Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Do you know the difference between the two?
- Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel- the bran, germ, and endosperm.
- Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ, leaving behind the endosperm.
Refined grains have a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. To boost your fiber and vitamin intake when enjoying your favorite carbohydrates, try swapping regular pastas, bread, and crackers for the whole grain alternative.
With that said – how can we be sure if a product is actually a whole grain?
It can sometimes be difficult to tell what kind of grains a product has, especially bread. If bread is brown in color, this doesn’t necessarily mean its whole wheat! The brown hue may come from added coloring. It is important to check the product label or the Nutrition Facts panel if you are not sure if a product has whole grains or not. An easy way to make sure you’re getting whole grains is to look for the 100% Whole Grain stamp. Since not all food packagers participate in the stamp program, look for the phrase 100% whole grain or for the word “whole” on the package. Also, make sure whole grains appears among the first few items in the ingredient list.
What are your favorite whole grains? And how do you like to enjoy them?