For better or worse, maida (refined flour) is an important part of many kitchens around the world – a yummy meal solution that fits those hectic schedules and satisfies the taste buds of many people. Having such a pleasant taste, it is often used as a comfort food ingredient. But do you know about all those scary-sounding demerits contained in this food ingredient, we are eating and what could possibly wrong about this food product being added to various dishes and desserts? It can be found in bread, pizza, pasta, cakes, cookies, muffins, donuts, noodles, burger etc.

Maida is a refined form of whole wheat flour from which most of its nutrients and fibre are sucked out. The bran and germ are the most nutritious parts of whole grains. They contain high amounts of many nutrients, such as, fibre, vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and selenium. During the refining process, the bran and germ are removed along with all the nutrients they contain. This leaves the flour with almost zero vitamins, minerals and fibre. The stripped down refined flour is very easy to digest, so it sends blood sugar and insulin skyrocketing, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

Here are few demerits of this popular food ingredient that is commonly found in fast foods. These demerits might make you take a U-turn the next time you are at the drive through.

Weight gain: Maida is high in carbohydrates. As far as body’s metabolism is concerned, carbohydrates help the secretion of insulin, which in turn encourages fat to be produced and stored. It leads to weight gain and obesity. Also being high in calories, this refined flour results in weight gain. It is high on glycemic index that has been linked to overeating. This again is a cause of obesity.

Spikes up sugar levels: Maida lacks nutrients and fibre. It is digested quickly and has a high gycemic index. This means that it leads to rapid spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels after meals. It may lead to type two diabetes.

Increases bad cholesterol: Regular consumption of maida increases bad cholesterol levels (LDL). It leads to various illnesses.

High blood pressure: Maida comes in the category of refined carbohydrates that increases weight, inflammation and insulin resistance, all of which are known to increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Mood swings: Maida is a refined carbohydrate that comes in the category of junk food. It is one of the biggest mood culprits that can cause your blood sugar to go up and down like a rollercoaster. It can satisfy your taste buds but could not help your mood.

Causes acidity: Frequent consumption of maida causes acidity which in turn can lead to chronic inflammation and other body issues.

Bad for digestive system: This flour is a starchy food which lacks fibre. So it congests digestive system and disrupts metabolism and the normal bowel movement.

Increases the risk of chronic diseases: Over consumption of maida can cause inflammation in the body. It can severely harm your heart, brain, skin, eyes and other body organs.

Heart disease: Maida may increase blood triglycerides, blood sugar levels and cause insulin resistance. All of these are major risk factors for heart disease.

The dark side of this refined flour is not an unknown fact anymore. Maida does not have any nutritional value but does have plenty of calories. The more maida you consume, the less likely you are to consume the essential nutrients that your body relies on. This refined flour can hurt your health. Do not get fooled seeing the labels on the products mentioning ‘enriched flour’. It is nothing but adding two to three vitamins at the cost of at least 10 vitamins during processing. Though foods made of maida are tempting and difficult to resist, however, at the same time the harm they cause to your body can not be ignored. Replace this evil king of flours with whole grains, like whole wheat, oatmeal, brown or wild rice. Opt for pizza, burger, pasta, bread, noodles, macroni etc made of whole wheat flour. They are easily available in food stores. Switching this eating style would minimise cravings for many people leading to fewer calorie intake and increased consumption of nutrients and fibre and thus fewer diseases.

Be wise while choosing all foods!