White Flour,
the Refined Flour

Table of Contents:



People often hear that white flour and white bread are bad, but they do not know much about why and how bad they are. Some people know that white flour lacks vitamins and minerals which whole grains and whole flour have.

Just lacking those vitamins and minerals don't sound too bad. After all, they can be supplemented – Right? Actually, during the refining process, 14 different vitamins, 10 different minerals, and protein are lost from the whole wheat.

Even if the food label says it is enriched flour, the enriching process of refined flour only adds 4 vitamins and nothing else. It should be also noted that wheat in refined form, itself is harmful to body which will be explained later.

There are many other poisonous and fattening effect of white flour, which are not well known to public. It should also be noted that not all carbohydrates have same fattening effect as white flour does. More about this will be discussed later in this page.

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How Refined White Flour is Made

Refined white flour is made from whole wheat grains by peeling off entire husk and bran then crushing the white grain, almost pure carbohydrate parts. Husk and bran are the most nutritious and fiber rich parts of the grain.

The remaining part of grain is carbohydrate and not much else. Even the tiny bit of remaining nutrition in the remaining part of grain is chemically bleached out. Then it is dried in the oven at high temperature which destroy any trace of nutrients that may remain there.

When flour is chemically bleached, it is like bleached similar to clothes. As is so, bleaching leaves chemical residue in flour. So when a piece of white bread is eaten, chemical bleach residual in the flour is also eaten. Flour mills use various chemical bleaches and all of them are harmful to body.

Bleaching chemicals makes flour whiter by oxidizing flour particle surfaces. These chemical residues also cause to develop gluten which many people are allergic to.

Not only because of the chemical residue from bleaching process, but eating pure refined carbohydrate cause lots of health problem as it will be discussed later in this page.

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Nutritional Loss

In the digestive process, carbohydrate (starch) is broken down into simple sugar molecule. Starch is just many sugar molecules bonded together. The simple sugar molecule can be used directly by cells to produce energy.

When cells convert sugar into energy, vitamins are needed in this conversion process (especially E and B12). Most times, these vitamins are naturally present in the whole food. However, in refine flour grain, these vitamins are lost when germ and bran are removed.

Other minerals, vitamins, and enzymes that are naturally present in the whole grain (and other whole unprocessed foods) are important as well because many of them are also required in order for glucose ( = simplest form of sugar) to turn into energy. What happens when people eat refined food which lack all the minerals, vitamins, and enzymes?

The body takes away these same vitamins, minerals, and enzymes from its own body organs, tissues, and bones in order to process these refined food. This leads to many diseases, and most often, symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome. Also, it should be kept in mind that any protein in refined flour are poor quality proteins.

During refining process, about 50% of all calcium, 70% of phosphorus, 80% iron, 98% magnesium, 75% manganese, 50% potassium, and 65% of copper are lost. About 80% of thiamin, 60% of riboflavin, 75% of niacin, 50% of pantothenic acid, and about 50% of Pyridoxine is also lost. 14 different vitamins, 10 different minerals, and protein are lost. In essence, most of minerals and vitamins are lost.

To read more about in details why vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are so important in our body and what kind of health effect it bring about in their absent, go to this section of sugar page.

In the enriched flour, only 4 vitamins and minerals are added back. This is why just "enriching" refined flour refined flour cannot make up for many different nutrients lost, including most of soluble fiber and other beneficial substances such as enzymes and antioxidants.

Also there is something to be said about added vitamins. Recent studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health shows that taking betacarotene, a precursor form of vitamin A, in supplemental form may actually increase the risk of some cancers. However, every evidences shows that getting the same vitamin in whole food form is beneficial.

Vitamin in supplemental form also cannot be absorbed as effectively as in natural form. For example, betacarotene is effectively absorbed only when taken in conjunction with one or all of the 500 other carotenoids naturally present in vegetables.

This is not only the case with vitamins added in refined flour, but also same with the case with vitamin A added in pasteurized milk.

Therefore, supplement pills and added vitamins can never wholly replace whole foods. This is due to vitamins, minerals, binding to minerals and organic molecules within the food, which makes the absorption rate very different.

Taking supplement pills helps however, especially if they are from whole foods not from chemical synthesis process. Although it is not recommended taking supplements which are derived from animal sources. To read why, please read meat page (which also includes explanation about fish).

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Refined Flour, Insulin, and Glycemic Index:

Glycemic Index or GI, is unit of measure in which how fast sugar is release in blood. In a given food, there are given amount of carbohydrate. The GI index is higher for foods with its carbohydrate content in mostly or all in simple sugar form.

The GI index is lower for foods with its carbohydrate content in mostly or all in complex sugar form, or only a little bit of carbohydrate – such as vegetables and beans. highest GI index is 100, which is equal to pure form of glucose. So glucose or pure refined white sugar has GI index of 100. Other food have lower level of GI.

Higher GI index, faster and greater amount of sugar is released in blood. Any fried foods with refined white flour and any foods made with white flour have high GI index. Example of these foods are, pastas and noodles, breads, biscuits, cookies, cakes, candies, chocolate, pizza breads, garlic breads, muffins, etc.

If these are made out of whole grain flours, raw cane sugar (unrefined sugar), and without any chemicals, they will not have high GI index and they may even be good for health with addition of other vegetables.

However, it is very hard to find all these foods mentioned from the examples made out of whole grain flours and raw cane sugar. More often then not, it will say the product is made out of "flours" "refined flours" "enriched flours" which means they are all refined flour without husk and bran in it.

If the label says, "unbleached flour" or "enriched unbleached flour" then they are a little better then refined flours, but they still do not have the husk and bran in it, which are major part of nutrient.

Carbohydrate is complex sugar. However, as refined flour lacks any fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, there is nothing else to digest other then pure carbohydrate. This makes refined flour's GI index higher then the whole wheat flour. Note that if the food label wheat flour or flour, it means they are refined flour.

Most breads and flour products are baked / fried at high temperature. This makes particles even smaller and causes molecular bonds to break down more easily which makes GI index even higher. Most, if not all of these products are made with refined (= white and brown) sugar, which makes its GI index even higher.

A side note to this, is: Frying makes GI index highest. Baking is better then frying in preserving nutrition and particle size. Boiling is better then baking, and steaming is the best cooking method with heat. The best method of cooking is blending or cutting and eaten in raw, for all fruits and nuts, and majority of vegetables.

These foods, when eaten, are digested and broken down fast into simple sugar form. Because sugar can be absorbed directly from stomach wall without going into intestine, the sugar level in blood raises very fast as well. Excess sugar in blood, called Hyperglycemia, damages cells.

As a result, pancreas needs to release insulin very fast to convert these sugar into triglycerides (a type of fatty acids), in order to prevent cell's damage. This, of course, results, pancreas to overwork. If this process is repeated, pancreas is damaged and finally cannot produce insulin any more. This is called diabetes.

It should be noted that Hyperglycemia, excess sugar in blood is followed by Hypoglycemia, condition of depleted sugar in blood. When insulin is released in such quantity so fast, to control excess sugar in blood, the sugar level drops very fast too.

This gives famished, tired, emotionally sensitive, and unstable feeling. Because of this, many people say that even after full meal, very quickly they feel tired and hungry again and wants to eat more. This leads to overeating and increase the dependency to stimulants like
coffee in order to boost up energy.

By the way, coffee does not give energy. On the other hand, it may lead to chronic fatigue syndrome. Click on the link to read more about this.

Pancreas is not the only organ that is involved in this whole process. When Hypoglycemia, happens, body releases a type of hormone called glucagon in order to increase suddenly dropped sugar level. Then the blood sugar level goes up again. When this happens, the person wants to eat more as well.

However, due to such frequent and sudden ups and downs of blood sugar level, all organs which take care these modulations, including adrenaline glands (which are sitting on top of kidneys), are damaged or disabled. Damage in adrenaline glands leads to low tolerance to stresses, which results people to give up on things easily.

Also these foods made with refined flours are often accompanied with high fat and sugars (cakes, muffins, cookies, and chips for example). Fats are slowest in passing through the stomach. Sugars can be to be absorbed through stomach lining without wait until it goes to intestine.

Because of this, slowing gastric emptying due to high fat content in these foods actually makes sugar to be absorbed directly from the stomach wall into blood stream (thus higher GI index), to the last drop. This can be extremely damaging to pancreas and adrenaline glands.

A note to be made here about sweet fruits and raw honey. Dietitians and nutritionist would say they have as high GI index as refined sugar. If there's any differences, there aren't much. I must disagree with this. For cell to directly process sugar in the bloodstream, many different vitamins and minerals are needed in process of converting sugar into energy (enriching with vitamins wouldn't work as I explained earlier).

The sugar in sweet fruit and raw honey are accompanied with loads of raw vitamins and minerals which enables cells to process those sugars right away. This excess vitamins and minerals also helps to burn the excess fat that is already on the body.

So for sweet fruits, it may appear that GI index is high, but because the presence of raw vitamins and minerals in the food, it makes the process speed of sugar within the fruit a lot faster then the refined sugar by itself.

The giveaway proof of this is many raw veganist who cured diabetes by going raw vegan or vegan. By the way, going vegan without eating at least 50% of raw fruits and vegetables is doing in wrong way. To read more about how to go vegan in correct way, click here.

Clinical trials proved that people who had high GI meals ate almost twice as much compared people who had to low GI meals.

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Refined Flour and Fat

The large amount of insulin release, by eating refined foods, is sure way to gain more fat. Because insulin is a hormone that signals to store fat in the body. In order for sugar to be converted into energy, vitamins and minerals are needed in the conversion process. Refined foods lack vitamins and minerals.

In order for refined foods to be used as energy, body absorb away already existing vitamins and minerals in tissue, organs, and bones to convert them into energy. But this is more like burning house to get warmth needed. Those vitamins and minerals in the body are there for cell's use.

This is why eating refined foods on regular basis cause bad skin condition, chronic fatigue, and countless other potential chronic condition. This lack of vitamin and mineral with toxic accumulation also leads to dizziness which too many people, especially women experience nowadays.

But there is limit to use all of the sugar as energy because existing vitamins and minerals in the body is also limited. When excess sugar in the blood cannot be used by cells due to lack of vitamin and minerals, they are stored as fat. This fat is often accumulated around the belly.

Vitamins and minerals depletion with gained weight makes a person feel more sluggish and less inclined to want to exercise, which leads to even more weight gain.

These are the main reasons why weight loss is so difficult for people who continue to eat foods with refined grain and refined sugar ingredients. Also lack of dietary fiber in these foods is a problem for the large intestine.

This results colon to gunk up with fecal residues in colon wrinkle folds which may result problems and diseases such as constipation, Crohn's, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and colon caner. This often leads to toxic accumulation of the body which makes a person even more sluggish and not wants to exercise.

Refined flour also damages liver in two ways. One way is through excess sugar in blood due to lack of minerals and vitamins in refined foods. To read more about how excess sugar damage liver, read next topic. The other way is due to toxic chemical substances during bleaching process. Liver is organ which convert toxics in blood to more inert substance then remove from body as in form of urine (along with sweating) – continuous poison intake taxes liver.

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Refined Flour and High Blood Pressure

Refined flour causes high blood pressure in two ways. Since refined sugar lacks vitamins and minerals to be processed and converted into energy, excess sugar gets to stay longer in the blood. The sugar in the blood make blood sticky, which causes high blood pressure.

Another way to make blood sticky is through not having enough omega-3 fatty acid, therefore bringing omega-6 fatty acid into inflammatory condition.

Refined food lacks omega-3 fatty acid, since omega-3 acid is readily destroyed in refining and cooking process. The most reliable omega-3 source is from raw fruits, vegetables, and raw nuts. To read more about this, read entire section of EFA Deficiency in US in refined sugar page.

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Refined Flour and Disease

Excess sugar in the blood is partially used as energy. Rest of them is stored in two ways. At first they are stored in the liver as glycogen, which causes liver to become fat. The fat in the liver causes hepatocirrhosis (destruction and hardening of liver) which can turn into liver cancer. Liver has many important functions and one of them is eliminate toxins from body.

If liver does not function, a body will accumulate toxic which can lead to many different health problems.

If everything cannot be stored as glycogen, the rest of them are synthesized as triglycerides, which is a type of fatty acid. This fatty acid is stored under the skin and above muscle (subcutaneous fat) – this is the fat which people generally regard as body fat.

These synthesized triglycerides will also float around in blood vessel and accumulate on the vessel wall. This cause arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries) and heart attack. Excess triglycerides make blood sticky and also fuels bacterial infection. As a result, white blood cells become sluggish and not readily respond to even more frequent bacterial invasion from outside due to excess triglycerides.

When eating any grains or any plant food, it is absolutely recommended not to eat refined food, but whole food as is from the nature. It should be noted that sorghum and millet were major part of diet until early 20th century. Then as farming became industrialized, wheat became primary choice of diet. Also, Americans gradually ate less fruits and more meat.

As this trend became stronger, the diseases such as diabetes, circulatory diseases, and all types of cancers were on the rise. Besides all the toxic stuffs and adverse effect of eating meat, there is another factor which should be discussed but not widely talked about among doctors in general. That is vitamin B17. Vitamin B17 is also called nitrilosides, it is known to have cancer killing properties, although this is debatable among traditional western medicine.

Vitamin B17 is present in sorghum and millet, but almost non-existence in wheat. Also vitamin B17 is rich in berries, which Americans only eat in small quantities. If you want to read more about Vitamin B17, click here. This website gives list of food that are rich in vitamin B17.

If you want to know more about vitamin B17, watch documentary "A World without Cancer" by G. Edward Griffin. This is quite an "old" documentary. Even at that time, it was estimated that 1 out of every 4 Americans were to contract cancer in their life time. I do not have scientific evidence if vitamin B17 is effective. However, from what I have read, it seems good to give a try because of the following reason.

It is statistically true that people who get early diagnosis of cancer then gets surgery and radiation dies earlier then people who didn't get any treatments. And since those foods cannot hurt people, and traditional cancer treatment kills patient faster then who didn't get any treatment at all, it is better to try vitamin B17.

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Types of Bleaching Agents:

Poison Effect of Bleaching Agents

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Chlorine Dioxide

When chlorine dioxide reacts with the proteins in flour, it produces alloxan. Alloxan cause diabetes by destroying beta cells in pancreas. Chlorine oxide also destroys the wheat germ oil in flour which is vital nutrition. It will also shorten the flour's shelf life and prone to infest by insects– although these insects which ate these flour die within short period of time due to toxic and unhealthy property of refined flour.

Chlorinated cake flour increase structure forming capacity, thus enable to use lower flour proportions and higher proportions of sugar, which makes sweeter and softer cake. It is also used in biscuit manufacturing to make the biscuit surface tight and rise high.

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Potassium Bromate

Potassium bromate (KBrO3, also called E924 in food labeling), is a chemical in the form of white crystals or powder, which is added to bromated the flour. It is an agent which promotes gluten development in dough. This gluten is allergic to many people.

Potassium bromate is also a very powerful oxidizer, thus damaging cells. Bromate is considered a category 2B carcinogen (= possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Under just right conditions, potassium bromate will be completely used up in the baking process, but this is seldom guaranteed. Some commercial bakers use bromated flour to make dough stronger and more elastic so it can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.

Many flour producers have switched to ascorbic acid (= vitamin C) instead of potassium bromate. Vitamin C gives similar dough result as potassium bromate.

Potassium bromate has been banned in most of developed countries in 1994 including all countries in European Union (chlorine, bromates, and peroxides in food is banned in the EU), UK, Canada. It is also banned in Sri Lanka, China, Nigeria, Brazil, and Peru. Japanese manufacturers have voluntarily stopped using bromated flour in 1980. However, Yamazaki Baking Company has resumed using it in 2005.

In the US, bromated flour is legal and there is no labeling required to show that flour is bromated – although state by state labeling laws may say that flour producers must label the flour if it is bromated or not.

The FDA allows bromated flour if potassium bromate concentration in flour does not exceed 750 parts per 1 million. These regulations can be found at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~lrd/FCF136.html. Since 1991, FDA to urge bakers to voluntarily stop using it. In California a warning label is required when bromated flour is used.

To avoid packaged foods which contain bromated flour, look for "potassium bromate" or "bromated flour" in the ingredient list. Sadly, it is not always labeled. So your sure bet is just go for whole flour. Local pizza shop use bromated flour. Arby’s French Toastix, Burger King, and Johnny Rocket Restaurant use bromated flour. Gold Medal flours by General Mills are bromated.

Dominos Pizza and Pizza Hut use flour that are bleached from chemicals other then potassium bromate. So while their flour is free of potassium bromated, other chemicals which are harmful that are listed above is present. Please keep in mind that all of these chemicals are toxic to human body.

Potassium bromate may also be used in the production of malt barley. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have stated certain conditions where this may be used safely in barley production. The conditions include labeling standards for the finished malt barley product.

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Effect of Poison

An interesting note to this; it is worth while to look at how the companies produce white flour and ship it to cereal, bread, and other companies who are commercial users of the white flour. You know that if you're in the food business, it's difficult to ship food without having it infested by various pests. There are mice, rats and insects infest the food as it is being transported.

When companies ship refined white flour in large bags, they don't have to use any insecticide whatsoever. That's because if an insect gets into the bag of white flour and starts eating it, that insect will die from consuming it. White flour is a natural insecticide because it kills any insect that attempts to live off of it.

If there were roaches or other insects that got into the food, by the time the truck arrives at its destination, all those insects are dead by the time it arrives. They die because they were eating the white flour.

Yet, many Americans are living off of refined flour. They consume it quiet a bit at every single meal. Then they wonder why they suffer from so many chronic conditions and diseases, always tired, and fat.

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Disease Statisticscaused mainly by eating meat, refined flour, refined sugar, and artificial flavors.

    Heart Disease
    • Every day 1700 dies
    • Every year at least 1 trillion dollars are used to cure hardened artery.

    • Every year, there is 1 million new colon cancer patients
    • Every year 600,000 people die from colon cancer
    • Every year in US, about 6.5 billion dollars are spent to treat colon cancer
    • Several millions of people contract cancer caused by meat eating
    • Every year there are 246 million new diabetes patients
    • Every year 174 billion dollars are used in order to treat diabetes.

    • World wide 1.6 billion people are obese in the world
    • Every year more then 400 million adults are spending 93 billion dollars in order to treat obesity.
    • Every year 2.6 million dies from obesity or obesity related disease.
    • Meat raising polluted 70% of drinkable water in the world – due to animal fecal matters.

    And there are a lot more.

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Alternative to White Flour and Bread

Never eat white flour, refined flour, and/or "enriched" flour. That includes breads, bagels, cakes, cookies, biscuits, donuts, rolls, pie crust, noodles, romens, etc. Small bakery bread and home made loaves usually taste a little better but because refined white flour is used, there is still is not much difference.

The alternative is whole grain bread. Whole flour retains the husk and bran of the wheat, which is most nutritious with most of dietary fiber.

A caution about whole grain bread. Bread makers use food coloring, brown wrappers, and healthful sounding words like "multi grain," "stone ground," and "cracked wheat" to make their breads sound more nutritious than they really are. Many people think if it has a brown color, it is better – it is not. You must read the ingredients – not nutritional facts.

Whole flour contains much lower levels of Glycemic Index than white flour. This results sugar to be released slow into the bloodstream. The metabolism is stimulated rather than inhibited, thus your fat is not stored, but burned – good for losing weight.

Different varieties of non white breads including wheat, rye, brown rice, millets, oat meals, and etc. Better yet, steamed/boiled potato, millet bread (up until early 20 century millet was major part of American diet), steel cut whole oat (not flattened) is recommended.

Bottom line is:
Eat unprocessed whole grain and try to eat multi grain. If it is sprouted, that is even better. Why sprouted? Unsoaked grains and seeds also have these enzyme inhibitors, and they have it for the same reason as soy bean has.

Unsoaked grains and seeds also have these enzyme inhibitors, and they have it for the same reason as soy bean has.

These substances and enzyme inhibitors are present in legumes and soy is present as protective measure as a result of evolutionary processes, so that the seed will not be eaten by herbivores until it germinates. By the time it does, it has spent considerable amount of nutrients in sprouting so it become less attractive food to animals. Seeds are amazing natural wonders in that as soon as they hit water, the enzyme reaction starts from within (except very few seeds – human don’t tend to eat them anyhow).

"The whiter the bread, the quicker you're dead." – old saying.

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