6 Consequences You Can Suffer from Eating Refined Flour

Did you know that the consumption of refined flours may be linked to an increased risk of depression?
6 Consequences You Can Suffer from Eating Refined Flour
Elisa Morales Lupayante

Reviewed and approved by the pedagogue in physical education and nutritionist Elisa Morales Lupayante.

Last update: 29 July, 2023

Refined flour is part of the regular diet of millions of people around the world and, although there have been warnings about its consumption, many are still unaware of how harmful eating refined flour can be to health.

This product goes through a series of industrial processes that, unfortunately, reduce its nutritional quality and properties.

Even though, in minimal quantities, it doesn’t cause significant effects, its excessive and frequent intake can produce some undesirable reactions in the body.

The most worrying thing is that you find it in many food products on the market and, because of this, it’s difficult to curb its consumption.

However, it’s important for everyone to know the consequences of eating refined flour in excess so they can at least try to limit it as much as possible in their diets.

Consequences of eating refined flour

1. It increases the risk of diabetes

Refined flour can cause diabetes.

People who eat this ingredient every day have a higher risk of suffering from diabetes compared to those who choose wholemeal flour.

  • They contain high levels of simple carbohydrates, which produce high sugar peaks when they aren’t used as energy sources for the body.
  • Specifically, amylopectin, one of its carbohydrates, is easily converted into sugar and affects blood glucose levels.

2. It can cause you to put on weight

Food made with refined flour or refined sugar is most to blame for the increase in body weight and metabolic difficulties, according to this research carried out by the Hospital La Paz in Madrid.

  • The consumption of this ingredient is one of the biggest obstacles for those seeking to lose weight healthily.
  • Its carbohydrates slow down the rate of metabolism and, by increasing blood glucose, this increases the accumulation of fat, especially in the abdominal area.
  • In addition, as they aren’t satiating, they increase food cravings.

3. It hinders digestion

A woman with indigestion.


One of the characteristics of this type of flour is that, due to the process it’s subjected to, most of its dietary fiber disappears.

As a result of this, after being ingested, diseases in the digestive system and colon can occur.

  • The low amount of fiber causes difficulty in the digestion of food and, in turn, generates constipation and inflammation. In fact, they are foods not recommended in diets for this condition.
  • In addition, it also produces alterations in the bacterial flora of the intestine, increasing gas, indigestion, and pain.

4. It increases the risk of inflammatory diseases

People exposed to risk factors for inflammatory diseases such as arthritis should exclude this ingredient from their diet plans.

  • Although in minimal portions it doesn’t produce significant reactions, its regular intake can trigger inflammatory responses by the immune system.
  • This is attributed to the imbalances it produces in blood glucose, which interferes with the functions that transform proteins into energy sources for the body.
  • When it accumulates, it generates a reaction called glycation, which produces an inflammatory process in healthy tissues.

5. They can produce intolerances

Intolerance to gluten.

Food intolerances produce inflammatory reactions in the body and a wide variety of digestive symptoms that affect the quality of life. These can be caused by long-term exposure to additives and chemicals present in processed foods, as stated in this report (only in Spanish) from the Centre Mèdic Atlàntida (Barcelona).

Refined flours contain high levels of gluten, a type of protein that is difficult to digest and which can cause this type of problem.

6. They can increase the risk of depression

While eating refined foods produces a slight sensation of momentary pleasure, the accumulation of their carbohydrates is related to the tendency to have depression and feel low, as stated in this study conducted by the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon (Mexico).

  • These substances, which raise blood glucose, alter brain chemistry and produce a feeling of physical and mental fatigue.
  • They’re linked to sleep disorders and reduced productivity during daily tasks.
  • Far from giving the body energy, they create a feeling of fatigue and drowsiness.
  • This explains why, after eating them, some people feel a bit down and feel the need to take a nap.

Do you usually consume this food as part of your regular diet? If so, try to take steps to start limiting your intake as soon as possible.

Although it’s difficult to eliminate it completely from your diet, there are many healthy alternatives that help to replace it in a wide variety of recipes.

Although you may think that it isn’t bad for you, after reducing its consumption you’ll notice the benefits in your body.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Febles, C. I., Arias, A., Hardisson, A., Rodríguez-Alvarez, C., & Sierra, A. (2002). Phytic acid level in wheat flours. Journal of Cereal Science. https://doi.org/10.1006/jcrs.2001.0441
  • Robin, F., Théoduloz, C., & Srichuwong, S. (2015). Properties of extruded whole grain cereals and pseudocereals flours. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijfs.12893
  • Bhatt, S. M., & Gupta, R. K. (2015). Bread (composite flour) formulation and study of its nutritive, phytochemical and functional properties. ~ 254 ~ Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.