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3 reasons to avoid white flour

BY JO-HANNA TAYLOR

Sunday, September 09, 2018

FROM patty to fried dumplings, white flour is a main staple of our food memories and experiences. Present in almost every meal and snack, it is used in breads, cereals, pasta, and many baked goods that you know and love in extremely unhealthy quantities.

As a personal trainer, it is in my top five foods to avoid. I'm sure you can imagine the pushback when I suggest to clients that they should avoid white flour.

'But why? Bread tastes so good!'

'What's wrong with white flour?'

'What do I eat instead?'

I am going to answer these questions and break down three reasons we should avoid white flour and challenge you to join the 12 Month 24 Dares team and put down the bread and birthday cake for the rest of September, and hopefully the rest of the year.

 

Why white flour?

White flour is a heavily processed wheat. Wheat is a whole grain that is usually filled with vitamins and minerals that support the body's health. Research from the Ecological Agriculture Projects highlighted that after processing the grain, 97 per cent of the dietary fibre and 76 per cent of the vitamins and minerals are stripped from the wheat, turning it into refined grains that are also filled with bleaching agents, pesticides and preservatives that are harmful to our health.

 

What's wrong with white flour?

Nutrients and minerals are lost: When the wheat is stripped to make white flour, studies show that most of the fibre, nutrients and minerals are destroyed. Even 'enriched flour' (flour with artificially added vitamins and minerals) have nutrients that are not bioavailable.

Diets high in refined grains can also be low in fibre. Without the natural nutrients and beneficial fibre there is an increased chance of obesity, type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases.

Can cause weight gain: Eating a lot of refined grains can increase the risk of obesity. The lack of fibre causes swings in your blood sugar levels, making you hungry in a short space of time. Studies showed that this drop in blood sugar promotes craving and leads to overeating. Long-term studies show that eating refined grains is linked with increased belly fat over a five-year period.

Promotes inflammation and gastric distress: Inflammation is linked to the base of nearly every chronic disease. It is the body's way of protecting us from infection. The problem arises when certain foods trigger an inflammatory response when there is nothing to fight but our own tissues.

The heavy processing of white flour affects nutrient absorption and causes inflammation and gastric distress. Even though gluten (which is in white flour) is considered a major factor in the irritation of the digestive tract, many researchers believe refined grains overall play a heavy role as well.

 

What do I eat instead?

Whole foods (food that have barely been processed or refined) are always the best choice. But here are some nutrient-dense alternatives:

•Quinoa

•Buckwheat

•Brown rice

•Nut flours (almond flour, coconut flour, etc)

•Seed flours (pumpkin seed flour, sunflower seed, etc)

This is another nutritional dare steeped in patience. Have a plan and take it day by day. If you have any questions or would like to join the movement, email us at 12months24dares@gmail.com or follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook using the handle 12months24dares.

 

Jo-Hanna is the wellness coordinator of 12 Months 24 Dares. She is an internationally certified America Council of Exercise Personal Trainer, group fitness instructor and Power Vinyasa 200YT Yoga Instructor.