When watching our weight and attempting to stick with diets, we’re told about a long laundry list of foods to stay away from: processed/refined sugars, butters, oils and other fats, too many carbohydrates, too much protein (believe it or not), junk food and fast food in general, foods high in sodium, and the list goes on and on and on. But has anyone ever sounded the alarm over refined flour?
Is White Flour, Fast Food like?
Depending on whom you ask, refined flour might not be that bad for you. And it technically isn’t when eaten in moderation. After all, a turkey sandwich on white bread for lunch is very healthy for you. A turkey sandwich on whole wheat, however, is really where you want to be at.
So, you think that it’s not anything like processed sugar, it’s not really junk food, it’s certainly not fast food either, so why is refined flour a bad thing for you if you’re dieting? Well, there are a couple of reasons for this. One, it’s not really packing the nutritional punch you might expect, and two it’s not really handled well at all by our digestive systems.
Any white flour you find is going to be refined. If it says enriched, bleached, or any other similar labeling, then it has been processed to the point of disrepair and really presents little nutritional value now.
Why Should You Avoid White Flour?
For starters, refined flour has been incredibly broken down. It is now missing the two most nutritional parts of the wheat and is also missing the essential fiber that used to be located within the seed. The outside layer, the bran, and the inside embryo, the germ, have been removed from refined flour and what you’re left with is basically a straight-up processed carbohydrate, showing little difference in your digestive system from processed sugars.
What types of problems can a diet high in refined flour cause?
Well, you’ll have to contend with malnutrition if your main source of food is refined flour. Even enriched flour, with “nutrients” sprayed on, is just as unhealthy for you. No type of supplement can replace the benefits of whole foods, and enriched flour will provide no real punch for your body.
Some of the more immediate problems will include chronic constipation. Instead of providing your digestive system with the fiber it needs, the refined flour will soak up the necessary water in your digestive tract and leave you with stiffer stools or even unable to use the bathroom.
There’s also the undeniable weight gain associated with refined flours. As previously mentioned, your body will treat this type of flour like it will treat processed sugars. You’re basically ingesting dead calories here and, if eaten often enough, the refined flour will cause rapid weight gain.
Make sure to purchase whole grain flours and to avoid any refined, enriched or processed flours when shopping or eating.