Three surprising facts about wheat
The inside scoop on nutrition
Is the wheat we eat today as nutritious as what we ate a hundred years ago? Is wheat grown in Canada GMO? What’s the difference between whole grain and whole wheat flour?
To celebrate Nutrition Month this March, we’re sharing three nutrition facts you need to know about wheat.
Fact #1: Different flours provide a variety of essential nutrients
Whole grain flour vs. whole wheat flour vs. white flour – what’s the difference? Incorporating a variety of flours in your diet will provide you with the best opportunity of getting the right mix of nutrients your body needs. These flours are used for products such as bread, crackers, pasta and more, so when choosing at the grocery store, keep in mind these differences:
Whole grain flour: The entire wheat kernel is used in this flour, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Whole grain flour is a great source of minerals, vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.
Whole wheat flour: During processing, whole wheat flour loses about five per cent of the grain kernel, leaving only some of the bran and germ. Whole wheat flour is high in fibre and minerals like potassium, zinc and phosphorus.
Refined wheat flour: Commonly referred to as “white” or “all-purpose” flour, refined wheat flour does not contain a high amount of the bran or germ, but rather is left with the endosperm when refined. All-purpose flour is enriched with vitamins like iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid.
Including products made from a variety of flours in your diet is recommended by the Canada Food Guide to ensure you are getting a balance of the benefits provided by each.
Fact #2: The wheat we eat today is as nutritious as our ancestors’
Recent research has determined that the nutritional makeup of wheat varieties grown today aren’t much different to the wheat grown over 100 years ago, like Red Fife. Red Fife had its start in Canada in 1842 as the bread wheat variety that Dave Fife and his family grew in Peterborough, Ont. Red Fife was gradually phased out to make way for improved wheat varieties that were more resistant to pests and diseases.
Still, research has found that the nutritional composition of these modern wheat varieties to be very similar to those grown more than a century ago. Modern wheat varieties are important to our food system because they contain elements like pest resistance that ensure higher yields – more bread for all!
Fact #3: Wheat is always non-GMO
Labelling on food can be daunting if you’re not sure what you’re looking at. What even is a “GMO”?
A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism that has had its genetic material altered through genetic engineering. This is done in agriculture to make crops more resistant to certain pests or herbicides, allowing for less insecticide use and making weed management easier to help farmers grow their crops more efficiently.
It’s important to note that there are currently no genetically modified wheat varieties grown in Canada or the rest of the world. So, if you see a non-GMO label on a wheat flour, you can be assured that no other wheat flours on the shelf are genetically modified either.
Keep these points in mind the next time you’re searching for (or making!) that perfect loaf of bread. Happy Nutrition Month!