So this week I have been wondering about my family’s intake of white flour. I know that it is not great as it is highly processed and all the ‘goodness’ has been taken out of it. BUT…. was this another thing that I needed to give up? Is it really that bad for us? Is it something that needs to be given up or reduced? If given up, what do I substitute it with? Onto the internet I go to look for some wise words.
I have spent a lot of time in google land reading both pros and cons about white flour and simple carbohydrates and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t think there is really a clear message out there. So, as many of you would know from my previous blogs, I have 3 favourite authors that I usually turn to for advice – Sarah Wilson, Damon Gameau and David Gillespie. Although they haven’t specifically written about flour, here is what each of them say about white bread and simple carbohydrates :-
Generally speaking, breads are pretty low in sugar (except fruit breads and brioche), so are fine to continue to eat when you quit sugar, but just like any food, there are some better bread options out there.
Hot Tip: When buying store-bought bread look for loaves that have 4g/100g sugar or less.
- Sourdough: a fermented dough that research shows is beneficial to blood sugar levels.
- Rye: retains most of the bran and germ of the rye grain, has a higher fibre content than many other breads and is also a good source of minerals such as magnesium and protein.
- Wholemeal: retains the nutrients and healthy plant compounds found naturally in the wholegrain.
- Spelt: an ancient grain that has a nutty taste. It is a relative of wheat but many people find it much easier to digest.
DAMON GAMEAU –
It is the TYPE of carbohydrate, not the amount of carbohydrate we need be concerned with. Therefore, get a majority of your carbohydrate fix through vegetable, fruit and some whole grains. Sure, there may be some simple sugars in there, but these are packed in with fibre to slow the release of glucose into the blood stream, and mitigate the extreme reaction of the pancreas to pump out huge amounts of insulin.
This is a table that Damon includes to help show the better choice of carbohydrates
|Positive||Complex carbohydratesVegetables (including starches)
Beans and legumes
Whole grains – Barley, Whole wheat, wheat berries, Millet, Buckwheat, Spelt, Oats, Amaranth, Quinoa and Rice (brown, basmati, wild)
|Not so positive||Simple carbohydratesProcessed and refined versions of:
· White flour
· White sugar
Foods containing these include pastries, lollies, soft drinks, crisps.
I have found it hard to find information from David about his opinions on simple carbohydrates. But from looking and using many of his recipes, I’ve noticed that he uses a lot of white flour. David shares on his website how much sugar , a chart explained below-
The chart compares the fructose percentage with the fibre in most popular breads. All breads contain some levels of sugar. But all of the standard unflavoured white breads will lie somewhere between half a percent and 4 percent sugar (2 percent fructose). This is about half the best fruit (Kiwi Fruit) and with equivalent amounts of fibre.
So what I think my action plan to help cut down on white flour will be –
- I will try to cut down on using as much white flour in my general baking and have a go at supplementing it with wholemeal flour and almond meal;
- I will in have a go at making my family zucchini pasta;
- I will try and make some bread out of wholemeal flour
- I will try and make my own ‘no knead’ bread. Here is the recipe of the no knead bread. I know it still uses white flour but it is more a sourdough bread. Recipe and pictures from http://www.simplysogood.com/2013/03/artisan-no-knead-bread.html (there is also a video link)
You will need:
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon instant or rapid rise yeast
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Once the oven has heated to 220 degrees put your pots with the lids into the oven to preheat for 30 minutes
Gently form the sticky mass of dough into a round ball
Place the lid on the pot.
Bake covered for 30 minutes.
Bake an additional 15 minutes with the lid OFF.