Why Flour is Secretly Killing You
Flour is one of those ingredients that just seems to be in everything, and yet we’re constantly warned not to eat too much of it. If you like baking, or eating cakes and cookies, you might be wondering why exactly it is that flour is so bad for you.
Well, we’re here to help, let us tell you exactly why you shouldn’t be eating too much of the powdery stuff.
As with everything else in your diet, flour comes down to nutritional value. As it happens, flour is pretty highly calorific, with a cup of flour giving you around 450 calories. It is pretty low fat, but the problem is that most of those calories are coming from carbohydrates.
Your body needs carbs, they act as fuel to give you energy. And if you’re burning all that fuel, it’s fine, no problem. But if you’re not burning the fuel, then it’s going to get turned into fat inside your body, which is basically why flour is bad for you.
Having some flour is fine, as long as you’re active and burning up those carbohydrates having a little flour is perfectly okay. It’s when you eat too much, or when you’re not active enough to use all the carbs, that’s when the problem begins.
Is There Anything Good about Flour?
Sure, as with most things, it’s a balance. Eating whole wheat flour can be an excellent way to get fibre into your diet. Flour also contains a fair amount of protein, which is necessary for cell growth and repair, and will help you feel fuller and reduce cravings and snacking.
All kinds of flour are rich in B1, or thiamin. Whole wheat and rye flours contain vitamins E and K, as well as riboflavin, niacin, manganese and selenium. Most flours have plenty of calcium, iron and copper.
Not everything about flour is bad, but because it is so high calorie (or high carb, depending on how you like to see it), you have to be careful to balance out the good things with the bad.
Getting all those vitamins and minerals is great and good for you, getting them all plus a few hundred calories may not be so great, particularly if you’re getting good vitamin nutrition from other foods that you’re eating.
Is One Kind of Flour Better than Another?
Yes, in a way. There are three common types of flour that most people use. The first two are both white flours, which comes bleached or unbleached. Bleached white flour has the disadvantage of having chemicals such as chlorine in it, used to make the flour seem whiter, which makes it seem a bad decision.
However, unbleached flour also has its disadvantages. Chlorine acts as a preservative, so unbleached flour doesn’t last as long in your cupboard, for example. One big disadvantage of both kinds of white flour is that they tend to be nutritionally less advantageous than the other common kind of flour, whole wheat flour.[frame align=”center”][/frame]
Because whole wheat flour is less processed and contains the outer shell of the wheat it has more fibre and more vitamins and minerals than both types of white flour. That makes whole wheat flour a much better and healthier choice than bleached or unbleached white flour.
So I Can Eat a Little Flour?
Yes, a little is fine. And by itself, flour really isn’t that terrible. The main problem with flour is that it tends to be used in products that are bad for you, such as cakes and cookies.
Using a tablespoon of flour to coat meat before cooking, for example, is fine. Using three cups of white flour to bake a cake that is also full of sugar is not fine.
In fact, it is very difficult to avoid flour altogether, as it’s present in many foods. So eating a little is okay. Just choose whole wheat flour if you can, and be careful not to over consume.