Demystifying Whole Grains

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Demystifying Whole Grains - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. Whole grain means that the grain has not been processed to the point where the healthy parts, basically, have been removed. So, a whole grain will still contain the germ portion which has the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and it will still contain the bran portion which has most of the fiber. The refined grains, like white flour and white rice, pretty much just have the starch portion left, the endosperm, and that is pretty much just the calories, the carbs. And so, in fact, refined grains have to be enriched, meaning vitamins have to be added back in because of the fact that everything was stripped away. That is why usually white flour is labeled enriched wheat flour. So, it is important to keep in mind that the word whole is very important when you are shopping for grains because wheat bread, the term wheat bread, just simply means it is made from wheat. All white bread is made from wheat, it is just that it is highly refined. So, a lot of wheat breads will be colored brown, actually, with molasses or caramel color, so they look brown. It kind of is tricky. You think it is wheat. You will notice in those breads that the texture is very similar to white bread. So, in whole grain breads the texture will have more body to it, a little bit nuttier. You want to look at, and try to get 100 percent whole wheat, or whole grain bread. A lot of breads will be labeled multi-grain. That is a little tricky because the multi-grain breads may have many different grains, but they are not necessarily whole grains, and a lot of times the first ingredient is still enriched white flour. When the first ingredient is still enriched wheat flour, which means white flour, that means the majority, or the largest amount of flour, is white flour, because the first ingredient is always going to be what there is most of. You do want to look for whole grains. Now, having said that, you still have room in your diet for half of your grains to be refined grains because the USDA recommends that half of your grains be whole. So, it is not going to be the end of the world if get a bread that has some whole grain and some white flour. So, just balancing out your day, making sure that at least for half of your day, your grains are whole. The other half of your day your grains can be either whole or white flour.