7 Negative Effects of Refined Flour

Since fiber and essential nutrients have already been eliminated during the process of refinement, eating foods made with refined flour can cause inflammation, constipation, and indigestion.
7 Negative Effects of Refined Flour
Elisa Morales Lupayante

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

Last update: 10 October, 2022


Eating refined flour is a common practice around the world. In spite of warnings about its negative effects, many people continue to add it to their daily diets. Although this product has been a part of our consumption for hundreds of years, today it’s well-known that the process of refinement can greatly reduce its nutritional quality.

What’s most disturbing is that eating refined flour is practically inevitable. After all, in addition to being sold on its own, it’s also the primary ingredient in countless products sold in stores and restaurants today. Because of this, we want you to know what it can do to your body. Discover why it’s important to limit its consumption as much as possible!

1. It causes an acid-alkaline imbalance

Effect of flour on bodily functions

Regular consumption of refined flour can have negative effects on your body’s pH levels. This is because it alters the acid-alkaline balance that regulates your various bodily functions.  A healthy person has a pH of around 7.4. However, when you consume this type of food, the acidity level can increase at an alarming rate.

  • As a result, your body has trouble maintaining normal levels of calcium, compromising your bone health.
  • In addition, it also has a negative impact on your immune system and metabolic health.

Do you want to know more? See: 8 effortless detox tips

2. It increases your blood sugar

Contrary to what many people think, sugar intake isn’t the only thing that causes high blood sugar. The large amounts of carbohydrates found in white flour can strongly influence the development of this health problem. Amylopectin, one of those carbohydrates, is easily converted into blood sugar and increases your risk of diabetes.

3. It causes weight gain

Person on scale looking at weight gain

Eating foods made with refined flour is one of the main problems for people who are trying to lose weight. A small weekly portion won’t carry as much risk with it. However, if you consume these foods every day, it affects your metabolism. Even more, it causes you to gain weight.

This is due to the high carbohydrate content. In addition to increasing your glucose levels, it also causes you to accumulate fat. Added to that, eating refined foods can trigger more food cravings, causing you to continue to eat them in large quantities.

4. It can affect your digestive health

Unlike whole grain flours, refined flour lacks the fiber and essential nutrients that optimize your digestion. 80% of the dietary fiber is lost. Thus, when you eat these foods, it affects your body’s inflammatory processes and interferes with the breakdown of food

As a result, the microbial flora of your intestines is altered, which increases episodes of constipation and indigestion.

5. It causes inflammation

Doctor looking at inflammation of a patient

This kind of food should be avoided if you have been diagnosed with inflammatory diseases. This is because the refined compounds increase inflammation levels in the tissues of the body. More so, this is due to blood sugar imbalances that affect the conversion of proteins into energy.

Consuming refined flour triggers a chemical reaction known as glycation. This is an inflammatory process that’s been linked to chronic diseases like arthritis and cardiovascular problems.

6. It increases your risk of allergies and food intolerance

Wheat, thanks to its high gluten content, is one of the main triggers for allergies and food intolerances. Similarly, the body has a harder time digesting this protein. Also, it can cause an inflammatory response that affects many different aspects of your health.

Visit this article: 10 most common skin allergies

7. It can cause depression

Woman with depression

In addition, the carbohydrates found in refined flour have been identified as having negative effects on emotional health. As well as being more difficult to digest, this ingredient alters brain chemistry and causes feelings of chronic fatigue and insomnia. While some people may think it provides them with energy, it actually affects both your physical and mental states, decreasing your productivity.

How often do you consume foods made with white or refined flour? If you’re eating these items on a regular basis, consider trying to limit your intake. Healthier alternatives should replace products made with white flours.

Flour is probably one of the main ingredients in your recipes. However, there are plenty of other interesting alternatives that you can enjoy without putting your health at risk.

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.

  • Reynolds AN, Akerman AP, Mann J. Dietary fibre and whole grains in diabetes management: Systematic review and meta-analyses. PLoS Med. 2020 Mar 6;17(3):e1003053. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1003053. PMID: 32142510; PMCID: PMC7059907.
  • Ting R, Dugré N, Allan GM, Lindblad AJ. Ketogenic diet for weight loss. Can Fam Physician. 2018 Dec;64(12):906. PMID: 30541806; PMCID: PMC6371871.
  • Della Corte KW, Perrar I, Penczynski KJ, Schwingshackl L, Herder C, Buyken AE. Effect of Dietary Sugar Intake on Biomarkers of Subclinical Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Intervention Studies. Nutrients. 2018 May 12;10(5):606. doi: 10.3390/nu10050606. PMID: 29757229; PMCID: PMC5986486.

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