Tag Archives: whole wheat vs white flour

What’s in white flour?

When you buy a bag of white flour at the supermarket, you are buying wheat flour that has been refined to remove the most nutritious part of the grain. Enriched white flours are fortified with 5 vitamins (iron, folate and 3 B vitamins). All those vitamins that aren’t fortified (and there are lots of them) are mostly missing in white flour.  The following chart shows just how much of the original nutrients in whole wheat are removed when its turned into the all purpose white, enriched, bleached flour we buy in the supermarket.

Chart of Nutrition Losses Incurred When Whole Wheat is Refined into White Flour

Nutrient% change
Fiber-75%
Calcium-56%
Magnesium-84%
Phosphorus-70%
Potasium-71%
Zinc-73%
Vitamin K-84%
Vitamin E-92%
Protein-22%
Copper-65%
Manganese-83%
Pantothenic Acid-27%
Selenium-45%

Data derived from USDA National Nutrient Database Release 26

As you can see, lots of vitamins and nutrients are lost when whole wheat is turned into the white flour we find everywhere.  March is National Nutrition Month.  This might be a good time to think about how much nutrition there is in that white flour we are eating.  Maybe even ponder it while eating a bowl of whole grain porridge!