Top 5 Reasons to Stop Consuming Refined Flour
by Healthy Homestead Team
A week ago
Have you ever had a bowl of pasta? Of course you’ve had. Most of us have tried pasta, bread, or some other pastry made of white flour. White, or refined flour, is a highly refined substance used in a variety of processed foods and baked goods. The reason for its wide usage is simple. White flour is light, airy, and extremely cheap. The downside is that refined flour is completely stripped of its nutrient value.
What is refined flour?
To understand what is refined flour, we have to talk about grains for a moment. There are three parts of a whole grain. Those are the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran, which is the outer coating, contains fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin B. Germ is the innermost layer, which is also high in B vitamins, but also minerals, protein, and fat. The endosperm is the middle part, and it is the starchy part of the grain, composed mostly of carbs.
When refined flour is made, companies remove the bran and the germ, leaving you only with empty carbs. Because of that, refined flour is more shelf-stable, but the nutrient value is completely lost. In many ways, refined flour is actually harmful to our health.
Popular foods that contain white and refined flour include bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, pretzels, chips, crackers, cereals, pizza crust, muffins, pie crust, and doughnuts. With that in mind, here are the five most important reasons why you should try and avoid refined flour.
Why refined flour is bad?
When you consume refined flour, you are basically consuming empty carbs. The flour contains no micro and macronutrients, all of which are needed to feel satiated and full. Yes, in some cases, the flour might be enriched with vitamins and minerals, but they have been added artificially.
These synthetic nutrients are not really bioavailable. Refined flour is associated with increase in visceral and subcutaneous abdominal body fat. Consuming it for a prolonged period will definitely result in weight gain, and sometimes even severe cases of obesity. Your cholesterol levels can also go up.
Increased blood sugar
Refined flour has a high glycemic index. This is the scale that rates the speed at which food increases blood sugar levels. Consuming white and refined flour will jack up the levels of insulin, a hormone that is released by the pancreases. Insulin works to facilitate the movement of sugar into cells for energy. But when you consume high glycemic foods, there is a hyper-insulin response. All of these spikes can result in increased blood sugar long-term, which is the “perfect breeding ground” for diabetes type-2.
For a healthy digestion, we need fiber. And as we mentioned previously, refined flour is stripped of the layers that contain fiber. Whole grains are packed with fiber, but refined flour is not. Fiber helps regulate digestion, eliminate toxins, and improve bowel movement. Whole grains also improve the gut flora, and keep balance between good and bad bacteria in check. Refined flour will not provide those benefits, and instead, it might cause spikes in bad bacteria in the gut.
The root of all problems nowadays. Stress and inflammation are the two main causes of multiple diseases and conditions. Inflammation is linked with digestion. Without a healthy digestion, your gut becomes inflamed. Inflammation in the gut can cause diabetes, heart disease, and much more. And refined flour raises the levels of inflammatory markers in the blood.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a long-term medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated. There might not be symptoms, and that is why hypertension is called the “silent killer”. When hypertension causes symptoms, it is usually too late. Hypertension is one of the leading sources of death in the world.Studies show that consuming large amounts of refined grains can increase the risk of heart disease.