Mysteries of Life-Part 13

 Greetings! In today’s class, we shall look into the controversy over white vs. whole grain. Furthermore, we shall see an object lesson, in light of the great controversy of the ages.

Vitamins Where? Natural or Synthetic?
Bread: “Enriched” or Naturally Rich?

The long-standing controversy over white vs. whole grain breadstuffs took a new turn during the second world war.
The functions of minerals and vitamins had become so well understood , and were known to be so important, that the advocates of white flour could no longer stand their ground. Consequently a wide-spread campaign was inaugurated to enrich the white flour by adding to it synthetic vitamins and one mineral. This was seen by the advocated of white flour as a way out of their dilemma.

Every argument used in favor of so-called enriched bread was an admission that the white bread, which has been popular so long, is a deficiency food. The enrichment program was a graceful, much belated retreat from the untenable position which the proponents of white bread tried so long and desperately to defend, even contending at times, that for human nutrition it was more healthful than bread made of the whole grain flour.

If it were not so serious a matter it would be a ludicrous spectacle,–the millers and bakers taking out the vitality of the wheat kernel, then admitting the robbery, and stingily restoring a portion of that which they have removed, and still trying to make us believe that it is “just as good” as the whole grain flour. Of course they must keep out of the flour the food elements which make it of interest to bugs and worms, (which elements are also good for humans), or they will lose money in handling it. For this reason we may be sure they will never restore the full original food value of the wheat; if they were to do so they might better cease robbing and restoring, and save two processes. Here is the story in brief.

The physical examination of the young men drafted into the U.S. army revealed conditions which were said to be “because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in their diet.”

These discoveries led the authorities to realize that they were confronted “with a nation-wide problem” which “affected every man, woman, and child in the country. If an answer to the problem was to follow, all interested agencies were aware of the fact that it must include a simple, direct approach through some item of daily food accepted and used at each meal by everyone.”

“Only by such procedure could every individual in the country have his average daily intake, particularly of the B vitamins and of iron, raised to the point where the nation’s ability to resist disease, and its vulnerability to getting a bad case of the ‘jitters,’ be noticeably improved.”

“It is an interesting fact that if everybody ate only whole wheat bread their daily intake of these same vitamins would approximate desired levels…If you eat enough whole wheat bread, your requirements of B vitamins and minerals would be pretty well taken care of.”

“The enrichment program rests upon the following basic considerations:
(1) Research has shown that many millions of Americans do not get, in the their ordinary diet, enough vitamins and minerals to maintain health and vigor.

(2) Since these elements are present in important amounts in natural whole wheat, flour is a logical carrier for them.

(3) Since bread is one of the most widely used and most economical of foods, enrichment of bread, makes additional vitamins and minerals available to the great mass of the population without upsetting their budgets, or their food preference, or eating habits.”

Therefore it was agreed that thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and iron be added to the white flour of which the bread of the nation would be made.

In the United States nation-wide publicity and advertising appeared in papers and magazines of all kinds, informing the public of the benefits they would receive from eating the new enriched white bread. It was even claimed by some writers that all the elements removed by milling and refining were restored by the enriching of the flour, and some extra. (This was not true.)

Nutritionists, great and small, dietitians, doctors, and editors, even, of some of the health magazines, hailed the plan as a lifesaver, and dinned into the ears of the public, young and old, that a wonderful advance step had been taken which would improve the health of all of the people.

Their efforts were two-fold. While they extolled white bread they spared no pains to attack and undermine the value of whole wheat bread as if it were their mortal enemy. Their arguments against the bread were:

(1) People do not like bread of a dark color but insist on having “white” bread. This was their leading and strongest point.
(2) It is too coarse and rough for the human digestive tract.

Their most caustic statements were not directed at the bread, but at its advocated, who, at the present time are called “faddists,” and Sylvester Graham after whole graham flour was named about one hundred years ago, was a “charlatan.”

When the enrichment plan was put into operation, rejoicing knew no bounds, and shouts of victory were sounded among the bakers.
It was declared that “a century of controversy between white bread and brown has come to a happy end in complete co-operation between nutritionists, government bureaucrats, flour millers and commercial bakers toward making white bread better by adding to it certain vitamins and minerals, deemed not to be essential to public health in the light of nutritional knowledge that had not illuminated the problem a generation ago.”

Widespread joy was revealed in statements like these: “Our white breads are now virtually equivalent in nutritive properties to 100 percent whole wheat.” 

Mind you, every word uttered and printed in favor of the “enriched”flour contradicted their former claims about the value of white flour, and yet, the same voices that sang the old song, vociferously took up the new song with lusty vigor.

However, warnings were sounded by certain scientists and by health education teachers here and there who dared brave the popular trend, and they continued to advocate, as of yore, the use of bread made of the old fashioned flour containing all of the wheat kernel.

Stubborn Facts

The enrichment program being followed adds thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and iron to the white flour, which are said to be “natural to the whole wheat.” This sounds very good, but here are some facts.

Whole wheat contains 10 to 12 vitamins from 50% to 95% of which are removed in milling. Enrichment returns only three of them. It also contains 15 to 20 minerals, depending upon the soil where it is grown, and the enriching calls only the restoration of part of the iron. 

There is still another serious failure in the enrichment plan. It is now understood that the protein of wheat germ is superior to the protein of meat, and that one ounce of it gives as much protein as two-thirds of an ounce of meat, or four ounces of milk. Two ounces daily will make meat, eggs, and milk unnecessary as source of protein. In making white-flour this germ is removed which seriously impairs the protein of the wheat. Enrichment does nothing to restore this loss.

And so the controversy continues, but the voices calling to the good old ways are almost drowned by the din of acclaim in favor of the wonderful “improved” flour.

In the United States since world war second the matter of bread enrichment is being left, since October 18, 1946, to the individual states, many of whom have adopted approximately the same plan as was enforced during the war.

One editor made this comment: “Converting wheat into flour usually involves the loss of certain vitamins. In an effort to replace them, vitamins are added to the flour, and the bread baked from it is called vitamin enriched; certainly a misnomer, which misleads the public. This bread, made of white flour, is not in reality enriched  at all, but has had added to it synthetic vitamins, the value of which in comparison with those manufactured by Mother Nature is still a moot question. It is almost analogous to stealing a man’s purse which is bulging with bills and then enriching him by returning enough money for carfare home.”

Trusting In a Broken Staff
The sad feature of this entire piece of mercenary business is that the people are led to innocently and unwittingly trust to a false source for good health and therefore they will not seek for and obtain the superior “staff of life” as nature has enriched it. One more the health of the nation has become the toy of commercialism. the Bible says, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

Object Lesson
There was once  time when there was a distinct difference between white flour and whole wheat flour (or whole grain). However, the enrichment program developed, and people sought to enrich the white flour with a few vitamins and one mineral. This seemed like the perfect solution, because it didn’t cause for people to change their habits or way of life. Nonetheless, in reality, the enriched flour was not better at all.

With that backdrop, there was once a time when there a distinct difference between Pagans (worldlings) and Christians. However, through an “enrichment” program, heathens started to adapt some of the mannerisms of Christians. We can see this in the early part of the fourth century, with the nominal conversion of Constantine. His experience was much like that of “enriched” white flour; having a form of godliness (synthetic ingredients), a cloak of righteousness, with the power. By God’s grace, let us not allow satan to rob us of a genuine experience with Christ.

Come back next week, invite a friend, as we near the end of this series on the mysteries of life. Maranatha!

Study adapted from the book, Abundant Health, Julius G.White