Be it chapati, paranthas, puris, theplas and even pancakes , bread and muffins - Atta always seems to find a way in our recipes. But is atta the healthiest choice for us ?
With the new nutrition fads encouraging alternatives such as suji and besan,the feud of atta vs maida , oats , besan and suji has everyone confused over the years.
For someone an atta roti might seem to rank nutrition wise , for someone else - a piece of bread , besan ka chill and suji upma might seem better. With everyone seeking the best for their health, how does one go about choosing the best ?
In this article, we'll explore the health and nutritional benefits of Atta , Maida, Besan and Suji to come to a simple answer to this question.
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How are Atta and Maida Different ?
Despite their different culinary characteristics, choosing between atta or maida isn’t easy. However, having a brief overview about their differences can help you make informed choices regarding which one to use for cooking.
While atta is made from grinding the entire wheat grain along with its bran, germ and endosperm - maida is processed only with the endosperm, leaving out the bran and the germ.
The continuous grinding results in the coarse texture of the atta, and maida has a comparatively finer texture and lighter color.
When it comes to nutritional content, atta consists of more natural fibers, vitamins and minerals but maida falls short in its nutritional value because bran and germ are not present in it.
Even when it comes to cooking, atta is used as a staple to make roti, chapati, and paratha but maida is used majorly in cakes and pastries. Thanks to the high fiber content and low glycemic index of atta - that’s the reason you eat chapati as a meal and pastry as a snack.
Usage: Atta vs Maida
Atta and maida have fairly different uses in cooking due to their difference in texture and properties. As atta has a rustic, raw, and slightly grainy flavor along with the coarse texture - it is used as a staple in the regular Indian cuisine. On the other hand, maida is primarily used for baking due to its fluffier, lighter, and powdery texture - thus, generally used to make cookies and confectionaries.
Consequently, as atta has more nutritional properties, and has a much higher fiber content - it is used as a staple in many Indian homes. Maida can, however, be used in moderation then and now when you want to relish some baked foods.
Health Benefits: Atta vs Maida
If you are still a bit confused about which one to go for - atta or maida - knowing the differences between their health benefits can help take the right decision:
As atta retains the germ and the bran of the wheat grain, it retains its high fiber content, minerals and vitamins. Maida doesn’t consist of the two and thus has a comparatively lower nutrient content. Besides, atta comprises potassium and magnesium, which contributes to your overall health.
Atta happens to be rich in dietary fiber that not only aids digestion but also maintains the bowel movement of the body. However, maida significantly has lower fiber content due to the removal of bran from it, which results in digestive issues and spiked insulin levels.
Blood Sugar Control
As atta has a lower glycemic index compared to maida, it causes a slower and more gradual absorption in the body. Thus, it doesn’t lead to the sudden spike in the insulin levels and ultimately keeps your blood sugar in control.
If you have been struggling to keep your weight in check, but can’t give up on carbs - then, atta happens to be a much healthier alternative than maida. Wondering why?
Well, the higher fiber content in atta keeps you full for long and increases satiety in your body. And, when you feel full, your appetite is in control and thus the chances of you indulging in junk snacks also goes down.
On the contrary, as maida doesn’t have much fiber content, it increases the body’s glycemic index and results in weight gain if consumed in excess.
Atta Vs. Oats, Besan, and Suji
Besan , Oats and Suji are gaining a lot of popularity these days for their health benefits. One can find different recipes as well with them substituting for atta. But can they replace our daily dose of Atta ?
In this section, we'll discuss how they rank against Atta.
Atta vs Besan
If you’re overwhelmed seeing all the latest besan recipes online and wondering which one to choose between atta vs besan, then let’s clear the confusion once and for all.
Atta consists of the bran and germ from the wheat grain which shoots up its nutritional value and fiber content - and can thus provide sustained energy and better digestion.
On the other hand, besan has a different nutrient profile with higher protein and essential amino acids but it doesn’t have much fiber content.
Next up, atta has a comparatively finer texture compared to the coarser texture of besan and is thus used to make dough for rotis and chapatis.
On the contrary, the coarser texture of besan is usually used for frying pakoras, fritters and snacks. In comparison to atta, besan’s batter consistency is thicker and stickier and can be adjusted according to personal preferences.
However, whether you want to go for atta or besan completely depends on your taste preferences, health profile, and the recipe you’re trying out.
Atta vs Oats
Even though atta and oats have a different nutritional profile over all, it can be tricky to decide which one to go for to ensure better health. While both oats and atta have a higher content of dietary fiber in them, atta supasses oats and contributes more fiber content to your body.
Unlike atta, oats happen to be dense in calories. If you are someone who is used to a bigger portion size, it can be quite an issue for you because instead of losing weight, you might end up gaining more calories. However, individuals who want to gain weight will surely benefit from this.
If you are someone with a gluten intolerance and is considering shifting to oats because of the issue, then let us break your bubble - because only the steel-cut oats are completely gluten-free. But the price point and availability of such premium oats can often become a challenge for the individuals while atta is comparatively cheaper and easily accessible.
Atta vs Suji
Even though suji or semolina is often glorified for the array of recipes it is used in, atta happens to be quite a competitor in this case. While there’s bran and germ present in the atta that makes it high in fiber - suji lacks it due to the rigorous processing it undergoes and results in loss of certain nutrients. Thus, the digestive power of atta is much more in comparison to suji and ultimately benefits your gut health.
Between atta vs suji, suji is on the higher side of the glycemic index, which can result in a rapid rise of blood sugar levels. Compared to suji, atta has a much lower glycemic index which results in slower absorption of glucose in the bloodstream. For the individuals who want to keep their blood sugar in check, atta is surely a better alternative.
FAQs- Atta Vs. Maida, Oats, Besan, and Suji - Which is Best for Health?
Which flour is better for gut health and digestion?
When it comes to weight management and digestion, whole wheat flour is generally considered a better choice compared to any refined flours. Atta happens to be high in fiber, content which aids in digestion and promotes satiety helping to manage weight.
Besides, due to the fiber content, atta supports a healthy gut microbiome and can regulate healthy blood sugar levels. Incorporating whole wheat flour in regular balanced diets adds to your body’s nutrition requirements as well, which works wonders for optimal weight management and digestive health.
Which flour is better for baking and cooking different dishes?
All-purpose flour or maida happens to be a versatile ingredient when it comes to baking and cooking various dishes - especially, cakes, muffins, cookies, breads, and more. Due to its sticky and thicker texture, it is also used for adding a concentrated texture to gravies and curries.
When it comes to consumption, atta happens to be a comparatively healthier choice because of its high nutritional content, fiber content, glycemic index and processing type.
With its higher bran and germ content of the wheat grain, Khapli atta comes with numerous nutrients and high dietary fiber content - promoting digestion and better metabolic health. Last but not the least, atta has a much lower glycemic index and results in better blood sugar management.
So, while it’s fine to indulge in maida then and now and spice up your routine using besan and suji recipes, there can’t be any better alternative to atta when it comes to regular consumption.