Did you know that the maida you use at home to prepare all those delicious dishes is not as harmless as it seems? Ever wondered if maida is bad for your health? Well, it might be true!
There are quite a number of things we need to know about maida before even using it in our cooking. What are they? Read this post to find out!
Table Of Contents
Maida – An Overview
Maida, also known as refined flour, is a finer variety of wheat flour. Maida is usually made from the insides of the wheat grain. The insides are ground fine and bleached so that maida gets its characteristic white color. The insides of the wheat grain do not contain any fiber. The bleach used and the chemicals mixed with maida make it extremely soft (1).
Toxic Chemicals In Maida/All Purpose Flour
The refining process and the bleaching induce many toxic chemicals in maida. Other toxic chemicals used to preserve maida-rich foods are also harmful for the body. Let’s take a look at these chemicals:
1. Alloxan And Benzoyl Peroxide:
Alloxan and Benzoic Peroxide are two chemicals that feature in the refining process and the production of Maida.
Alloxan is a toxic agent that scientists use to induce diabetes in experimental rats for insulin testing (2). It destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, and regular consumption can lead to many complications, apart from Type 2 diabetes.
Benzoyl peroxide is the main whitening agent used in maida. Benzoyl peroxide is a toxic chemical that is also used in hair dyes and tooth whitening systems. Concentrated benzoyl peroxide is explosive (3), and can catch fire without ignition. Many studies hint at the potentially carcinogenic effects of the chemical. It can lead to skin irritation and other dangerous complications.
2. Mineral Oil And Ajinomoto:
Maida-rich processed foods like white bread, pasta, cakes, pizza base and burger buns are made using mineral oil or Ajinomoto. Ajinomoto has been banned by many governments as it can lead to potential kidney damage and failure.
Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum, diesel and kerosene that is used as a preservative for many foods (4). Food fried in mineral oil stays without getting spoilt for many days. In fact, even bacteria cannot sustain in mineral oil. However, the potential risks of mineral oil make it a dangerous proposition indeed.
Ajinomoto has been an integral part of Chinese cuisine. However, the Chinese government banned the use of this monosodium glutamate (MSG) as it can severely damage your kidney and even induce kidney failure.
Ajinomoto has a special characteristic. It improves the taste of food by enhancing your taste buds. Most maida-rich processed foods contain some amount of the chemical. Fried rice, soup and other foods have the highest concentration of MSG (5).
[ Read: Foods To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy ]
3. Other Chemicals:
Apart from the chemicals mentioned above, maida-rich foods contain other potentially hazardous chemicals like Sodium Meta Bisulphate (SMBS) and Benzoic acid. These chemicals can lead to many complications, especially in pregnant ladies and kids.
Maida And Diabetes
Now that you know what kinds of chemicals are used to produce and preserve maida-rich foods, you might want to know how maida is related to diabetes.
Maida is rich in alloxan, which induces diabetes. However, it is not the only reason you can contract diabetes.
Maida/ All purpose flour has an exceptionally high glycemic index, so it is digested quickly, which releases sugar into your bloodstream. The excess sugar in turn leads to an insulin spike. Regular consumption of maida or maida-rich processed and refined foods can cause inflammation, insulin resistance and eventually Type-2 diabetes.
If you fry your maida-rich products, then you face a greater risk of contracting diabetes. Fried maida-rich foods contain refined carbohydrates, which disrupt metabolism, induce inflammation, and even lead to Alzheimer’s or cancer.
So, is maida good for health? Well, no, it isn’t! Maida has many health hazards and contains too many toxic chemicals to be considered safe. Refrain from using maida too often; consider replacing it with healthier options like wheat flour.
Tell us if you found the information helpful? If you know of other facts about maida, share them with our readers by commenting in the box below.
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