Grains come in all different varieties and can be categorized as whole grain or refined grain. Whole grain is simply what it sounds like, the entire grain: bran, endosperm and germ. The diagram gives a visual of a whole grain’s parts and it’s benefits. In comparison, refined grains have been processed to remove the bran and germ, leaving just the endosperm. Just like with your diet, you need several pieces to complete the puzzle. The grain is no different; we want all the parts for all the benefits.
I’ve found that amongst all the tricky labels and terms allowed on foods these days, a few common ones are stumping people who are making an effort to be healthy.
Whole wheat: a variety of whole grain!
Enriched: some of the good stuff is added back in after processing, but not all of it
Multigrain: multiple grains used, not necessarily WHOLE
Made with whole grains: made with how many whole grains? 2%? We don’t know!
Wheat: just a grain, not WHOLE
So how do you know what to buy? First, if a product is in fact 100% whole grain, the company will proudly state that. Second, look at the label! Be skeptical! You want the first ingredient to be WHOLE something. Why – because the first ingredient is the one that is used the most in the product.
Filling your plate:
Brown rice, not white!
What does it all mean? Do your body justice and choose your grains wisely. Don’t let marketing ploys fool you when you’re making the effort either. Just take a quick look at the label to check for the word WHOLE, otherwise you’re shorting yourself of the germ, the bran, and all the good stuff they bring!