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Harms of White Flour (Maida)

In May 2016, a petitioner K. Rajendran had knocked the doors of Madras High Court alleging that harmful chemical called Alloxan is being added to the white flour (all purpose flour). Alloxan is a toxic glucose analogue and selectively destroys the beta cells of pancreas, which is responsible for insulin production. This pyrimidine derivative (Alloxan) has been used to induce Diabetes in lab rats during experimental studies. But conveniently 'studies have shown' that Alloxan does not cause diabetes or beta cell destruction in Humans. We know how flawed and biased these so called 'studies' could be sometimes. Even if it does not cause instant damage, may be it may have disastrous effect on our health in a long run, like a slow poison. Have these 'studies' looked into effect of Alloxan and other chemicals present in maida, on the health of a person over a period of time?

Chemicals found in Maida:

Picture courtesy: Dr. Aniruddha Joshi's Healthonics.  Click Here.

  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Chlorine Dioxide 
  • Potassium Bromate
  • Azodicarbonamide.
It is claimed that these flours have fortified vitamins and minerals. But problem is that these vitamins and minerals are not bio-available. Our body does not recognize and digest these artificially fortified vitamins.

Maida or the refined white flour (so called 'all purpose flour') itself is very dangerous for health, let alone the chemicals added to it. Refined white flour causes sudden spikes in blood glucose levels (even more than sugar), increasing the Insulin production, there by paving the way for Insulin resistance, obesity, inflammation. This is especially harmful for women with PCOD, who already have Insulin resistance, obesity, inflammatory radicals and hormonal imbalance. 

Lack of fiber and presence of highly refined simple carbohydrates-maida has very high glycemix index, shooting up blood glucose levels as soon as you eat it, thereby spiking insulin levels and then abrupt hunger and cravings start as soon as the glucose is managed by body mechanisms. 

The refining process strips off the flour of its moisture, the high temperatures it is milled in makes the flour harmful for the digestive system. 

Maida sticks to your intestines for long time and it can take upto 8 to 10 days for it to clear out from your body. For this reason, it is sometimes known as 'Glue of gut', reducing the digestion and metabolism, thereby causing obesity, diabetes and other chronic illnesses. Constipation, ill formed stools are common problems faced.

In Summer 2014, I had the chance to meet Swamy Nirmalanand Giri at Karuna Foundation in Ottapalam, Kerala. He described me how the byproducts of maida stick to belly fat and the body just doesn't know how to get rid of them. From here they act like a focus of inflammation and toxin release and in the long run, may lead to chronic metabolic diseases like diabetes and even cancer.

What is white flour or maida:

In a grain, there are basically 3 parts: Endosperm, Germ and Bran. The refining process removes Germ and Bran from the grain and only the Endosperm (high in carbohydrates and few proteins) is used in making the flour. Germ and Bran containing Vitamins, Minerals, Phytochemicals that are good for our body are left behind. Bran also contains fiber which is lost. Apart from the nutrients lost, whole grain contains enzymes which makes it easy for our digestive system to digest the grain. Refined flour surely spikes up glucose as soon as it enters our system but it is not fully digested and excreted. 

Lectins present in grains inflame the lining in gut and create fissures between cells. The cells lining the intestines form a tightly woven barrier. Protein called Zonulin can create entries in the intestinal barrier, allowing undigested food particles to pass through the gut's lining. The immune system is activated and goes into a chronic overdrive, generating lot of inflammatory mediators and a burden to health. Food allergies and sensitivities develop. Wheat contains Gliadin which causes excess production of Zonulin. Click Here.

Wheat proteins (Wheat germ agglutinin) cross the blood brain barrier and attach to brain's opiate receptors and trigger appetite and cravings. Click Here

Grains are the only the only pant foods that generate acidic byproducts. Wheat generated sulfuric acid which quickly overcomes neutralizing effects of Alkalies. Click Here.

Energy needed to digest white flour is far less than what is needed to digest complex carbohydrates or fibers. Thus this is another mechanism by which refined flour lowers metabolism and causes obesity. 

Lets hope these are enough reasons for you to stop taking white flour and shift to millets.


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