Maida is a finely milled and 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 Pakistani/Indian fast food, Indian bakery products such as pastries and bread, varieties of sweets and sometimes in making traditional Afghani/Pakistani/Indian breads such as paratha and naan.
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 is used in Central Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine. Maida is used as an adhesive for wall posters in India.
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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- China Daily (2011-03-01). China bans two food additives in flour. ChinaDaily, 1 March 2011. Retrieved from http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-03/01/content_12100980.htm.
- Author unknown (date unknown). FAQ. Flour Advisory Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.fabflour.co.uk/faq/3/31/is-flour-still-bleached.html[dead link].
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