Does flour go bad?

Does flour go bad is a very pertinent question; yes, it certainly does.

One hundred percent whole wheat contains a huge number of vital vitamins, minerals and fat. Once the kernel is cracked and air can get to these components, oxidation begins; in short, it goes rancid, and relatively quickly.

The food manufacturing industry's solution is simple; remove these substances. So most wheat foods are either 100 percent extraction which means that all the bran and wheat germ are removed, and it's often then also bleached to make it super white; perfect for the uninformed housewife.

Or, 60% percent extraction flour is used, meaning that 40% of the goodies have been removed. In practice that means that over half of the B vitamins and minerals are lost; interestingly, they go to animal food where it's described as a "wastage product" of the milling industry.

So too the bran is removed; it's the insoluble fibre that gives the stool bulk, making it easy to pass. Whilst I don't believe in adding extra bran to our food, the natural bran in one hundred percent whole wheat has been shown in research published in the journal Diabetes Care to greatly reduce metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.

In short, even the most common whole wheat foods, having in reality less than 50% of the real stuff, are denatured, dangerous and fattening.

Does flour go bad?

It's the oils in the wheat germ that go rancid; in nature, and in our bodies, these fats are protected against the air by an anti oxidant called vitamin E.

When these rancid and oxidised oils enter the body, their toxic waste products attack the inner lining, or intima, of our blood vessels causing a disease process called atherosclerosis that progresses to high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Therein we sit on the horns of a dilemma; we buy and use one hundred percent whole wheat flour that was milled certainly weeks and perhaps months previously, but it's now loaded with the oxidised breakdown products of fats going rancid.

Or we eat refined flour that has much of the valuable part removed.

The solution comes in two parts.

  1. Find a source of recently milled flour, and insist on one hundred percent whole wheat.
  2. Accept that we are no longer going to use refined, bleached white flour in our cooking, at least not in major proportions.

Neither of these may be palatable to us; then we have to accept a certain future of high blood pressure and heart disease, and the growing incidence of diabetes in our world.

Freeze your wholewheat flour

Freezing your flour in an airtight container certainly helps; the whole oxidative process is slowed. Refined white flour has no nutrients, other than starch, so there's no point in keep it in the fridge.


Lignans are a phytochemical that have a structure similar to oestrogen; they are broken down in the bowel to form a compound called enterodiol that research has proved gives protection against many cancers, including the breast and prostate.

Lignans are found in large amounts in whole grains and seeds. White flour has none, they go as wastage product to animal feed.

Whole wheat and sesame and flax seeds have large amounts of lignans.

I'm uncertain if they too go bad; more study required, Dr B.

Inflammation is another area of great interest to chiropractors and their patients. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, proved that apparently healthy individuals eating a diet low in choline and it's breakdown product betaine had 20% more low grade systemic inflammation in their bodies. 

They are found in eggs, tofu, wholewheat, spinach, beetroot and swiss chard.

Less low grade systemic inflammation translates into less back pain, fewer headaches and a lower level of inflamed blood vessels.

If you're interested read the abstract at AJCN nutrition 87/2/424.

Hormone replacement therapy

It's indisputable now that women for go on to HRT have a much higher incidence of breast and uterine cancer. Interestingly, these women, if they enjoy high fibre diets, especially from grains and fruit, have a fifty percent reduced rate of breast cancer, when compared with those who ate the least fibre.

Wheat grinder

A wheat grinder is the answer to the question does flour go bad.

Yes, healthy flour certainly has a shelf life, unlike the refined product that keeps for ever.

I could go on ad nauseum about the proven benefits of 100% whole wheat on gallstones, obesity, constipation, asthma, diabetes and a host of other diseases.

Rather than suffer from these maladies, we decided to make the considerable investment in a wheat grinder, to purchase whole wheat grains and daily grind flour that would go bad, except that it is immediately used.

That decision meant also a conscious decision to reduce our white flour consumption; my wife tells me that we have used one and half pounds in three months.

Compare that with 3/4 pound of whole wheat flour in each loaf of low GI bread that I bake daily. That's 70 pounds in three months.

We bought the grinder twenty years ago; it's definitely paid for itself many times over. Neither of us take any drugs or have any health issues, in our late sixties; but that's an anecdote of course of no real value.

Antioxidant vitamin E

Does flour go bad and antioxidant vitamin E are fundamentally linked.

Antioxidant vitamin E is found in eight different isomers, all of which are important in human health. In this instance it's these properties that are so important in helping prevent flour from going bad.

In the refining process both the germ, including vitamin E and fatty acids, and the bran is removed. Isn't it odd that weevils have no interest in refined flour, and it has an indefinite shelf life? All the goodness is gone, either added to animal fodder or turned into expensive bran and softgel capsules and sold back to us at great profit.

Useful links @ Does flour go bad?

› Does flour go bad?

Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.

Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.