flours. You will discover that there is more flavor in whole grains than you ever realized. If you have not eaten heavy, whole grain breads you are in for a real treat.