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charliewp (@charliewp)

Sprouted Grain Bread: Anything To It?

Healthy Living | Last Active: Oct 5 11:30am | Replies (28)

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I think of the mechanics at the elevators and the mills, and of the plant itself. It seems to me that, once the wheat is harvested, whatever nutrients were present cannot increase. If the grain is sprouted, wouldn't the nutrients in sprouts + what's in the germ be the same as what's in the germ of unsprouted wheat? This is the basis of my skepticism of sprouted wheat bread.

Two points. First is that I might have misstated some biology regarding the plant, i.e. the germ and the sprouts. I might be incorrect, but I am educable and not in the least bit defensive; the day I can't learn something new will be a truly rotten day indeed. Second is that I'm always talking about whole wheat. The comparison, therefore, is between unsprouted and sprouted whole grain bread, as opposed to, say, sprouted whole wheat and bread not made from whole wheat.

My guess is that my farmer friend is talking about sprouted wheat at the elevator being unsuitable for flour because nutrients that transferred to the sprout get lost on account of the sprouts falling off and not making it to or through the flour milling process. If the sprouted wheat used to make breads like Eziekiel is sprouted after the elevator but before milling, it would preserve nutrients that otherwise would be lost. If that's correct, it seems to me that the nutritional content of sprouted whole wheat bread could, at most, be equal to that of unsprouted whole wheat bread. How could there be more nutrients? Wouldn't some of them simply move from the germ (or berry?) into the sprout, but everything would wind up in the flour regardless of whether sprouted or not?

Again, the foregoing is a GUESS, and I am ALWAYS happy to have my guesses contradicted by facts. Another guess: Could it be that the elevators pay a lot less for sprouted wheat because the moisture that made it sprout before reaching the elevator damaged it in other ways as well, accounting for the far lower prices paid?

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Replies to "I think of the mechanics at the elevators and the mills, and of the plant itself...."

Thinking back to both chemistry and nutrition classes a million years ago, but I'll take a stab here.
First, whole wheat flour is not identcal nutritionally to the whole wheat berry because there are losses in the milling process due to heat and oxidation. (This is an older article from McGill University that has a quite good explanation of this topic: http://www.eap.mcgill.ca/publications/EAP35.htm )
Second, the process of sprouting can transform the nutrients into a more bioavailable form. There is a discussion in the Harvard article cited above.
Bottom line, it's still bread, a carbohydrate, and should be a limited part of a healthy diet. And either whole grain or sprouted grain versions are better for you than bread made from refined grains.
I invite a nutritionist to step in with further info.

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