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7 Negative Effects of Refined Flour

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7 Negative Effects of Refined Flour

By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life

Flour is hard to sidestep come mealtime. Breakfast brims with toast, bagels, cereal, pancakes. Lunch is built around sandwiches, wraps, pasta, pizza. And dinner may come with its very own breadbasket.

Flours are produced by crushing grains into fine powders. And those powders form the basis not just for breads and buns, but for a huge variety of processed foods, from cereals, crackers and pizza dough to cookies, cakes and ice cream cones. As a result, the average American now eats 10 servings of refined grains each day.

As our national appetite for flour has inched up, so has the incidence of diet-related ills, such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Coincidence? Many nutrition experts don’t think so. When they weigh the evidence linking food choices and disease, they see the white, dusty fingerprints of flour everywhere.

“Now that trans fats are largely out of the food supply,” says David Ludwig, MD, PhD, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital Boston, “refined carbohydrates, including refined grain products, are the single most harmful influence in the American diet today.”

Flour started out as an ingenious fix to a vexing problem. Grass seeds were plentiful, but the tough outer shell (the husk) made the seeds difficult to chew and digest. Early humans outsmarted the seeds by grinding them between stones, crushing the outer layers to get at the goodness inside. The result — a coarse powder — was the first whole-grain flour.

The downside was spoilage. Crushing the germ released its oils, which quickly turned rancid when exposed to air. With the advent of industrial milling in the late 1800s, machines began filtering out the germ and pulverized the remaining endosperm into a fine, white powder that lasted on the shelf for months. And so all-purpose white flour was born — along with a host of health problems.

Beneath their rigid architecture, whole-kernel grains conceal an array of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber. But when machines pulverize kernels into flour, even whole-grain flour, what’s left behind is a starchy powder capable of wreaking havoc on the body.

Next: the health problems associated with refined flour

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Read more: Allergies, Conditions, Conscious Consumer, Diabetes, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Heart & Vascular Disease, Obesity, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Molly, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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4:03AM PDT on Jun 26, 2015

Treasure and enjoy our natural resources

9:45AM PST on Jan 23, 2013


8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Marvellous, white bread is convenient but often tasteless. Just love whole grains and wheats. There are some who are saying that we should avoid eating grains and wheat but these are some of my favourite foods which will never be given up. Prefer organic items.

Some people have an intolerance to gluten and can't eat wheat but for me, whole grains are delightful and very tasty.

4:18PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Over time, I have come to realize that anything more than 2 serving of wheat a day is too much. I use whole wheat when I bake for myself.

I work in a restaurant where most people eat biscuits and gravy for breakfast. It doesn't have any apeal to me nor does cereal, pancakes, etc. I would rather have a piece of chicken.

3:44PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

I totally agree !

3:08PM PDT on Jul 1, 2012


10:10AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

I'm surprised about the wheat. I thought whole-grain wheat bread was good for you vs white bread.

9:57AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

Very informative article, thanks!!

7:48AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012

what about whole wheat?

7:47AM PDT on Jul 1, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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