7 health risks associated with eating white flour
Refined flour is contained in many industrially processed and homemade food products. During the refinement process, the germ and the outer layer of the grain are removed, meaning many vitamins, minerals, proteins and other nutrients are also lost. Though many people are aware that white flour isn't particularly healthy, they consume it in great amounts anyway. That's why it's important to have a better understanding of the effects refined flour can have on your body.
Here are seven health risks that are associated with eating too much white flour...
White flour doesn't give you a feeling of fullness over time, as it contains hardly any roughage. Instead, it causes your sugar levels to skyrocket and drop again very quickly. This can leave you feeling very hungry and increasing the amount of food you eat. That's why you should opt for wholegrain products, as they will have you feeling fuller for longer.
2. Type 2 diabetes
A study from Finland has shown that the risk of getting type 2 diabetes decreases when you eat less white flour and increase the amount of rye flour in your diet. A spike in the blood sugar level prompts your body to release increased amounts of insulin. The starch is converted into sugar in the digestive tract and quickly makes its way into the bloodstream. Eating white flour regularly therefore makes you more susceptible to becoming resistant to insulin, which increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
3. Acid-base imbalance
The human body's acid-base balance should be around 7.4 (slightly alkaline). As many people's bodies have too much acidity, it's important to keep your acid-base levels in check. If your body remains too acidic over a long period of time, it can lead to a number of health issues and illnesses. An acid-base imbalance can cause your immune system to become weaker and prevent your bones from getting enough calcium. Other health risks include migraines, rheumatism or osteoporosis.
White flour contains gluten, a protein that can cause damage to the mucosa in your gut. Leaky gut syndrome as it is known increases your risk of your immune system overreacting, as shown in allergies or intolerance to foods. You're also more susceptible to infections in your body.
An American study has shown that consuming fast-releasing carbs can lead to depression. This is also due to the sharp fluctuations in the body's sugar level, causing various hormones to be released in response. This leads to mood swings and tiredness.
Consuming refined white flour can cause an inflammatory process called glycation. This is often associated with chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular conditions and arthritis. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels prevent the body from converting proteins to energy as effectively, resulting in an increase in inflammatory values.
7. Digestive problems
If you often have problems with constipation, you should reduce the amount of white flour you eat. During the refinement process, around 80% of the roughage contained within the grain is lost. These dietary fibers are key for healthy digestion.
Eating white flour can sometimes lead to flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, and loss of weight. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be gluten intolerant (celiac disease). White flour, rye flour, and barley flour contain gluten, so you should avoid foods with these products if you're suffering from celiac disease. If you're not gluten intolerant, it still makes sense to reduce the amount of white flour in your diet for the reasons listed above.