It is not an exaggeration to state that ‘parotta’ has become the household name among the hoteliers in south India. Its various types are simply mind-boggling; to cite a few-- it is known as ‘kothu parotta’, egg-spread ‘egg parotta’, oil-fried ‘Virudhunagar parota’ and a mammoth size ‘Malabar parota’. It seems to have become global with yet another variety known as ‘Sri Lanka parotta’. Parotta is now available from a platform shop to a palatial hotel, in effect.
Its Influence:- Parotta is the single word that is uniquely and universally found to be in the dictionaries of all waiters in any hotel – from platform to ethe Star hotel with or without GST. To put it in a nutshell, waiters would involuntarily utter this term to the customers without any second thought whatsoever.
Irrespective of age, people are prone to the temptation of eating parotta any time and naturally it has rather become increasingly inevitable. However, it is very essential that we must understand as to how parotta is made from maida flour and how maida is so harmful and deadly to our health.
Maida-the real culprit:- Maida is largely and liberally present in cakes, naan, biscuits, bread varieties, food items in the breakfast and lunch etc. Basically, the micro nutrients from the wheat are removed and due to commercial requirements, the beaten wheat is bleached artificially to make it look as white as possible. Benzoyl peroxide is mainly used in this process and the resultant product is extremely dangerous according to the medical world.
Prone to Diabetes:- Parotta mongers are easily prone to diabetic problem as it contains glycemic index in plenty. This will increase the sugar level in our blood immediately upon tasting the parotta. In addition to this, recent researches reveal that the chemical element, ‘alloxan’ which is used to whiten the maida would directly attack the pancreas and induce diabetes. In fact, the alloxan is the one which is used to artificially create diabetic condition in animals to find out the efficacy of the diabetic drugs. Maida-based parotta is very likely to cause diabetes, if eaten by us.
Non-infectious diseases:- One of the chief reasons for causing non-infectious diseases such as diabetes, obesity etc.is taking maida-based products which add calories only in our body. This will enormously increase the weight of a person, especially the children if they consume this. Oil-fried and maida-based items are sure to create obesity problem for a person by increasing the bad cholesterol(LDL) and it will ultimately lead to heart problems also.
Lack of fibre content in maida:- Maida is again an unhealthy food item in as much as it does not contain enough fibre content thus resulting in constipation. It is further described as ‘Glue of the gut’ since it gets stuck inside the stomach causing indigestion. It is time that the parotta lovers should watch their diet in order to stay healthy.
Origin of Maida:- Archaeological studies state that people used to crush wheat with the aid of stones to create many by-products including maida. Later, due to the advent of industrial revolution, these by-products were being generated with the help of machines. They found that the wheat had contained its germ inside it which was positively good along with few other inputs. However, this was again negatively responsible for its short life. They found that if they could remove the wheat germ and use it as flour they would be able to use the flour for a longer duration. This is how maida journeyed further. In this process, it was observed that the good elements such as vitamin B, zinc, copper, magnesium, manganese would also disappear. This made a section of the people to protest. However, they were able to convince them by adding some artificial whitening elements. This is how the presence of maida was made supreme and now it is called the most vital element of the earth in varied forms. After the second world war, maida has come to stay permanently.
What is strange is that while maida is largely prohibited in many countries, it is ruling the roost in India. Moreover, it is widely used in many forms in respect of Central and South East Asian countries. Sometime back, Kerala witnessed some protests against the use of maida but it was a short-lived phenomenon.
Many people are under the impression that the wheat is ground and the maida is prepared by whitening the same and hence all the values of wheat are being retained in maida also which is wrong. Adequate awareness of the ill-effects of maida should necessarily be spread among the people.
Final Caution:- There will be no harm if we take parotta or nann once in a while. But if we are in the practice of taking our breakfast with maida content and at 11 am consisting of biscuit and cake, followed by pizza and burger for lunch and panni poori like chat item in the evening, followed by the favourite parotta in the night, we will certainly have to face the consequences sooner or later. Precisely, the younger generation of today grossly suffers from this problem and it is not far off if we could see an advt saying that they would eat raw maida in a plate . It is indeed alarming!
Unless and otherwise, the present trend changes for the better, our nation is sure to become the capital city of not only obesity but also high blood pressure and related non-infectious diseases. It is high time the people of our country should realize the folly and correct at the earliest.
(This article written by Dr V Vikramkumar, MD(S) in Tamil has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)