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Is white flour really that bad?


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If I have otherwise very healthy eating habits, then is it really bad if I eat white flour bread?? I like making my own bread and I often use white flour, although I do use whole wheat flour at times.

 

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I may be in the minority, but my stance is "it depends."  You're certainly not going to get the same nutrition from even the best unbleached organic, but white, flour as compared to a good whole wheat flour.  But if you don't eat bread very often, then it I would think it wouldn't be so bad.

I like to get a little bit of the best of both worlds, and either make breads, when I do make them, that do best with whole grain/wheat flours, or mix them til I find a ratio that both pleases the palate and pays at least some homage to nutrition.

Believe it or not, one of the most important issues regarding a staple for us like wheat grain (flour) is the overall nutrient content as it relates to the health of the *soils* in which it was grown, as well as to variety.  All foods, in fact, are greatly affected, on a very real nutritional basis, by the quality of soils in which they're grown.  So, if you do eat a lot of bread and like to make your own, I would further suggest you try to get those types that offer you the most 'bang for your buck,' i.e. most nutritive value for the calories.  Organic seems awfully hip, but it's a great place to start.

yes.

no, its not "really that bad." People like to make scapegoats

thhq
Mar 23 2011 12:27
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I'll agree with mrspgd. If you're severely overweight, have an allergic reaction or suffer from high blood sugar/metabolic syndrome/diabetes, I'd be avoiding it. Otherwise if you thrive on white bread, eat it. In moderation. What's a BLT without toasted white? And nothing replaces a baguette with a double creme cheese.

Oh, Lord, you had to go and mention cream cheese?  What's next?  Mascarpone???

(drool)

An interesting aside/adjunct to this--sourdoughs.  Sourdough isn't defined as sour-flavored breads, but as *wild* yeasts, and apparently the body reacts somewhat differently to sourdoughs than it does to breads made with other yeasts in that it doesn't cause as big a spike in blood sugar.

http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2008/07/sourdough _bread.html

 

 

As long as you get your fiber from someplace else it doesn't matter.  I assume you use enriched flour so it not like you're missing out on macro-nutrients.  The idea that whole wheat bread is "good" and white bread is "bad' is just silly.  You are never going to get everything you need in your diet from a single food.  It's about combinations and moderation.  I asume you have something with your bread, no?

thhq
Mar 24 2011 00:45
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Yeah, I forgot. What's San Francisco without sourdough?

I did that in college for a while until my sister accidentally used up my starter by making it into pancakes.

I have my very own home caught sf sourdough, and it eats whole grain spelt flour, and I make excellent whole wheat sourdough. Just saying, sourdough can be whole wheat. (and sourdough waffles, and english muffins and mmmm)

All I know, is that when I eliminated white flour- pasta, white bread, rice, etc, my stomach pouch completely disappeared. So thats my opinion on it,

Original Post by finchcat:

I have my very own home caught sf sourdough, and it eats whole grain spelt flour, and I make excellent whole wheat sourdough. Just saying, sourdough can be whole wheat. (and sourdough waffles, and english muffins and mmmm)

I bet it's absolutely delicious, too.  It's quite the craft, to do your own wild-caught starters.  I love BISCUITS made with leftover starter.

I love baking breads, but unfortunately cannot eat a lot due to gluten intolerance (celiac). However, avoiding it at all times is impossible. So, I do eat small amounts.

However, my sourdough starter contains about 60% of whole grain barley flour (lots of bran), 20% of whole wheat flour and the rest is usually white flour, and even if I make a bread with white flour, it is never completely white due to high content of whole grain flour. 

and to answer the question, if you tolerate white bread, good for you! as long as your intake is moderate i don't see any harm. 

you can always add some extra fibers to your diet in a form of kefir+bran with some mashed banana... mmmm... Tongue out

I have a friend who's never been diagnosed with an intolerance, but avoids gluten and still eats junk. I know that's not what you're talking about but I think a lot of people think they have some sort of fake intolerance, when really, they aren't eating enough whole grains/natural foods.

I eat white bread rolls when out to dinner, but I have noticed that when I cut back on white and eat wheat, my stomach problems have diminished. When it comes to white or wheat pasta, I avoid white pasta because I feel like a have a bowling ball in my stomach for days (even though I eat enough fiber).

So, it depends on your health and your bodies reactions to the foods. In the long-term, I would say sticking to the least processed foods would be the most beneficial to me.

I have an intolerance to whole wheat bread, so i buy the pepperidge farm whole grain white deli flats. The nutritional benefits is better than Arnold bread thins.

 

http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/ProductDetail.a spx?catID=994&prdID=120936

vs.

http://www.arnoldbakery.com/Thins/Description Product.aspx?sSku=7341011617

mjsophia said: I think a lot of people think they have some sort of fake intolerance, when really, they aren't eating enough whole grains/natural foods"

I had problems with my stomack regardless of what I ate (because so many ordinary foods contain gluten) since I was a kid. In my case it is official. I had a blood test (two antibodies), i get a specific dermatitis when I eat gluten, and most importantly I had my three biopsies (first one, then the second one after six months withuot eating gluten to see if the biopsy result gets better, and then the third biopsy two months later after eating gluten again) that confirmed my celiac disease (ten years ago).

Come on, even my health insurance covers 90% of the cost of special gluten-free bread mixtures. I just don't like that "unnatural" sort of bread (look at the ingredients of such mixture, and you'll understand).

However, I just can't live without ANY of the grains with gluten. But I can control the amount I take (the amount that does not cause me a lot of problems). For example, I might have a slice of bread today, but I won't take it tomorrow. If I have two beers today (I don't like stronger liquors), it's a harsh reality that I must not eat any gluten for days after that.

However. my family can eat as much of my home-made breads as they want, and it does not influence their health (in our family, there's no diabetes or any other sort of life-threatening disease that can be related to bad food choices).

Regarding processed food... well, it's another story... we don't eat out, we buy zero snacks from the store (it's not forbidden, but home-made ones are much tastier). so, healthy home-prepared food is our way of life and we just cannot imagine it otherwise.    

 

 

Original Post by d1018:

mjsophia said: I think a lot of people think they have some sort of fake intolerance, when really, they aren't eating enough whole grains/natural foods"

I had problems with my stomack regardless of what I ate (because so many ordinary foods contain gluten) since I was a kid. In my case it is official. I had a blood test (two antibodies), i get a specific dermatitis when I eat gluten, and most importantly I had my three biopsies (first one, then the second one after six months withuot eating gluten to see if the biopsy result gets better, and then the third biopsy two months later after eating gluten again) that confirmed my celiac disease (ten years ago).
You obviously have an intolerance, but it really is not as common as people think.  My friend was tested and her results were negative. She has a fake intolerance to gluten and is wasting money buying gluten free items, when she could probably benefit from eating better in general.
Original Post by d1018:

mjsophia said: I think a lot of people think they have some sort of fake intolerance, when really, they aren't eating enough whole grains/natural foods"

I had problems with my stomack regardless of what I ate (because so many ordinary foods contain gluten) since I was a kid. In my case it is official. I had a blood test (two antibodies), i get a specific dermatitis when I eat gluten, and most importantly I had my three biopsies (first one, then the second one after six months withuot eating gluten to see if the biopsy result gets better, and then the third biopsy two months later after eating gluten again) that confirmed my celiac disease (ten years ago).

Come on, even my health insurance covers 90% of the cost of special gluten-free bread mixtures. I just don't like that "unnatural" sort of bread (look at the ingredients of such mixture, and you'll understand).

However, I just can't live without ANY of the grains with gluten. But I can control the amount I take (the amount that does not cause me a lot of problems). For example, I might have a slice of bread today, but I won't take it tomorrow. If I have two beers today (I don't like stronger liquors), it's a harsh reality that I must not eat any gluten for days after that.

However. my family can eat as much of my home-made breads as they want, and it does not influence their health (in our family, there's no diabetes or any other sort of life-threatening disease that can be related to bad food choices).

Regarding processed food... well, it's another story... we don't eat out, we buy zero snacks from the store (it's not forbidden, but home-made ones are much tastier). so, healthy home-prepared food is our way of life and we just cannot imagine it otherwise.    

 

 

I don't mean to pick on you or your diet -- dealing with dietary restrictions is hard-- but you may want to rethink that occasional slice of bread. You may have found a balance that allows you to enjoy gluten in moderation without experiencing obvious physical symptoms, but your body is still going to be reacting to it, even if you don't necessarily notice the effects. One of the things about CD is that, unlike an intolerance such as lactose or fructose intolerance, it's caused by an autoimmune reaction. Basically, your body begins to attack itself when it detects gluten in your system, and this causes a fair bit of damage to your intestines over time (which is why many Celiac sufferers present with malnutrition: their body isn't properly absorbing the food it's getting). As long as you eat gluten, that damage continues to occur, even if you're not eating enough to trigger the more noticeable unpleasant gastro-intestinal symptoms.

I find that if I eat white bread or other refined white sugars I get really hungry and eat a lot more than if I eat clean. For me, it is a lot easier to stay on calorie restriction without bread.

If you can keep to your goals and still eat white bread then well done. I say go for it!

Original Post by emsaurus:

I don't mean to pick on you or your diet -- dealing with dietary restrictions is hard-- but you may want to rethink that occasional slice of bread. You may have found a balance that allows you to enjoy gluten in moderation without experiencing obvious physical symptoms, but your body is still going to be reacting to it, even if you don't necessarily notice the effects. One of the things about CD is that, unlike an intolerance such as lactose or fructose intolerance, it's caused by an autoimmune reaction. Basically, your body begins to attack itself when it detects gluten in your system, and this causes a fair bit of damage to your intestines over time (which is why many Celiac sufferers present with malnutrition: their body isn't properly absorbing the food it's getting). As long as you eat gluten, that damage continues to occur, even if you're not eating enough to trigger the more noticeable unpleasant gastro-intestinal symptoms.

I concur. Even if you don't have any noticeable gastrointestinal symptoms, you may be doing yourself more damage in the long run. Some  studies have shown that you may be increasing your chances of colon cancer if you "cheat" by eating gluten. You are also increasing your risk of more autoimmune disorders by aggravating the one you already have.

Even though I've never been officially diagnosed with CD, I can't even eat quaker's grits because of the cross contamination with wheat. I'm that sensitive. I classify myself as having an intolerance. It is highly probable that I do have CD because my dad has it and I had all the symptoms excepting the rapid weight loss (until a month before I quit gluten). Once I quit it completely, I felt 100% better almost immediately (within a week or two) and I've continued to recover even more to the point where I've started training to run a 5k. The reason I don't have an "official" diagnosis is because I won't put myself through a month of "heck" just to see if the antibodies show up on the blood test this time around. My doctor just did the blood test and then ignored my requests for further tests the first time around so I self medicated by going on the diet. I'm not EVER going back to gluten.

It has also made it possible for me to lose weight. Once I had the fortitude to completely cut gluten from my diet it only took a little more to eat right and then to count/cut my calories. Because of my diet, I can't pig out on the cake/brownies/doughnuts/etc that people bring in the office. I also have to pack my own food which helps a lot!

I use King Arthur White Whole Wheat and find it to be as good (to me anyway) as white flour.  Also, when I make bread...even with the White Whole Wheat, I add milled flax seeds, oatmeal, and very finely milled Fiber One cereal.  The result is a darker, more nutritious bread with a great texture. I also use Olive Oil...and no more than I can get away with.  My artisan breads are attractive, nutritious, very healthy, and high in fiber such that just a slice or two at the most is all you want!  I don't use "white" anything anymore...flour, rice, sugar, nothing!  I feel better than I have in years (I'm 63), I've lost 15 pounds (down to 170 now) and have no desire to go back to refined foods, fluff, and junk.  You get used to what you are exposed to.  Keep on eating the healthy stuff and it will soon be what you prefer!  Just a case of mind over mouth, I think.  Enjoy life while you can....you'll never get out alive anyway.  

Emsaurus wrote: your body is still going to be reacting to it, even if you don't
necessarily notice the effects.

I know. But I do trust my doc(specialized in gastroenterology and nutrition) who tells me that it’s fine to eat small amounts of food with gluten. That way the body has to learn to deal with it (by speeding up the regeneration of intestines). Otherwise, the autoimmune reaction that I might have, after cutting out gluten completely for prolonged time, might be devastating if I accidentally take food with gluten. This way, the body is much more ready to recover after the eventual big shock. I know this is not a good example, but let’s say you were allergic to pollen. If you keep constantly exposing yourself to it, the big exposure will have much milder effect than if you keep yourself indoors for two springs, and during the third year you go and have a picnic in the park. Right?

Raebies wrote: My doctor just did the blood test and then ignored my requests for further tests the first time around so I self medicated by going on the diet. I'm not EVER going back to gluten.

Please go to the specialized doc and DO all the tests. Otherwise, making such a life-changing and so definitive decision, to cut out gluten completely, is too drastic. It’s much more serious than becoming a vegetarian.

Jdanddad wrote: You get used to what you are exposed to. Keep on eating the healthy stuff and it will soon be what you prefer!

I couldn't agree more. I live in the only capital in Europe (which was once even the host of the Olympic Games) that does not have MacD, BK and/or KFC. And we are somewhat proud of it! Let’s hope it stays that way… Cool

 

 

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