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Dear Dr. Meinig: I am having a hard time getting my family to give up white bread and other white flour products. I have even told them they use bleach to make it whiter. Can you say anything that might get them to change to whole grain products? –R. E.
Dear R. E.: The bleaching of flour has been goIng on since 1920, when the chemIcal Agene (nitrogen trichloride) was introduced. The British Ministry of Health in 1927 recommended that its use be dIscontinued, but nothing was done. Quite some time later, it was found that dogs fed bread containIng Agene developed running epileptic type fits. After tests in the U.S. confirmed this fact, Agene was finally discontinued in 1949, but it took six more years for the British to ban its use.
Bleaching was done at first to make refined white flour whiter in order to sell the public on the idea that white flour products were purer and more attractive than those that were made from whole grain. Manufacturers were fully aware that the main reason for the extensive milling refining process was to provide a flour product that could be stored for much longer periods. They soon found that the bleaching of it, because it made the flour sterile, prevented it from souring and made it unattractive to weevil infestation, [and] also extended the storage time for an even longer period of lime.
After Agene was banned, several chemical compounds such as: chlorIne diozide (known to destroy vitamin E), oxides of nitrogen, nitrosyl chloride, and chlorine dioxide were used. The reason these chemicals contributed to the longer shelf life was their destruction of the oils contained in grain. In losing these oils people are further deprived of essential health ingredients.
The seriousness of these charges about the detriments of the refinIng of grain became an obvious concern to the government during World War II when so many of our supposedly healthy young men couldn’t pass the simple, easy physical exam for military draft purposes.
ThIs led the government to force manufacturers to “enrich” the flour with a small amount of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and some calcium and iron. That term “enriched” has successfully fooled the public into believing the product is wholesome and satisfactory.
Just imagine, if a holdup man were to rob you of a hundred dollars and your car, and then gave you fifty cents for bus fare, would you say that you had been enriched?
The refining steals from the grains over two-thirds of their original number of vitamins and minerals and the amount put back during the so-called enrichment process is only an infinitesimal part of what was stolen.
In all the time that has elapsed since these processes have been adopted, the original reasons for their use has been buried and forgotten and the flour millers and bakers now claim that the adding of the vitamins and minerals was their idea. They have the gall to brag to the public that these severely nutrient-deficient products are great foods. If that isn’t bad enough, they even have the audacity to claim that white bread is equal to whole wheat.
In spite of all that is known and has been published about how harmful to health is the use of white flour products, it is unbelievably shocking how many people ignore the evidence.
If your family could but see just a few of the 100,000 photographs that so clearly show the numerous degenerative conditions that occurred to every one of 14 races of primitives when they switched from their cultural, native diets to the use of white flour and sugar, your children would have no difficulty in stoppIng their eating of these two grossly nutrient-deficient foods.
Please be aware that the purchases you make must be labeled “100 percent whole wheat,” as those marked “made from whole wheat” are mostly bleached white flour with coloring matter added to make it look like the real thing. An early nutritionist, whose name now escapes me, made a statement years and years ago that is a most fitting declaration…”The whiter the bread, the quicker you’re dead.”