Whole Wheat Flour vs White Flour: What Should You Choose?

Whole Wheat Flour vs White Flour: What Should You Choose?


Whole Wheat Flour vs White Flour: What Should You Choose?


What atoms are to a cell, flour is to food. It is important to carefully select the flour we use for our cooking and baking needs. Two of the most popular flour types are whole wheat flour and white flour or maida. What, essentially, is the difference between the two?

Stroll through a supermarket that sells these flours. One look and you’ll see the drastic difference between their colour, texture and the aroma. They are priced differently, too. But they are both made from wheat grain! How are they different then?

The whole world swears by whole wheat flour health benefits, but what are they? Despite it all, we cannot get rid of maida because who doesn’t like a ‘good baked good’? This leads to confusion between the two. This article will help you make a choice.

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The Basic Differences

Whole wheat atta and maida (or all-purpose flour) are both made from wheat grain, but the treatment of wheat is different. That’s how we get the distinct flour types that have originated from the same source but are strikingly different. It is this treatment that gives rise to several unique attributes too.

Before we get to that, let’s understand what ‘wheat’ is. Wheat has three parts to it, the bran (rich in fibre), the endosperm (starchy) and the germ (nutrient-rich embryo). Now that that’s clear, we can get to the differences.

How It’s Made

White flour or maida is made up only of the endosperm portion of the wheat, according to Colorado State University’s Food Source Information. This portion is then finely ground to make white flour.

Whole wheat flour, on the other hand, includes all the three parts of wheat which retain the fibre and the nutrients.

Nutritional Information

A serving size of 100g of each flour approximately contains:

Nutritional Parameters Whole Wheat Flour White Flour
Calories 340 364
Total Fat 2.5g 1g
Sodium 2mg 2mg
Carbohydrates 60.6g 73g
Fibre 11g 2.7g
Sugars 0.4g 0.3g
Protein 13g 10g
Calcium 34mg 15mg
Iron 3.6mg 1.17mg
Potassium 363mg 107mg

Source: 1, 2

Health Effects

Research by the French National Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment, found that whole-grain cereals like whole wheat can protect against cancer, obesity and diabetes. Wheat flour benefits for our health are plenty but maybe not so much when it comes to white flour.

Because white flour is made from only the endosperm portion of the wheat, most of the nutrients are eliminated. It may also be mixed with a bleaching agent. Bleached flour may take almost double the time to get digested in our stomachs, according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.


White flour is great to make doughnuts, cupcakes, blondies, brownies, among other things. We may not get the same result with wheat flour as it gets more crumbly and feels less smooth, but it surely is great for our health.

Whole wheat flour is used in everything these days but is specifically good for chapatis, parathas, breads of different kinds among other things.

Appearance & Texture

White flour is very fine and white in colour. Wheat flour is slightly coarse and brownish in colour.

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Take a Quick Glance

Whole Wheat Flour White Flour
Making Process Made from all three parts of wheat (bran, germ, endosperm) Made only from the endosperm part of the wheat
Health Benefits Wheat flour health benefits like protection against obesity, cancer etc. are many Has almost zero health benefits, may adversely affect health instead
Nutrients Rich in nutrients and vitamins Nutrient-stripped
Uses Great for chapatis and breads Perfect for baking goods like brownies
Appearance Brownish in colour White in colour
Pricing Costs more than white flour Cheaper than whole wheat flour

To Conclude

Many people aim to achieve the perfect balance by mixing whole wheat flour with white flour, especially when they bake. You might not get all the wheat flour health benefits, but you will certainly give a treat to your tastebuds.

If you are going all-healthy, remember, that wheat flour and whole wheat flour are not the same things. Sometimes, major brands may fool the consumers by calling ‘white flour’ or ‘maida’ as ‘refined wheat flour’ or just ‘wheat flour’. Make sure that you find the words ‘whole wheat flour’ written on the packet when you go atta-shopping. Also, check for nutritional information. Being aware is the best way to eat right.

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