From the July 2005 Idaho Observer:
Bleaching agent in flour linked to diabetes
By The Idaho Observer
As if we haven’t enough to worry about, the newest tainted food supply concern is that flour in commonly consumed baked goods is being bleached with an agent that produces a toxin known to kill pancreatic cells, leading to diabetes. Though it has not yet been determined how many flour mills are bleaching with chloride oxide, the use of chlorides to bleach flour is an industry standard. This should be a criminal practice since the cause-and-effect of alloxan on pancreatic tissue is axiomatic in biochemistry. The purpose of compiling this article is not to unnecessarily frighten people into avoiding bakery items that contain bleached white flour (though minimizing intake of such products is a good idea regardless), but to illustrate how the big, corporate food processors think nothing of poisoning even the most basic, staple components of our food supply.
Most white flour used to produce bread and bakery goods is bleached in order to make the flour as white as possible. There are several chemical bleaching agents that are used such as oxide of nitrogen, chlorine, chloride, nitrosyl, and benzoyl peroxide mixed with various chemical salts. But the worst flour bleaching agent by far is chloride oxide. When chloride oxide combines with what proteins are left in the flour after removal of the bran and germ of the wheat, it forms a substance called alloxan. Alloxan, when produced by chemists, is an oxidized product of uric acid and is also called uroxin.
How does alloxan cause diabetes?
Scientists have known that alloxan produces selective destruction of the beta cells of the pancreas, causing hyperglycemia and ketoacidosis in laboratory animals (Note: beta cells compose the bulk of the islets of Langerhans and secrete insulin). According to Dr. Hari Sharma’s Freedom from Disease, the uric acid derivative initiates free radical damage to DNA in the beta cells of the pancreas, causing the cells to malfunction and die.
When these beta cells fail to operate normally, they no longer produce enough insulin or, in other words, they cause one variety of adult-onset type 2 diabetes. Alloxan’s harmful effects on the pancreas are so severe that the Textbook of Natural Medicine calls the chemical "a potent beta-cell toxin."
However, even though the toxic effect of alloxan is common scientific knowledge in the research community, the FDA still allows companies to use it when processing foods we ingest.
More reasons to avoid white flour products
In the process of making flour white, half of the good unsaturated fatty acids that are high in food value are lost in the milling process alone, and virtually all the vitamin E is lost with the removal of wheat germ and bran. As a result, white flour contains only poor quality proteins and fattening starch. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. By removing the germ and the bran from the wheat in making white flour, the following percentage of nutrients are lost: Approximately 50 percent of all calcium, 70 percent of phosphorus, 80 percent iron, 98 percent magnesium, 75 percent manganese, 50 percent potassium and 65 percent of copper is destroyed. If that is not bad enough, about 80 percent thiamin, 60 percent of riboflavin, 75 percent of niacin, 50 percent of pantothenic acid, and about 50 percent of Pyridoxine is additionally lost.
What you can do
If you’ve been eating white bread for years and you have a family history of diabetes, all hope is not lost for you. Studies show that you can reverse the effects of alloxan by supplementing your diet with vitamin E. According to Dr. Gary Null’s Clinicians Handbook of Natural Healing, vitamin E effectively protected lab rats from the harmful effects of administered alloxan.
Even if you are already diabetic, some simple changes to your diet can help treat your diabetes. First of all, stop eating foods made with white flour. Even though you already have diabetes, vitamin E supplements can still help you, as can many common foods.
Garlic, for example, does wonders for diabetes. As Dr. Benjamin Lau states in his book Garlic for Health, "When fed garlic, the rabbits’ elevated blood sugar dropped almost as much as it did when they were given the antidiabetic drug tolbutamide. Researchers postulated that garlic may improve the insulin effect."
Aloe vera is another traditional diabetic remedy and its therapeutic characteristics are now gaining worldwide acceptance in the treatment of diabetes. According to both human and animal research studies, aloe vera lowers blood glucose levels by an unknown mechanism. Adding onions to your diet can also significantly reduce your blood sugar level.
It all comes down to asking yourself if being at risk for contracting diabetes is worth the pleasures of eating white bread. If you’re willing to risk your quality of life and your life itself, then go ahead and eat all the foods made with white flour you want. However, if you want to stop poisoning yourself with alloxan, a known toxic chemical, then make a few simple dietary changes