Grains form the cornerstone of the diet for most people in the world. In the UK, wheat is the most commonly consumed grain, with overall annual usage for human consumption in excess of 6 million tonnes. This is in part due to its versatility, but also because the proteins present in wheat allow the formation of gluten with elastic properties essential to the production of risen bread.
Although wheat is used for breakfast cereals and in the making of alcoholic drinks such as gin, most is consumed in the form of flour. The UK produces about four million tonnes of flour each year, about 60% of which is consumed as bread or similar baked products. Flour is also used in a huge variety of foods ranging from biscuits and cakes, to pies, pizzas, coatings, and confectionery. Consequently it is a major source of sustenance for the population of the UK, not only as a source of energy, but also fibre, protein and several important minerals and vitamins. The different types of flour have slightly different compositions (see table below; source McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, 6th summary edition).
|White Breadmaking flour||White plain flour||Brown Flour||Wholemeal Flour|
|Energy Value (kcal/100g)||341||341||324||310|
|Total Sugars (g/100g)||1.4||1.5||1.7||2.1|
|Fibre (non-starch polysaccharides, g/100g)||3.1||3.1||6.4||9.0|
|Sodium (mg/100g)||3 (0.003%)||3 (0.003%)||4 (0.004%)||3 (0.003%)|
|Vitamin E (mg/100g)||0.3||0.3||0.6||1.4|
For more information about flour in the diet, please visit www.fabflour.co.uk