The Hoax of "Enriched Wheat Flour"

If you’re like most people, you probably think “wheat flour” is the same thing as whole-grain wheat flour.

Like most people, you’re wrong. And that’s just what food manufacturers want. “Wheat bread” is made of refined, processed wheat that’s stripped of its nutrition. It has virtually no resemblance to whole-grain wheat. A “wheat flour” or “enriched wheat flour” ingredient is technically no different than white flour. Manufacturers take whole-grain wheat, strip out 11 vitamins and minerals, then add synthetic chemicals that represent only four vitamins and one mineral.

Here’s the nutritional math: Whole-grain wheat – 11 nutrients + 5 nutrients = “Enriched”

Thus, “enriched” wheat products are missing the original, naturally occurring vitamins and minerals found in whole-grain wheat!

With consumers increasingly aware of the detrimental health consequences of consuming processed, milled grains (like white flour), food companies and bread manufacturers have been steadily shifting away from using the term “white flour” and instead using “wheat flour” on their products. It’s one of the most common tricks used by food manufacturers trying to jump on the whole-grain bandwagon. They display “made with whole grains!” on the front of the package while, in reality, the whole-grain ingredient may only represent 5 percent of the total finished product. (Companies blend whole grains with refined grains in order to make the product cheaper while still justifying the whole grains claim.)

Sadly, this hoax seems to be working. New research from one popular pastry manufacturer shows that an astonishing 73 percent of mothers mistakenly believe “wheat flour” is the same as whole-grain wheat flour.

Thus, by exploiting this consumer confusion, food manufacturing companies are able to reposition cheap, refined grain products with low nutritional value as “healthy-sounding” foods because they’re made with “wheat flour.”

For a flour or flour-based product to be truly whole-grain, it must explicitly list “whole-grain wheat flour” as a primary ingredient. Bottom line: Avoid the following ingredients:

  • Enriched wheat flour.
  • Wheat flour.
  • White flour.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Bleached flour.
  • Cake flour.
  • Bread flour.

If you want the best nutrition from a wheat-based ingredient, shop only for whole-grain wheat, not enriched wheat flour or simply “wheat flour.” Watch out for tricks and traps set for consumers by food manufacturers, and don’t trust what you read on the front of the label — always check the actual ingredients list to verify what you’re getting.

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Health Topic: Diet and Nutrition | Health Warning


  1. ED says:

    I think that it is an absolute shame that our government allows these companies to down right lie to us to try to get us to buy a product that can make us sick. I, myself, am type 2 diabetic. Any white flour product makes my blood sugar jump sky high. I read labels religiously. I am constantly seeing the wording changed around on ingredients to try to trick the consumer into thinking he is getting something he is not. In the real world, we call this a con, and it is illegl. Only in corporate America is it considered good business….all in the name of making money!

  2. Very interesting post, I really enjoyed reading it – thank you for the information.

  3. Cool :) says:

    Glady, I did not mistaken any of these items as something healthy. I realized that companies do seem to make it confusing for consumers by using these terms. If you do a search, you will realize that many people have posts such as “wheat flour vs whole wheat flour” and etc.

    I buy things that are listed “whole wheat flour”, and it has to be the first or second ingredient. I know Thomas’ whole wheat bagels and bagel thins are 100% whole wheat and extremely delicious with Laughing Cow cheese wedges. They also list whole wheat flour as the first ingredient.

    For those who are now confused between whole wheat and whole grain: wheat is just a type of grain. Both are good for you and better than “enriched” or “refined” or “white” stuff.

  4. Phil says:

    It’s very confusing (which is what they want) and hard to find anything not “enriched” So sad, no wonder kids are obese you can’t win for trying half the time.

  5. mark says:

    I think you’re a douchebag. You speak with sweeping assumptions and give no new information.
    your articles are uninformative and truly misleading.

    You’re a dick.

  6. Sue says:

    Myself and others deal with IBS, so whole wheat is a big no no for us. My husband brought home what he read as Dempsters White Bread. Upon double checking the ingrediants it stated enriched wheat flour! So can someone please tell me if this bread has any whole wheat in it? Thank you in advance.

  7. stephanie says:

    any grain, stripped of its bran and germ is much much less nutritious. The same thing applies to white rice. Like white flour, it is practically devoid of nutrition. And to make things worse Americans consume massive amounts of refined grains. I have celiacs disease and cannot consume wheat because of the gluten. I have a hard time eating gluten free. I cannot eat most processed foods. Everything has refined wheat flour added. Usually as a cheap bulking agent. Wheat is in campbells tomato soup , fast food meat “mixes” , some spices . It is really surprising how many foods contain wheat.

  8. Fakhera says:

    I do not understand why would someone remove 11 vitamins and add 5? Don’t you think it increases manufacturing cost?
    If someone can explain me!

  9. Confused says:

    I am looking for information on this subject and wonder how you came to your conclusion. Also if Whole Grain Wheat Flour is the first step of any flower (or pure form) then stripped of its healthy goodness why waste the money to further process the flour down to an unhealthy state? Wouldn’t this be more costly to process something multiple times before adding it in the ingredients. How do manufactures make a product that takes more time and effort that is less nutritional and make it cheaper than a product that is pure, less processed, less worked and more nutritional? Serious answers only, no conspiracy theories please!!!

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