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    Archive for the ‘spelt’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Spelt Digests As A Vegetable?

    194152What do you make of this?

    Shiloh Farms’ sprouted spelt flour has a “digests as a vegetable” claim on the package.

    — [Name Withheld]
    New  York, NY

    Hmmmm.  This is partially correct, but also slightly misleading and confusing.

    It is true that when grains are sprouted, their starch is converted into sugars, thereby mimicking a fruit or a vegetable more than a grain.

    This process makes digestibility easier for some people, but gluten is still present, so anyone with a gluten intolerance should NOT feel safe using this flour.

    I have read anecdotal reports of people with wheat allergies who consume sprouted wheat products with no issues, but I also personally know individuals with wheat allergies who react the same way to sprouted wheat as they do to non-sprouted varieties.

    One issue I have with this statement is that, while applicable to a specific audience, it appears to make the statement that starches should be avoided by everyone.  Unless someone has a wheat or gluten intolerance, there is no need to worry; our bodies are perfectly capable of digesting starch.

    The website’s claim that “starches and proteins are naturally reduced into simple sugars [through the sprouting process] that are more easily absorbed into your body to provide your need for energy” is also irrelevant — and wrong!

    It’s irrelevant because the body is able to digest and break down all sorts of components in food for energy purposes.  The fact that a food does not contain simple sugars does not mean it is “worse” than one that does, or that it will make you feel more sluggish.

    Additionally, the notion of proteins being reduced into simple sugars makes no sense.  Proteins are reduced into amino acids.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Spelt

    Are bread products made with spelt healthier than ones with whole wheat?

    — Patrick Wrengton
    Palo Alto, CA

    Spelt — part of the wheat family — is a whole grain.  While it is a healthy choice in terms of grain consumption, it doesn’t leave its counterparts in the dust.

    Spelt offers plenty of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, thanks to a tough outer husk that does a good job of retaining nutrients.

    If the vast majority of your grains are 100 percent whole grain, you are doing just fine from a nutritional standpoint. Whether you choose whole wheat cous cous, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, or brown rice is entirely up to you.

    Personally, the bread products I have tried with spelt flour haven’t wowed me. I recently had frozen bagels made entirely of spelt flour and found them to be too dense.

    If the flavor and texture of spelt suit your palate, though, feel free to enjoy it.

    However, think of it as a healthier grain option, rather than the “superfood” some proclaim it is.

    It’s also wise to keep spelt — or any other whole grain — within an appropriate framework.

    I recently saw chocolate chip cookies made with spelt flour, marketed as if they were just as healthy as a cup of plain of oatmeal. Nice try, but not quite.

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