We all know what whole grains look like—a side of brown rice or a bowl of steel cut oats. We all have also seen foods, such as breads and pastas, that are marketed as being “whole grain.” But clearly there’s a difference between a bowl of steel cut oats and a loaf of bread made with grains that have been ground into flour. Is the latter really a whole grain product, and are you still going to get the health benefits associated with whole grains? According to the New York Times, the answers to these questions are: possibly and possibly.
A whole grain product is one that uses all three parts of the grain—the bran (which contains fiber), germ (which contains important micronutrients like B vitamins), and endosperm (which contains carbs). If a food contains grains with all three parts, regardless of whether the grains are ground up, it may still be considered a whole grain product according to the Food and Drug Administration. And while the glycemic index goes up as the fiber goes down in such products, generally they’re still healthier than products made with very refined grains that are stripped of their bran and germ, such as white bread. While un-ground grains are probably the healthiest option, if you do buy a whole grain product that contains ground or processed grains, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
Make sure the product doesn’t have added sugars, and is stamped with a “whole grains” seal on the box.
As a general rule of thumb, stick with products that have 3 grams or more of fiber per serving.
Source: New York Times