From delectable treats like Samosa, Bhature, Momos, Naan, Tandoori Roti to popular international dishes like Pizza and Noodles, one common ingredient binds them all – Maida, also known as all-purpose flour or refined white flour. Despite its widespread use and irresistible taste when cooked, Maida has earned the ominous moniker of “white poison.” Let’s delve into the reasons behind this label and explore its adverse effects on health.
The roots of Maida trace back over 32,000 years, when Italians commenced grinding grains to create flour. This process gradually evolved from coarser grinding to the finer consistency we recognize today. In ancient Egypt, around 5,000 years ago, efforts were made to refine coarsely ground flour by separating fine and coarse particles. This marked the initial emergence of Maida.
Symbol of Status
Initially, grinding Maida was time-consuming and expensive, rendering it a luxury reserved for the elite. Thus, Maida became synonymous with affluence, while commoners relied on coarser stone mill flour. Over time, advancements in England led to even finer forms of Maida.
Although it was a delicacy among the elite, Maida offers limited nutritional benefits. During processing, it loses essential fiber, vitamins, and minerals due to removal of bran and germ. Dominated by carbohydrates with low protein content, Maida has a high glycemic index causing rapid blood sugar spikes. Compared to whole wheat flour, Maida’s nutritional value is notably inferior, making it best consumed in moderation within a balanced diet.
Modern Maida production involves bleaching with chemicals like ‘benzoyl peroxide,’ akin to hair dye, to achieve its characteristic whiteness. Additionally, ‘Alloxan’ is added to enhance softness. These chemicals pose potential harm to the human body upon consumption.
The digestion time for Maida varies, influenced by metabolism, overall diet, and the specific dish prepared. Generally, refined carbs like Maida are digested faster than whole grains. On average, Maida takes 2 to 4 hours for complete digestion and absorption. Yet, digestion is complex and can be influenced by factors like dish composition, cooking methods, and portion sizes.
Maida’s consumption isn’t deemed healthy due to its potential to cause nutrient deficiencies, weaken immunity, and facilitate disease. Harvard University’s research links refined flour intake to impaired brain function, memory loss, and dementia. Prolonged Maida consumption can weaken bones, elevate blood sugar, and contribute to diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart ailments according to reports from NCBI.
The reputation of Maida as the “white poison” stems from its depleted nutritional content, chemical processing, and adverse health consequences. While its taste is enticing, mindful consumption and awareness of its potential impacts are essential to make informed dietary choices.
For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!