Highly processed white flour (alias "enriched wheat flour" or "wheat flour") is missing the two most nutritious and fiber-rich parts of the seed: the outside bran layer and the germ (embryo).
Why should I be aware of it?
When flour is refined, it is not just bran that is removed. The wheat germ, an important part of the grain containing oils and the nutrients in the grain that are responsible for the potential for life and growth in the grain, is removed also. The remaining white starch is relatively devoid of nutritional variety.
What is left of the grain is little more than a bit of simple carbohydrate, which converts so rapidly to sugar in the body that it is not far different from eating sugar directly.
All about refined flour
Maida, or refined flour, is a part of wheat flour that has no germ or bran. It is whiter, finer than wheat flour. Hence, it has more elasticity and has a longer shelf life and is used vastly for snacks and likes. But maida does have those properties that scientifically produce better breads, biscuits and what you like more… Cakes, pastries, pies and doughnuts.
Samosas and kachoris have their crisp jackets made of maida and waffles, pancakes and cakes get their soft light texture because of the white flour.
Great bread maker Maida also helps the other flours along. In my recipe bajre ki roti with raw banana stuffing, the bajra flour simply would not cooperate in holding the stuffing and then rolling. So the next best help was maida and voila, we got it right. The Singaporean staple roti prata is only maida with fat and sugar but the flaky layers are amazingly absorbent when dipped in curry. Reminiscent of our naan.
wheat that has been processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour. 60% extraction-the standard for most wheat products in the United States, including breads, noodles and pastas, baked goods like rolls or biscuits, and cookies-means that 40% of the original wheat grain was removed, and only 60% is left. Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain-its most nutrient-rich parts. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost.
Since 1941, laws in the United States have required "enrichment" of processed wheat flour with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and iron in response to the problems created by 60% extraction. Since not nearly as much of these B vitamins and iron are replaced as are removed from 60% extraction flour, "enriched" seems an odd word to describe this process.
Refined flour and health
A diet of refined foods leaves many women malnourished, constipated, enervated and vulnerable to chronic illness. Popping fiber, vitamins and mineral supplements, in the hope of compensating for what's missing from our diet, will not work. For just as "enriching" refined flour with spray-on nutrients can't make up for those lost during refining, health experts say supplements can never replace whole foods.
The more refined foods a person eats, the more insulin must be produced to manage it. Insulin promotes the storage of fat, making way for rapid weight gain and elevated triglyceride levels, which can lead to heart disease. Over time, the pancreas gets so overworked that insulin production grinds to a halt, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or diabetes sets in. Either way, the body is getting little or no fuel from the food you eat and tries to convert muscle and fat into energy.
Besides, refined/bleached flour and wheat products, is the fuel of infection and high blood sugar levels created by the consumption of these products decrease immune reservoir and response
List of Alternatives to Enriched White Flour
- Rye Flour
- Oat Flour
- Almond Meal
- Almond Flour
- Millet Flour
- Quinoa Flour
- Brown Rice Flour
- Whole Wheat Flour