Again on Friday I was asked about whole grains and what are they. The question reminded me of a good article from May of 2006, Sifting Through the Facts About Whole Grains. In this article, nutritionist Joy Bauer writes about the differences in whole grains. The USDA has recommended that we eat six servings of grains each day, three of which should be whole grains. Whole Grains are grains that are whole. They must contain all three pars of a grain, the bran, the germ and the endosperm.

  • Bran: Tough outer layer that contributes fiber
  • Germ: Core of the grain and loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber
  • Endosperm: Starchy middle layer that provides a lot of carbohydrates. Often the only part in processed refined white bread.

Refined Grains have had parts of the whole grain removed, the bran and the germ to give the grain a finer texture.

Enriched grains have certain B vitamins and iron added back after processing.

Whole grains provide nutrients, antioxidants and fiber and are absorbed more slowly in our bodies which help prevent spikes in sugar and insulin and may decrease risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Great sources of whole grains are:

  1. Whole wheat flour
  2. Whole grain barley
  3. Oats
  4. Millet
  5. Amaranth
  6. Corn
  7. Quinoa
  8. Brown rice/Wild rice
  9. Wheat berries

In her article, Joy Bauer writes about how to read and understand food labels. I have found this article to be helpful and plan on sharing it with my clients and using it as a teaching resource in my weight loss groups. Check it out!