Maida is a finely milled refined and bleached (either naturally due to atmospheric oxygen or using other chemical bleaches) wheat flour, closely resembling cake flour, and used extensively in making Indian fast food, Indian bakery products such as pastries and bread, varieties of sweets and in making traditional Indian breads such as paratha, naan, kulcha and rumali roti. In the name of all-purpose flour, Maida is also used worldwide in making of pizza crust, white bread and tortilla.
Maida is a finely milled flour and is usually refined using a fine mesh of 600 mesh per inch (236 mesh per centimeter). In south India, which does not have wheat farms locally, wheat is imported in trucks and rakes and then milled. A common misunderstanding is that tapioca is converted into maida, rava, atta, and bran.
Originally yellowish, maida is popular in a white color, bleached with Azodicarbonamide, chlorine gas, benzoyl peroxide, or other bleaches. The use of benzoyl peroxide in food is banned in China and the European Union, as alternative processing methods are available
Maida contains trace amounts of alloxan, which is an undesirable side product of the chemical changes that give it softness and white color. Large amounts of alloxan is known to destroy beta cells in the pancreas of rodents and other species, causing diabetes mellitus, 
Maida has been linked with diabetes due the presence of bleaching agent alloxen and known to cause blood sugar imbalances, have negative influence on Insulin. Certain studies have shown that consuming maida makes people become prone to kidney stones and heart disease. Maida contains anti-nutrients which can affect the digestive process. Scientists have known, for years, the connection between alloxen and diabites. Alloxan is defined as "an oxidised product of uric acid that tend to destroy the islet cells of the pancreas, thus producing diabetes (alloxan diabetes)" DNA of Beta cells in Pancreas are prone to be damaged due to activities of free radicals initiated by uric acid derivative. This condition leads to type 2 diabetes. Some natural food studies have called alloxan as "a potent beta-cell toxin". The Parotta made of Maida is considered, by some doctors, as not an healthy food because of presence of alloxan.
Maida is used in Central Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Maida is used as an adhesive for wall posters in India. In South India maida is used for making "Parotas" which is very popular when its served with its gravy known as 'salna'.People of all ages fond of it for its delicious taste. Pastry flours available in United States may be used as a substitute for maida. Flour of whole wheat, which includes part of the brown outer layer known as bran, is often considered healthier than maida flour as it contains a higher level of dietary fibre (around 2-3g per 100g as opposed to 0.3g in maida flour). Consuming breads and foods made with whole-wheat flours are recommended instead of maida for maximum nutrition.
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