Mailbag! The Nasty Secret Hiding in Your Flour
Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
You’ve got questions…
We’ve got answers!
Today, we are going to address a popular reader question — which is better for you, wheat flour or almond flour?
Join us today to discover how these two popular baking essentials compare nutritionally.
Let’s get started…
I recently bought a Paleo cookbook that uses lots of almond flour for baked goods. I’m all for going low carb but am concerned that almond flour isn’t that good for me, since it isn’t enriched with vitamins and minerals like most wheat flours are. Do you know which one has more vitamins and minerals?
Excellent question, Julie.
To get the complete nutritional picture of these flours, you need to understand how they’re made.
Almond flour is made in one simple step — grinding blanched almonds into a powder.
Enriched wheat flour, on the other hand, requires several steps and a handful of nasty chemicals to make.
First, the bran and germ of the wheat seed are removed. These parts naturally contain fiber, B vitamins, minerals, protein and fat. However, they are separated from the grains so that the remaining part, the endosperm, can be ground into a fine powder.
Next, the wheat powder is bleached with chlorine or benzoyl peroxide (bet you didn’t know you were eating that) to give the flour a lighter color, which strips a majority of the remaining nutrients from the endosperm.
Then the manufacturers try to add some of the stripped-out nutrients, like B vitamins, folate and some minerals, back in chemically. Wheat flour is barely a natural product at all… it’s more like something created in a lab.
Additionally, some wheat flours contain the herbicide Roundup, which has been linked to cancer. This powerful chemical is often used to dry grains like wheat and can leave behind a residue, which could end up in your cupcakes.
One thing is clear here: Enriched flour is the product of excessive chemical processing, whereas almond flour is not.
So off the bat, almond flour is a better nutritional choice since it starts with a whole food, not processed with chemicals or stripped of its naturally occurring nutrients.
Even better, almonds are jampacked with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.
Cup for cup, almond flour has higher levels of vitamin E, vitamin B2, choline, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese than enriched wheat flour, with just a fraction of the carbs.
Enriched wheat flour does have higher levels of folate and vitamin B1 than almond flour, but those can easily be made up by simply eating fresh fruits and veggies.
After looking at the whole picture, almond flour is the clear winner if you want a nutritious, minimally processed, low-carb baking flour.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
Written By Natalie Moore
Natalie Moore is a dedicated health researcher with a passion for finding healthy, natural, and science-based solutions. After a decade of direct healthcare experience in western and natural medicine, she was involved in public health research before joining Living Well Daily.
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