Is maida difficult or easy to digest? A nutritionist breaks popular myth
Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi in his recent Instagram post claims that 'maida is not easily digested' is a myth.
Maida or all-purpose flour is an integral part of our life and while we try to minimise its consumption, we cannot really eliminate it from our food habits. It is there in your morning sandwich, in your momo when street food cravings set in and in your melt-in-mouth pastry when sweet cravings are just too difficult to resist. Also known as refined wheat flour, maida is a highly processed form of wheat flour that has had the bran and germ removed. However, unfortunately this process removes many of the nutrients and fibres found in the flour, which can have many negative effects on health and regular consumption of it can lead to obesity or weight gain, type 2 diabetes, heart disease or digestion issues like constipation, bloating and gas. (Also read: Noodles Day: Dietician offers tips to make your noodles healthy and nutritious)
Maida is also not considered good for your gut health as in lack of fibre it may stick to the passage of your digestive system and cause digestive troubles. Because maida causes digestive issues many people believe that it is difficult to digest or is super-slow to digest.
Nutritionist Bhuvan Rastogi in his recent Instagram post claims that 'maida is not easily digested' is a myth. Rastogi says that Maida in fact digests rapidly, resulting in sharp spike in blood glucose levels. The nutritionist says atta digests slowly as compared to maida and it has higher glycaemic index and more nutrients.
"If you search 'is maida difficult to digest?' you will see so many articles with polar opposite opinions. International articles will answer yes and Indian articles will say no. We in India have this notion floating around that Maida (refined flour) deposits in the stomach/ intestine and is not digested easily, even articles on many commonly read news platforms say the same," writes Rastogi.
The nutritionist says, "Maida is super easy to digest. In fact, it digests as fast as sugar and for this reason is bad for health."
He also explains the reason why he reached this conclusion and said that foods with higher fibre content digest slowly, "so any whole grain (example, atta) digests slowly when compared to maida."
Supporting his claims with numbers, Bhuvan Rastogi says that glycaemic index is a number that defines how fast food digests and raises blood sugar levels and higher the GI it has the worse it is. Numerous studies show an association between higher glycaemic index and increased risk of type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
"GI of table sugar: 70-75; GI of white bread: 70-75; the GI of atta roti is about 55-65 (as atta has more fibre than maida). Anything above 70 is considered high GI," says Rastogi.
In nutshell maida is easy to digest but raises your blood sugar and one must thus avoid its excessive consumption.