**This post is auto-published while I’m recovering from a tonsillectomy**
Unfortunately, grains- and carbohydrates in general- have gotten a bad reputation lately. Low-carb and gluten-free are the big diet fads right now, but you can have a perfectly healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight without limiting healthy grains.
The first step is to understand how to pick a healthy grain item from the whole grain family.
What does it mean if something is whole grain?
Whole grain means the entire part of the grain seed (the bran, endosperm and germ) are included in the product. Here is a great illustration from the Whole Grains Council:
What are they health benefits of whole grains?
Whole grains are good sources of fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B3.
What are some types of whole grains?
Wheat, brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, oats, corn, barley, and rye are a few. Here is a more comprehensive list that I found on the Whole Grains Council website.
What is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?
Whole wheat is a type of whole grain. You can have whole grain products that are not wheat, such as rice, quinoa, corn, etc.
When you’re checking out a nutrition label on grain products, check out the first ingredient. If you see the world WHOLE (whole grain, whole wheat, whole oat, whole corn) then you should be good. If you see the word ENRICHED then this should be a red flag.
Let’s look at this nutrition label:
This is where marketing can get you… “wheat flour” is bolded on the ingredient list but do you see where the ingredient is actually ENRICHED wheat flour? Notice that 1 slice of bread has <1g fiber. Not all whole grains have a ton of fiber but a slice of bread without at least 1g should tell you that the product is not made with enough whole wheat.
Here are some interesting studies:
This study found an association between fiber intake from cereal (particularly from whole grains) and lower body fat and abdominal fat in adults.
This study found an association between whole grain intake and lower blood pressure
In this study comparing whole grain vs. refined wheat consumption, the whole grain group experienced a greater loss in percentage of fat mass while the refined wheat group experienced an increase in serum total and LDL cholesterol.
These are just a few… there are a LOT of studies out there regarding the benefits of whole grains in the diet. It is unfortunate that there are some diet plans out there that drastically decrease or even eliminate them because whole grains can definitely be part of a healthy diet.
Thanks for stopping by Have a great day!