Are grain processed foods

Low processed foods: cereals


Cereal products and products


English: flour and cereal products


Grain products and products are one of the most important staple foods for humans. Products made from wheat, rice, maize, millet, oats, barley and rye are of the greatest importance: around 80% of the total cultivated area is cultivated with these varieties, 50% of the food energy required in the world comes from their grain products. In Europe, wheat, barley, rye and oats are the most important varieties, in the USA maize (corn). However, almost half of the total production of grain is fed to slaughter animals.

Manufacture and properties of cereal products
The grains of naked grains (e.g. naked wheat, rye) fall out of the husks more or less by themselves during harvest, namely during threshing, and are then caught in the combine harvester, the straw and husks fall back onto the field.
The grains of the so-called spelled grains (e.g. oats, spelled wheat) sit more firmly in their husks. They have to be peeled out after threshing. To do this, the dried grains are mechanically bounced or sanded against walls, causing them to loosen from their shells. The grains are also roughly cleaned during or immediately after the harvest. This means that contaminants such as weed seeds, ergot, stones and insects are detected and removed by cleaning machines or special equipment in the combine harvester. In this state, the grain can now be stored in silos or halls.

Since humans cannot digest raw, whole grains, they have to be chopped up. Different grain products are created in the process.

Flour products:

* Haze is a wheat flour product and is somewhere between flour and semolina in terms of size. Like semolina, it does not contain any peel and therefore very few vitamins and minerals. Steam is used to make fine yeast pastries and pasta.

* Pearl barley are husked, peeled and sprouted grains. Barley grains are mostly used for this. In the case of naked barley, peeling is of course superfluous. The white color of the pearl barley is achieved by repeated grinding and polishing. For the production of pearl barley, the ground grains are cut into 2 to 4 parts and then ground and polished again until they are round as desired. Alternatively, broken grains can be used for this.

* Semolina actually refers to the pieces of cereal grains that are obtained during grinding, the size of which is between 250 and 1000 µm and are therefore coarser than flour. Durum wheat semolina and soft wheat semolina are sold in stores. Both consist of the shell-free flour kernel of the wheat kernel and are therefore virtually free of vitamins and minerals and mainly contain starch. Durum wheat semolina is usually light yellow and coarse-grained. It stays grainy even when cooked, but the grains form a good connection so that it is suitable for semolina dumplings and pasta. Soft wheat semolina is almost white. It loses its grainy texture when cooked, so it is particularly suitable for porridge and soups.

* Grits refers to peeled and coarsely ground grains, mostly of oats, barley or buckwheat, the size of which is between that of pearl barley and that of semolina. It works well with porridge, dumplings and casseroles.

* Bran denotes a backlog of flour production. These are the outer layers of the grain that are sieved out after grinding, i.e. shells and parts of the aleurone layer, as well as the seedling. The bran also contains externally adhering impurities. Today, edible bran is included in diet preparations because it contains a lot of fiber, quite a lot of protein and some vitamins.

* Flour is the most widely produced cereal product. It is obtained by grinding the grains, whereby either only the endosperm with or without the aleurone layer surrounding it or almost the whole grain including the germ is ground. One speaks here of the degree of grinding. The more of the grain ends up in the flour, the higher the degree of grinding. If the endosperm, including the germ and shell, is ground, the result is dark Whole wheat flour. For light flours, the grains are first ground, whereby the shell, possibly the aleurone layer and the seedling are separated from the endosperm.
The type of flour is determined based on the proportions of the whole grain that are then contained in the flour. The higher the type number, the more of the grain has been processed. The number shows how high the ash content of the flour is, that is, how many grams of ash, consisting of minerals, remains after burning 100 kg of flour. Type 405 flour contains 405 g minerals per 100 kg, or 405 mg ash per 100 g flour.
Rye flours contain more vitamins than wheat flours with the same degree of grinding.

* Shot consists of coarsely chopped grains. Analogous to flour, whole grain meal contains all components of the whole grain and baking meal contains all components except the germ.

Peeled products:

* Flakes arise when peeled and steamed, mostly whole grains are crushed between hot rollers. Their shape is then flat and oval. The heating during steaming inactivates the enzymes that would otherwise cause it to become bitter. Flakes are particularly easy to digest. The best known are certainly the oatmeal. A distinction is made between 3 types: hearty flakes made from whole seeds, delicate flakes made from groats (see above) and instant flakes / melted flakes made from finely ground grains. The latter dissolve completely when you put them in liquid.

Other cereal products:

* Bulgur is a traditional food made from wheat in the Middle East. For industrial production, wheat grains are soaked, treated with hot steam and dried. Through this parboiled process, which is also known from rice, most of the minerals and vitamins contained in the outer layers of the grain are pressed into the interior and are therefore retained even after the subsequent peeling and polishing. The dry grains can be bought packaged and stored for a relatively long time. In the household, the washed wheat is boiled or soaked for several hours and then dried. The peel is rubbed with a mortar.

* Couscous is made either from millet or from durum wheat semolina. Sometimes both types of grain are mixed. Usually the grain is peeled and roughly chopped, wholemeal couscous is made from unpeeled grains, recognizable by their dark color. Then the semolina or millet is pre-cooked, pressed and dried. This easily digestible cereal preparation is easy to make ready to eat by boiling the grains and allowing them to soak in hot water and is suitable for the preparation of independent dishes, as a side dish or as part of a salad.

* Green kernels is a well-known product especially in southern Germany. For this, spelled, a variety of wheat, is harvested unripe (green) and kilned in the ear. Kiln drying is a process in which warm air is used to remove water from the grains, which is usually blown from below through the loosely layered material. So it can be stored longer.

* Malt is prepared from germinated grain, which is then kilned. During germination, the soaked kernels begin to form enzymes that are able to break down starch into sugar. This is important for the brewing process, the most common further processing of malt. With the kiln, the further enzyme formation and the onset of the conversion of starch to sugar is stopped and the malt is dried. Depending on the type of malt and temperature, different flavors and colors are formed.

* Sprouts are sprouted grains that can be eaten as vegetables or salads.

* Strengths make up 55 to 80% of the carbohydrates present in the grain. They are extracted from it and used as native starches directly in other products or first processed into modified starch that fulfills special technological purposes (e.g. particularly good swelling capacity or heat resistance). Some starches are bleached with sulfur dioxide (SO2). This only serves the appearance and has no further advantages. Unfortunately, some of it always remains in the end product and can be harmful to health, even in small concentrations. Sulfur dioxide has to be broken down quickly in the body so that it does not form compounds with amino acids, proteins and other substances and upset a very delicate balance. Common reactions to too much sulfur are pseudo-allergic. Asthmatics in particular should be careful here.


All cereals, as well as the products made from them, should always be stored dry and airtight. In this way, grains stay good for several years and packaged, light-colored wheat flours for about a year. Dark, more highly ground flours have a shorter shelf life. The more shell parts there are in the product, the more bacteria and mold spores can adhere and the faster it has to be used up. Whole grain flours and wheat germ have a very short shelf life.
Conversely, the fine shot can be stored for less long than the coarse one. The moisture and fat content are also important for the storage time: Very fatty products such as oats, rice or millet must be used up more quickly or treated beforehand. Natural or whole grain rice, oat flakes and similar products should not be stored for too long and should be checked for their taste before use. Slightly bitter flavors and a scratchy throat are indications of fat spoilage. Such products should be discarded. Parboiled rice, on the other hand, can be stored for a long time. With all cereal products, a sweet smell (unpleasant) indicates mite infestation.

Tip for at home: Fill dry cereal products such as flour, flakes, muesli, rice, pasta etc., but also bag soups, raisins and all other long-lasting kitchen basics that you do not want to use immediately in their own airtight containers. If one of these products was infected with pests such as moths or mold when you bought it, these will not spread to other stored goods and you only have to throw away the affected product and disinfect its container.


On average, a grain consists of 70% starch (carbohydrates), 12% water, 11% protein, 2% fat and 7-9% fiber. Due to the high starch content, cereals are an important source of energy in human nutrition.

Furthermore, grains contain the important minerals and trace elements iron, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and potassium, but also vitamins. Mainly vitamin E and the representatives of the B vitamins, especially thiamine and folic acid, occur.

The proportion of nutrients is subject to natural fluctuations, caused for example by the climate and soil conditions, but is also influenced by fertilization. The nutrient content also fluctuates between the individual types of grain, but also between the individual components of the grain. The endosperm contains mostly starch and protein. Most of the vitamins, minerals and fiber are found in the outer layers of the grain. The seedling contains a lot of protein with a high content of essential amino acids. A large part of the fat consists of unsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, numerous vitamins and minerals are represented to a greater extent in the seedling than in the endosperm.

The health value is increased by germination of the seedling. Because during the germination process, conversion processes are set in motion, through which proteins, carbohydrates and fat are broken down into their individual components. The content of vitamins and enzymes is significantly increased.

Some types of grain contain the adhesive protein gluten. These include wheat, spelled, rye, barley and oats. Gluten ensures good baking properties, but not all types of cereals containing gluten are suitable for baking. If you are intolerant to gluten (celiac disease) you should avoid cereals containing gluten. Gluten-free varieties are rice, corn and millet as well as the pseudo-grain types amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa.

When processing into flour and other products, many of the valuable ingredients are lost because the parts of the grain that contain most of the minerals and vitamins (peel, seedling, aleurone layer) are often removed. Whole grains are processed for whole grain products so that they have the largest share of minerals and vitamins.

Almost no health risks

In the past, the consumption of grain and grain products posed a greater health risk than it does today, because the plants were more frequently infected with ergot fungus. With modern treatment methods, however, this is largely under control. The exposure to heavy metals and plant treatment agents is also low. Since whole grains, including the shells, are processed for whole grain products, they, like bran, which only consists of the shell layers, are more polluted than flours, groats, groats, flakes, bulgur and so on.

Cereal products

Grain products are made from grain products. So it is little processed food.

* Flakes are extruded mill products. In this process, the ground products are foamed with water under certain temperature and pressure conditions.

* Glue, also adhesive protein is the colloquial term for gluten. Gluten, in turn, comprises several water-insoluble complexes of proteins that occur in different amounts in the endosperm of certain grains and have different properties. One of the most important, for example, wheat gluten, causes dough to be malleable and elastic, and bread has a loose crumb. Corn gluten, on the other hand, is not suitable for consumption and is mainly used in animal feed or as a raw material for spice production. Some people cannot tolerate gluten (celiac disease). For them, baked goods can be made from gluten-free grains, such as spelled or rice.

* Cereal mostly consists of flakes, groats and sometimes bran from different types of grain. Most of them are whole grain products. They are supplemented by adding oil seeds (for example flax, sunflower seeds), nuts (for example coconut, hazelnut, peanut), flakes and dried fruits (mostly raisins). Many commercially available cereals are sweetened with honey. In order to achieve a long shelf life, the grain products are repeatedly heated before they are used for muesli.

* Pasta have semolina or flour as the main ingredient. Pasta is made from a dough consisting only of durum wheat semolina and water. Other noodles contain egg as an additional component.

* Popcorn are puffed corn kernels (Zea mays var. microsperma). The heat of puffing creates caramelized and roasted products that provide the typical taste. In addition, when the grains are heated, oil is added directly when making popcorn, and sugar or, if desired, salt.

* Puffed rice is puffed rice. Here, too, small amounts of caramelized and roasted aromas are created when puffing.

* Cooking oil can be obtained from different types of grain. Both the seeds and seedlings (e.g. wheat germ oil) can be used for this. You can read more about this under fats and oils.




  With the website, the Fritz Terfloth Foundation Münster offers consumers independent and well-founded information on plant-based foods and their health effects. All texts are subject to German copyright law. You can find out under what conditions you can use the texts here.

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