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Welcome to the Greenwood.Net Curiosity Corner

Whole Wheat

Jul 24, 2017

The Whole Truth on Whole Wheat July 28, 2017

Curiosity Corner
Dr. Jerry D. Wilson
Emeritus Professor of Physics
Lander University

QUESTION: What is whole wheat bread? Isn’t the regular white bread made from wheat? (Asked by a curious column-reader.)

REPLY: “Would you like that on white or whole wheat?” Whole wheat is just what it says it is – flour made from the whole wheat kernel. That is, you make whole wheat bread using flour milled from the whole wheat. The hull, or outer layer, is removed to make white flour and white bread, and in doing so you lose some B vitamins and iron.

However, white flour has an advantage, too, namely calcium. Of course, whole wheat has the same calcium, but whole wheat flour has a component that binds up the calcium, making it harder to be absorbed in the digestive process. A main advantage to whole wheat flour is fiber, which is nondigestible. We need fiber in our diet to add bulk, which is reported to reduce the occurrence of colon cancer and other problems.

For many years, the nondigestible wheat hull was thrown away because people liked or preferred white bread, even though it was more costly. Then in the 1800s, Sylvester Graham, a Presbyterian minister, wrote a paper in which he denounced white bread as being unnatural. Wheat should be used as God had made it – the whole thing. Graham said whole wheat was better for our health, and he was right, in part, even though he probably didn’t know about the benefits of fiber in the diet. The darker, whole wheat flour was called “graham flour.” And, the reverend got another honor – they named a cracker after him.

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): “I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.” —Shirley Temple

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, College of Science and Mathematics, Lander University, Greenwood, SC 29649, or email jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. For Curiosity Corner background, go to www.curiosity-corner.net.

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