What Are Wheat Midds?

That’s a question I had last week. If I start off by saying wheat midds are a byproduct of the wheat milling process some people will probably immediately want to write them off.  They would be wrong.

Byproducts is not a synonym for waste material.  It also doesn’t mean that the product is “highly processed”, which is a very common claim by detractors.

The major end product of wheat is flour, especially white flour. If you are among the health conscious, you know that white flour is greatly deficient nutritionally compared to whole wheat flour. What you might not realize is that all the nutritionally dense components of whole wheat compared to white flour are what ends up in wheat midds.

The term “midds”, short for middlings, refers to parts of the whole wheat grain between the raw parent grain as harvested and the end product of wheat flour.  It’s the “middles” in the process of flour production.

When wheat comes into the mill, the first few steps of processing involve cleaning. The grain shipment is sent through a series of sieves/screens, blowers and even magnets to remove most of the contaminating material from harvesting.

The wheat then goes to processing which separates the starch/flour rich segment of the grain from the outer and inner layers. The midds includes the bran and wheat germ, fractions all can agree are the most nutritious. In fact, if the wheat was being processed by a plant focusing on production of wheat bran or  wheat germ, the high starch flour portion would then be considered the “byproduct”.


Wheat midds are high protein (18+%), moderate starch (average 25%) and moderate fat (average 5.5%) .  The only processing involved is physical means of sifting, grinding, etc. that separates these fractions.

Wheat midds can be a valuable addition to horse feeds. That said, there can be individual horses with sensitivity to wheat and problems with high omega-6 fatty acid intake that make this a poor choice for some individuals. However, that doesn’t mean that wheat midds should be condemned across the board.

The next post here will address other urban legends about byproducts in equine nutrition.

Eleanor M Kellon, VMD

About Dr. Kellon

Graduate of University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. Owner of Equine Nutritional Solutions, www.drkellon.com, industry and private nutritional consultations, online nutritional courses. Staff Veterinary Expert at Uckele Health and Nutrition.
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2 Responses to What Are Wheat Midds?

  1. Nancy Whittley says:

    I have read your article with great interest. I am myself on a Wheat Free diet. This is due to the effects that I suffer when I eat things with wheat in them. After suffering from joint pain, and headaches for years, and looking for relief other than medications that have their own side effects, I read a book called “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis, cardiologist. He found in treating his patients, that when he removed wheat from their diet, many ailments and symptoms they were having went away. So after going deeper into why this was happening, he discovered, that the misnomer of Healthy Whole Grain Wheat, is a quite the opposite. I stopped eating wheat last April, and my joint pain has all but gone away, I no longer have headaches, I also have dropped 35 pounds, and my blood pressure is now back down to normal where it should be.
    I suggest reading his book, and you may have a different insight to Wheat Midds. He goes into great detail scientifically as to why wheat is bad for us. If it is as bad for People as it is, then it is probably just as bad for horses, and other animals, like dogs and cats. It is very much worth looking into.

    • uckeleequine says:

      You are absolutely right that some people have problems with wheat (I’m one of them) and/or refined carbohydrates. As the post mentioned, there can be individuals with problems among horses as well. Wheat has been a staple of the human diet since the time of the Babylonians. While modern wheats are different from ancient wheats in terms of yield, there is really no evidence that they have altered chemical profiles that would make them toxic, or addictive, or any of the other things claimed. Dr Davis’ diet is basically the same as Atkins, including avoidance of other concentrated carbohydrate/starch sources other than wheat.

      Soy, wheat and corn are major potential allergens in people and in my experience in horses as well. If an individual has issues it is wise to pursue an elimination diet to identify the food ingredients that could be causing the problems. We have to realize though that these ingredients may be fine for other horses.

      Dr. Kellon

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