Is Durum Wheat “Clean?”

Information about durum wheat and whether it’s considered part of a clean diet.

Image by Candiix (Pixabay).

What is Clean Eating?

The first step to answering this question is defining the terms “clean eating” or “clean diet.”

According to Emily Brown, writing for, the point behind clean eating is to consume more whole foods while limiting highly processed ones.

The American Heart Association uses the terms “eating clean” and “healthy eating” interchangeably on, and appears to take a broader stance on the definition of these terms. Instead of limiting processed foods across the board, they recommend comparing food labels and choosing foods based on nutritional content rather than their status of processed vs. unprocessed. They respond to the myth that “Only fresh fruits and vegetables are healthy” with the fact that “A healthy diet can include fresh, frozen, canned and dried produce.” It appears that The American Heart Association adopts the stance that just because something is processed does not mean it’s unhealthy. takes a similar stance, stating that “some processed foods offer nutritional value and convenience.”

One study published in the journal Nutrients* found that there was a large variation in what U.S. adolescents considered “clean eating,” with definitions ranging from eating non-processed and whole foods to avoiding GMOs and non-organic foods. It also notes that most respondents found out about clean eating through social media.

[*] Note: This link will download a .PDF document of the study rather than taking you to a website.

A variety of grains, including durum wheat, from The New Student’s Reference Work published in 1914 (Wikimedia Commons).

What is Durum Wheat?

Put simply, durum wheat is just a species of wheat. According to, durum wheat has larger kernels than most other bread wheats, is the hardest of all wheat classes, and has an amber color. They also claim that the use of durum wheat has been rising in past years (published in 2017). explains that durum wheat is a variety of Emma wheat, which was the first type of wheat domesticated roughly 9,000 years ago.

Image by chrysda (Pixabay).

Is Durum Wheat a Whole Grain?

According to the Whole Grains Council, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, whole grains are grains which contain all of the essential nutrients of the natural grain. Processed versions of a grain can still be considered whole grains as long as they maintain the same nutrient balance found in the original grain. Alina Petre, writing for healthline, states that “durum wheat and bread wheat have similar nutritional profiles.”

If food packaging simply states durum wheat as an ingredient it may be hard to tell just how refined said wheat is and what nutrients have been removed. To make sure you’re choosing foods with versions of durum wheat that contain all of the nutrients of the original grain, look out for the “100% whole grain” label on the packaging. Packages with “enriched wheat” signal that nutrients have been replaced after being lost in the refining process.

Image by the5th (Pixabay).

Is Durum Wheat Clean?

If your definition of clean eating involves avoiding processed foods, durum wheat may not be considered clean since it’s used mostly in a processed powdered form as flour. If you follow a strict definition of processed foods as any food that is changed from its natural state, then all flours, as well as any cooked foods, are considered processed.

But, if your definition of clean eating is more along the lines of healthy eating, then foods with whole grain durum wheat may fit the bill.

This article is dedicated to David Andrew Taylor.

Note: The author of this article is NOT a medical professional, and this article does not contain medical advice. The ideas presented in this article are simply the opinions of the author, a cook by trade. It is always advised that you consult your doctor before changing your diet in any way, and you should always follow the advice given to you by medical professionals.



Nerdy, science-loving chef. I write about science, philosophy, religion, and any other topics that come to mind.

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Devan Taylor

Nerdy, science-loving chef. I write about science, philosophy, religion, and any other topics that come to mind.