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heat is the most widely used cereal in the world. In the UK, bread provides a good energy source and is 'good value for money.

Wheat Flour provides 350 KCAL (1.47 MJ) per 100 g.

Wheat flour is derived mainly from the en-do sperm (normal) which contains the polypeptides, gliadin and glutenin; these are collectively known as gluten and constitute about 12% of the flour.

Gluten is protein which becomes viscous when water is added to it; thus, a good dough can be made from wheat flour. This property is not present in rice, bajra or jowar flour. Carbon dioxide can be bubbled into wheat dough to make a spongy mass suitable for making bread or cake. Bakers use brewers' yeast or baking powder as a source of carbon dioxide; many Indians make delicious spongy preparations by fermenting wheat flour with toddy.

The hard Indian wheat contains more gluten than the Western variety. The gluten content of wheat flour can be greatly reduced, even to 3% -4% by infestation with weevils.

Gluten is relatively poor in the amino acid lysine which is necessary for proper growth. If lysine is supplied by other vegetable proteins, nutrition improves. Pulses, soybean, groundnut, and cotton seed flours provide a good supplement to wheat; milk is probably the best supplement for providing the amino acids missing in a pure-wheat diet.

Gluten, and particularly its gliadin fraction, is the substance responsible for celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy-see Malabsorption Syndrome).. Wheat is perhaps the only gluten-containing cereal eaten in the East, but in the West bread is also made from 'rye' which contains gluten. Complete exclusion of all gluten-containing preparations from the diet results in remarkable improvement in celiac disease.

Wheat flour contains 1.7% fat derived from the germ.

Whole wheat flour provides 72% carbohydrates.

Thiamine, riboflavin, and nicotinic acid values diminish considerably as the extraction rate is increased.


Calcium :  Wheat is poor in calcium. Refined flour contains only 20mg calcium per 100g. but this lower content is offset by better absorption. The best and most inexpensive way of solving the problem of calcium deficiency in wheat is to add calcium carbonate, 14g to 280 kg flour, as is done in the UK. The calcium carbonate content should not be less than 235 mg (22.35 mmol as calcium) and not more than 390 mg (3.9 mmol as calcium) per 100 g flour.

Fortification of wheat flour with calcium is advocated particularly in areas where milk intake is low and little calcium is available from other food sources. Indian children showed nearly the same rate of growth on a daily supplement of 1 g calcium lactate, as on a supplement of 30 g skimmed milk powder (1 cup milk).

Iron  The iron content of whole wheat flour is high, while refined flour has considerably less iron. In Britain, regulations require not less than 1.65 mg (29.5 micromol) iron per 100 g flour; thus, 70% extraction flour requires the addition of iron. This fulfils the policy of restoration and not of fortification. However, iron from brown bread is absorbed better than that from iron-enriched white bread.

Phosphorus  Whole wheat flour is rich in phosphorus in comparison to refined flour. The high content of phosphorus prevents the absorption of other minerals like iron and calcium.


Rye (Secele cercele) is a cereal closely related to wheat. Rye bread is commonly made by mixing it with wheat flour. Rye contains gluten, which causes diarrhea in patients with celiac disease.

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