Carbohydrates are a necessary as well as controversial nutrient, since not any hydrate is good and at the moment of choosing we must know how to differentiate their source foods very well. That’s why today we talk about refined flours: the keys to locate them and the reasons to avoid them in your diet .
Why should we avoid refined flours?
We speak of refined flours when we refer to those whole grains that have undergone an industrial processing in order to render their particle finer, more digestible and therefore have lost much of their fiber as well as their nutritional quality.
Refined flours are easily digested compared to the whole grain that gave rise to them, so these and their derivatives are foods with a high glycemic index which indicates that their consumption rapidly raises the glucose in our blood.
Frequent intake of this type of high-glycemic food can induce metabolic changes in our body that generate, among other things, an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and infertility , according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
As if that were not enough, the refined flours consumed alone, do not quench and may even have an addictive effect of the pleasurable response triggered by easily absorbed hydrates in the body.
Since refined flours provide poor quality energy that we can replace perfectly with whole grains, fruits and / or fresh vegetables with lower glycemic index, more vitamins and minerals, these are perfectly avoidable ingredients and whose reduction in the daily diet can benefit us significantly.
In fact, whole grains or good sources of fiber that have low glycemic index, are associated with better health because of its anti-inflammatory power that reduces the probability of suffering metabolic diseases.
So refined flours are not an essential food in our diet but we can perfectly replace them with healthier options that protect the body.
Keys to locating and reducing refined flours in our diet
The refined flours surround us and proof of this we can find in our kitchen if we analyze the ingredients of each of the products that we have at hand.
The wheat flour as such, white, is refined flour and anything that contains it is the source of this ingredient at all necessary, for example, biscuits, commercial snacks, pastries, white bread, pastas, pizzas and many more products.
Although we can assume that a breakfast cereal is made with refined flour, the key to locating them is to look at their list of ingredients, because we will only know if a food includes wheat flour, starch, starch or other refined flour.
We will be surprised of the great variety of products that contain refined flours, because even cold meats and sausages can include the same among their ingredients as we can see in this example of cooked ham:
Pork (45%), water, starch, salt, sugar, antioxidant (E-316), stabilizers (E-451, E-407, E-412), soy protein, dextrose, flavorings, 250), smoke flavor, colorant (E-120) and flavor enhancer (E-621).
In addition to sugar, this product has starch among its ingredients, which is used to give solidity and homogeneity to many industrial foods, and between stabilizers can also find starches in addition to gelatins.
The key to locating refined flours is to look at the list of ingredients, but above all, to think that we can avoid the same if we dispense with processed foods and we aim for a more natural diet, with more fresh ingredients and less products, Refined flours are per se, creation of the food industry.
Good alternatives to refined flour
If we have decided to reduce refined flours in our diet, in addition to avoiding processed foods, we can turn to some healthy alternatives :
- Integral flours : wheat, rye, spelled or others, wholemeal flours can be used with the same purpose as refined flours, but unlike flours, they have more fiber, lower glycemic index, more protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Oats : oats as such are not a refined cereal, but are an option that retains much of its original grain and can therefore be a good alternative to make biscuits, baked goods and many other healthy preparations .
- Quinoa : like oats, quinoa is a whole grain that can be used as a substitute for refined flour and derivatives, for baked goods, for a porridge, stew or other type of dishes .
- Bran : from oats, wheat or other cereals, bran is the part that concentrates much of the fiber, minerals and vitamins of the grain, so its use to make breads for example, can help us achieve dishes with lower glycemic index , More satiating and healthy.
These are some healthier options for refined flours that we need to learn to locate and try to reduce in our diet if we seek to protect the health of the body first and foremost.