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December 22, 1956


Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn.

Emeritus Member of the Mayo Clinic.

JAMA. 1956;162(17):1539-1541. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.72970340006010

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The practice of making white flour by the process of roller milling was introduced about 1870. Although the texture and color of the white flour produced by this method was a great improvement over the gray, coarse, stone-ground flour, the more refined white flour contained much less of the coatings of the wheat grain and thus less vitamins and minerals. As a result of this process of milling and other changes in the preparation of our food, the amount of thiamine (vitamin B1) and other so-called micronutrients was reduced in the American diet. From the first, there were critics of the roller-milling process, but after McCollum and Osborne and Mendel revealed the importance to health of these vitamins in the later 1910's, the flour millers and commercial bakers were under constant fire from physicians and nutritionists.

Reliable surveys of the nutritional condition of the people revealed that the average

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