All grains (wheat, corn, rice, barley, etc.) come from the earth as whole grains. A whole grain includes the entire kernel of the plant-bran, germ and endosperm. The kernel is protected from the environment by an outer layer or husk. To be termed a whole grain on a food label, 100% of the original kernel (excluding the husk) must be present in the food in all the same proportions as it was in nature.
The whole grain can be in-tact, cracked, split or ground in the product.
Refining a grain typically removes the bran and germ, leaving only the endosperm. This is significant because a good bit of nutrition is lost, including protein, fiber and other nutrients. Processors add nutrients back (terming the grain “enriched”) but the health value of enriched grains still lacks in comparison to whole grains.
There is overwhelming evidence of the positive health benefits of a diet that includes whole grains such as lower risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Gluten sensitive or intolerant? Not to worry, there are plenty of gluten free grains to offer the whole grain benefits: amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, montina, oats, quinoa, sorghum, teff, and wild rice.
If you’re seeking whole grains, make them from scratch at home (quinoa, wild rice) or search for the word “whole” in front of the grain name of an ingredient list on a products like breads or cereals.
Weight Management Tip: Whole grains provide the same calories per serving as refined grains so continue to be mindful of portions but the additional nutritional value, texture, and flavor make a great addition to any meal plan!
The Weight Management Center is offering a 10% “Educator’s Special” on our most popular programs through October. Contact us for details or to get started.