All-purpose flour is a common ingredient in many foods we eat, but how healthy is it?
It’s a refined wheat product that’s stripped of some nutrients compared to whole wheat. However, all-purpose flour does have some nutritional value – it contains protein, carbohydrates and fibre. As with any food, moderation is key when consuming all-purpose flour: Too much can lead to weight gain or other health concerns.
All-purpose flour is a staple in most American homes, used to make cookies, cakes, breads and other baked goods. So what is all-purpose flour made of? Is it good for you? Here’s the scoop on what’s inside this popular ingredient, and whether you need it in your diet or not.
All-Purpose Flour: Nutritional Facts
The nutritional content of all-purpose flour per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) includes:
Calories: 364 kcal,
Protein: 10 grams.
Carbohydrates: 76 grams.
Fat: 1 gram.
All-purpose flour is low in protein, which isn’t surprising, as it’s not a meat or dairy product. Protein is an important nutrient for building muscle, skin, hair, bones, blood cells and digestion. All-purpose flour contains about 10.5% protein, which is the lower end of the spectrum compared to other flours.
The protein content of all-purpose flour can vary by brand, and some brands are even enriched with nutrients like niacin and thiamine. Protein forms the foundation of muscle-building, making it very important to consume a decent amount of it per day. All-purpose flour certainly isn’t the best source of protein, but it can inch you closer to your daily goal if you pair it with a few other protein-rich foods.
All-purpose flour contains carbohydrates in the form of starch, which can cause blood sugar levels to rise when consumed in excess. The amount of carbohydrates depends on how much fibre is present in the flour—some brands have more than others.
Hundred grams of all-purpose flour has about 76 grams of carbohydrates. The following table shows the nutritional values of one cup of all-purpose flour, as well as the number of calories and grams of fat, carbohydrates and protein:
All-purpose flour is made from hard wheat, making it more durable and able to withstand being kneaded by a machine. It has a fat content of 1-3%.
The fat content of all-purpose flour can vary depending on which variety you buy. Some brands have higher fat than others, but most contain around 3% fat by weight. That may seem like a small amount, but it can add up if you use a lot of flour in your recipes.
Fibre is the part of food your body can’t digest. It’s important for digestive health, though, as it helps lower cholesterol, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. All-purpose flour contains three grams of fibre per cup, which isn’t amazing but not horrible either.
Vitamins and Minerals
All-purpose flour contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals. These include:
- Vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy vision, skin and hair. It also aids in the body’s ability to fight infections by boosting immunity.
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), which helps the body convert food into energy.
- Vitamin B12 (cobalamin), which plays a key role in healthy red blood cells.
- Niacin (nicotinic acid) is essential for cellular metabolism and can help lower cholesterol levels.
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2), which enhances immune system function as well as promotes growth.
Health Benefits of All-Purpose Flour
All-purpose flour is not usually considered a healthy food by nutritionists, but it does have some dietary benefits.
It’s a staple in many kitchens and can be used to make breads, pastries, cookies, and other baked goods. It’s also used in gravies and can also be used as a thickening agent in soups or sauces.
All-purpose flour is a good source of protein, fibre, and fat. All-purpose flours are also typically fortified with vitamins B1 (thiamin), B3 (niacin) and iron as well as calcium carbonate.
All-purpose flour is a good source of iron and calcium, as it’s made up of endosperm of wheat grains. That contains most of the nutritional value, including vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), thiamine and folic acid.
It is high in protein, fibre, fat and iron, which play a key role in your overall health. The protein helps you stay full longer so that you don’t overeat or eat unhealthy snacks between meals.
Fibre helps keep digestion regular so that your body can absorb all the nutrients from the food you consume every day without any issues.
Keep in mind that all-purpose flour, like any other food product, has its pros and cons. The main benefit of this type of flour is that it’s versatile, so you can use it to make a variety of dishes with different textures.
However, because all-purpose flour doesn’t have as much protein content as whole wheat flour (which makes up only 10% of most brands), this flour won’t give your body the same amount of nutrients found in products made from whole wheat grains.
Try balancing your intake of all-purpose flour with whole grains, as that will enrich your diet.
Q. Do you use all-purpose flour?