Is refined flour bad for your health?
Refined white flour is being used widely in most of our foods, especially the prepackaged or ready to eat foods.
Refined flour should be eliminated or used minimally. Everyone should understand why it bad for you. Refined flour is unhealthy, hazardous to your gut, contains alloxan, and maybe bromated.
We are consuming refined flour every day in our lives, in the form of pizza, breads, buns, pastas and so on. These foods may taste good but are full of simple/refined carbohydrates that are very bad for you and promote weight gain.
Refined flour only contains the endo sperm, while the germ and the bran are removed to make it look good and taste sweet. This refining process removes most of the protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. As such many flours on the market are enriched, to add back some of the vitamins that are lost during processing.
Reasons to avoid refined flour:
- Consuming flour devoid of fiber regularly can lead to conditions such as fatty liver, increased cholesterol, weight gain, type 2 diabetes (1) and mood swings.
- Acidic: eating acidic food will cause calcium depletion from your bones. acidic foods also cause chronic inflammation.
- Digestive troubles: because it lacks fiber it is causes congestion in your gut, causing sluggish metabolism. As such it is called the “glue of the gut”. Fiber promotes better digestion, and helps prevent other ailments (diverticulosis, diverticulitis) (19).
- Additives: chlorine to bleach or potassium bromate to speed up natural process of sulfhydryl group removal. Bromate is an additive that speeds up the process of sulfhydryl group removal which helps with elasticity and the rising of breads. But this is also a level 2B carcinogen and banned by many countries (21, 22)
- Glycemic index: quickly digested and raises blood sugar and insulin levels and causes overeating/obesity (2, 3, 4, 5).
- Diabetes: alloxan (6) a byproduct of bleaching that destroys the insulin producing beta-cells of the pancreas and is toxic.
Why the risk of overeating and obesity?
Because refined flour is bleached and removed of it’s vital nutrients and fiber. As with any type of sugar consumed without it’s fiber to facilitate digestion, flour is also susceptible to the same issues.
So, refined flour digest quickly and raise your glycemic index and have a short lived effect of fullness. This leads to hunger and the desire to eat again (7, 8). Long term effect of refined carbs also causes increase in belly fat and inflammation (9, 10, 11). Whole grain flour will slow down digestion, and maintain pH of your colon (18). Recommended fiber intake for children and adults are 14 g/1000 kcal.
Why the risk of heart disease and obesity?
Refined carbs increase triglycerides and are linked to the development of type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance and high glucose levels. Diabetics are also at a very high risk of developing heart disease (12, 13, 14, 15).
What’s the bottom line?
Stay away from refined carbs as they have a negative effect on your health.
Carbohydrates are not all bad. Eat whole grains that contain fiber (16, 17), vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial for your health.
Good sources of healthy carbs are vegetables, fruits (not juices), legumes, root vegetables, and whole grains (20).
Avoid products with ingredients that you don’t know or recognize and avoid bromated flour.
All opinions in this article and web site are my own and from my reading/research and my certification as a sports nutritionist. They are not peer reviewed journal or sponsored publication. Before you make any changes to your diet please consult your physician as I don’t accept any liability injury or any detriments to your health due to nutritional changes made based on this post.