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Flour and Nutrient

Flour Nutritional Profile

Flour Nutritional Profile
Energy value (calories per serving): High
Protein: Moderate

Fat: Low
Saturated fat: Low

Cholesterol: None

Carbohydrates: High

Fiber: Low to high
Sodium: Low (except self-rising flour)
Major vitamin contribution: B vitamins
Major mineral contribution: Iron

About the Nutrients in Flour
Flour is the primary source of the carbohydrates (starch and fiber) in bread, pasta, and baked goods. All wheat and rye flours also provide some of the food fibers, including pectins, gums, and cellulose. Flour also contains significant amounts of protein but, like other plant foods, its proteins are "incomplete" because they are deficient in the essential amino acid lysine. The fat in the wheat germ is primarily polyunsaturated; flour contains no cholesterol. Flour is a good source of iron and the B vitamins. Iodine and iodophors used to clean the equipment in grain-processing plants may add iodine to the flour.

In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration ordered food manufacturers to add folates—which protect against birth defects of the spinal cord and against heart disease—to flour, rice, and other grain products. One year later, data from the Framingham Heart Study, which has followed heart health among residents of a Boston suburb for nearly half a century, showed a dramatic increase in blood levels of folic acid. Before the fortification of foods, 22 percent of the study participants had a folic acid deficiency; after, the number fell to 2 percent.

Whole grain flour, like other grain products, contains phytic acid, an antinutrient that binds calcium, iron, and zinc ions into insoluble compounds your body cannot absorb. This has no practical effect so long as your diet includes foods that provide these minerals.


The Most Nutritious Way to Serve with Flour
With beans or a "complete" protein food (meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, cheese) to provide the essential amino acid lysine, in which wheat and rye flours are deficient.

Diets That May Restrict or Exclude Flour
Low-calcium diet (whole grain and self-rising flours)

Low-fiber diet (whole wheat flours)
Low-gluten diet (all wheat and rye flour)
Sucrose-free diet


Related Links

Types of Flour

Buying and Cooking with Flour

Medical Uses and Benefits of Flour

More Articles

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