What does "enriched" mean? Enriched flour is flour in which most of the natural vitamins and minerals have been extracted. This is done in order to give bread a finer texture, increase shelf life and prevent bugs from eating it (bugs will die if they attempt to live off it).
Why is enriched flour bad? When the bran and the germ (the parts of the wheat that contain vitamins and minerals) are removed, your body absorbs wheat differently. Instead of being a slow, steady process through which you get steady bursts of energy, your body breaks down enriched flour too quickly, flooding the blood stream with too much sugar at once. Your body then has to work hard to absorb the excess and stores it as fat. This causes quick highs and lows in your blood-sugar level which can lead to type-two diabetes and obesity. All this and you’re not even getting close to the amount of nutrients that whole grains contain.
Whole grains Whole grains are richer in dietary fiber, antioxidants, protein (and in particular the amino acid lysine), dietary minerals (including magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and selenium), and vitamins (including niacin, vitamin B6, and vitamin E).
Health benefits By eating whole grains you reduce the risk of some forms of cancer, digestive system diseases, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Don’t be fooled There are many products that seem healthy on the front but in reality they are not. If the bread you are buying says “soft wheat” or “multi-grain” make sure you still read the ingredients. Most of these breads are primarily made with enriched flour. Even if the word “enriched” is not there, if it does not say “whole” then it’s the same junk. Don’t get fooled by color either. Even if it’s brown, unbleached wheat flour is still missing the bran and the germ that contain essential nutrients as well as the fiber that aids digestion.
Look for products that say 100% whole wheat.
Foods that commonly contain enriched flour Bread Pasta Chicken nuggets (breaded) Pizza Pie crust Crackers Cake Cookies Brownies Pretzels Donuts