History of White Flour
Prior to 1900, most bread was baked at home with fresh flour. Our grandmothers and great grandmothers would go to the miller and buy fresh flour, or they would mill it at home themselves. In the late 1800’s however, food processors discovered if they sift away the BRAN and the oil-laden GERM from the flour, they’d have a product that would not spoil. (see diagram)
Steel rolling mills quickly replaced the local miller, and in 1910, white flour became food for the masses. Immediately epidemics of beri-beri (Vit B1 deficiency, nervous disorders), pellagra (GI disturbances) and mental insanity broke out. I like to tell people that you know if you are not getting enough oxygen because you can’t breathe. But when something more subtle, like Vitamin E, is removed, you don’t know it and the consequences of eliminating it from your diet are devastating.
So America was struggling and eventually researchers traced the epidemics back to the nutrients removed from the bread. They went back to the millers to urge them to put the BRAN and GERM back in the bread. However, they chose instead to “enrich” the flour by returning only four of the original 30+ nutrients removed.
A simple wheat berry is packed with vital nutrients. The wheat berry consists of 3 parts: the bran, germ, and endosperm.
BRAN: hard outer layer of the wheat berry that protects the nutrients within and is our richest source of fiber. Once this protective layer is cracked, the nutrients begin to oxidize immediately. The purpose of fiber in our diets is to cleanse; we have a remarkable sewer system, but it needs fiber to perform. The job of fiber is to absorb water. As it absorbs water in the colon, fiber increases in size like a sponge. This increases the bulk of our stool, which causes pressing on the walls of the colon and gives us the urge to eliminate daily. A diet without fiber results in no absorption of water, no increase in bulk of the stool, no urge to eliminate. This leads to constipation and a build up of toxins in our body that need to be eliminated.
GERM: life of the seed, where sprouts come from, rich in oils (wheat germ oil)and Vitamin E. The sole purpose of Vitamin E in our body is to protect our cells from being destroyed in the presence of oxygen (oxidation); Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant. Excessive oxidation in your body takes its toll, yet Vitamin E can neutralize the damage to your cells. When Vitamin E is deficient, cells break down or are oxidized faster than the body can reproduce. Vitamin E is needed by EVERY cell of your body to prevent disease.Yet with the complete stripping away of the perishable wheat GERM in 1910, the diet of western man lost its only single source of Vitamin E.
ENDOSOPERM: mostly protein and starch, devoid of any real nutritional value. This is basically the “white flour” we eat and was created by God, but He never intended it to be separated from the rest of the seed.
Important note: Unfortunately the American diet has very little BRAN fiber or Vitamin E. Even whole wheat bread and whole wheat flour we buy in the store has the GERM removed. The secret ingredient of healthy bread is the flour. True fresh-milled flour spoils very quickly. Once milled, the nutrients begin to oxidize and if not used, the flour smells like rotten eggs in 24 hours. Fresh milled breads do not have a long shelf life and must be refrigerated.
Source: Full Cup Bakery, Atlanta, GA