Does flour go bad is a very pertinent question; yes, it certainly does.
This page was last updated by Dr Barrie Lewis on 18th January, 2019.
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, yes it certainly does though keeping it in the freezer gives some protection.
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; remove it and you have the answer to the question does flour go bad. Yes, it certainly does.
The upper part in the graphic above is 100% wholemeal; the lower half is described as wholewheat on the bag but as you can see is a very different kettle of fish.
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.
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.
Freezing your wholewheat 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; there's nothing to go bad.
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. Does flour go bad is one part of the story.
Lignans are found in large amounts in whole grains and seeds. White flour has none, they go as a wastage product to animal feed.
100% 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. I would assume so as you'll find the sesame seeds once hulled in the freezer in shops.
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 its 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.
What is betaine is a subject we should all have some understanding of if we have angry, inflamed bodies.
It's indisputable now that women for go on to hormone replacement therapy 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. Again the dilemma lies in the question does flour go bad; remove the bran, vitamin E and fatty fraction and the risk of CA rises sharply.
This is particularly true of Combi HRT which contains oestrogen and progestin; never use it except in extreme circumstances, and make sure you are getting plenty of fibre in your diet.
An electric wheat mill 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, but gives us nutritionless, tasteless bread; worse, in order to make it edible we have to smother it in processed meat polonies and hams; that means a high risk of cancer.
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; it's all in the scientific literature. If you're still unconvinced on the value of an electric flour mill and the five minutes you will have to spend baking your own bread every day, then read more at heart stroke diabetes.
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 if kept on the shelf, 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 of the refined stuff in three months. I like it in the batter for my fried eggplant, and she bakes cakes and scones very occasionally. One doesn't want to become a nutcase, but these things are important.
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 purchase three 50kg sacks of whole grain wheat directly from the farmer every year.
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. Still, a life without medication is our dictum.
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.
Choline and chiropractic surprisingly are synergistic subjects; they are both in the business of reducing inflammation in the body. It's a central subject in answering the question does flour go bad.
Choline is now recognised as a B vitamin that your body cannot synthesize and you must have daily in your diet for optimal health. It has many functions but one is the synthesis of an enzyme vitally important for methylation of a very inflammatory breakdown product of protein metabolism called homocysteine. It's central in many illnesses including Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease.
100% whole wheat is an excellent source of choline but most of it is in the bran and germ; once it's refined it has little value to us. The hogs get the benefit.
The average Western diet has less than 50% of the required choline; it's one of the main reasons why there is so much inflammation in our joints, muscles and organs; hence our interest as chiropractors.
Your chiropractor can reduce the subluxation of your joints, a major cause of generative arthritis, but it's your responsibility to make sure your homocysteine levels are kept low by consuming foods rich in the B vitamins; there's more information at choline food sources.