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Nutritional implications of consumption of unmilled grain

This question was posted the Food assistance forum area and has 3 replies.

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Save the Children UK

Normal user

12 Apr 2016, 20:39

Hello colleagues,

When unmilled grain is provided to a refugee or emergency affected population, and there are insufficient grinding mills, some of the grain will be consumed unmilled and cooked, or there will be grinding by hand.

Has anyone conducted or seen research that looks into the implications of providing unmilled grain:
- on women, in terms of their increased energy expenditure to grind large quantities of grain by hand or
- the nutritional implications in children of consumption of the unmilled and cooked grain?

Any thoughts would be welcome - thank you!

Alison Donnelly

Normal user

15 Apr 2016, 10:07

Hi all,

as well as pointing us in the direction of any research, would anyone be able to guide us in:
- how to make a rough calculation of energy expenditure hand milling wheat? This would be be for women weighing 50-55 kg.
- Is there likely to be any effect from consumption of the unmilled grains in terms of reducing the bioavailability of the nutrients - in particular the b-vitamins.

Any help with this would be much appreciated.

Best wishes,



Normal user

18 Apr 2016, 22:57

Hi Megan,

this is really good idea, thought it may not directly answer your question , I found one interesting study done in northern Ethiopia "Roasted Barley Foods: Processing and Varietal Differences Affecting Kolo and Tihni, Traditional Grain Products in Northern Ethiopia " Am sure it will give you use full information for your study


Forum Moderator, ENN

Forum moderator

9 May 2016, 10:26

From Rita Bhatia:

Dietary guidance recommends consumption of whole grains to reduce the risk of chronic diseases including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Epidemiologic studies support the belief that whole grains are protective against cancers, especially gastrointestinal cancers such as gastric and colonic, and cardiovascular disease. Components in whole grains that may be protective are diverse and include compounds that affect the gut environment, i.e., dietary fibre, resistant starch, and other undigestible compounds in whole grains, compounds that function as antioxidants such as trace minerals and phenolic compounds, and compounds that are phytoestrogens with potential hormonal effects. Many of the protective compounds in whole grains are also in fruits and vegetables, but some plant compounds are more concentrated in whole grains, such as phenolic compounds including ferulic and caffeic acid. Other potential mechanistic effects of whole grains include binding of carcinogens and modulation of glycemic index.

It is also well known that during milling of grains lot of nutrients are lost.

If the question is for food assistance purposes:
In many current emergencies milled and fortified flour is procured in the region and distributed. E.g - Syria, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan.

As you know WFP is using less and less food aid and more cash to ease local and regional procurement. However, if that is not possible, then bulk milling is either done in the country and includes fortification of maize and wheat flour or the losses incurred in milling are compensated, in particular with Maize flour. Shelf Life of flours is limited.

In the Middle East, in particular with the urban population, bread is not made at home but procured. So an option is vouchers for bread and other commodities.

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