So, here’s a typical scenario for you…you walk into the food store and head over to the bread and cereal isle. First thought: “YIKES”. Hundreds of products line the shelves claiming Whole Grains, Wheat, Whole Wheat, Whole Grains…the list could go on forever. So, how do you know you’re buying a minimally processed product?
Whole grain breads and cereals prevent your body from storing fat and are loaded with vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, thiamin, protein, and our good friend fiber! Whole grains are necessary in our daily diets because they fight obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer. Now, here’s where the confusion lies: Don’t be fooled by the imposter’s such as processed white breads and doughnuts, as well as products labeled wheat instead of Whole Wheat.
We can only survive for so long on a non-carbohydrate diet. Your body craves carbohydrates because you NEED them to survive. However, most of us are confused about which carbs to eat—well, for starters wipe out all of the processed junk and stock your pantry with the least processed products, which are carbs that still have their heart-healthy fiber.
Grains like corn, oats, barley, wheat and rye are seeds that come from grasses, which are comprised of 3 parts: the Germ, the Bran, and the Endosperm.
The Endosperm is the biggest part of the grain, however, nutritionally it’s pretty much a dud containing a little protein, starch, and some B vitamins. The Germ is the smallest part of the grain, however, this little guy packs a nutritional punch containing protein, oils, and B vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. Moreover, it has minerals such as zinc, potassium, iron and magnesium, not to mention vitamin E. The Bran is the third part of the grain where the Fiber is stored. This contains B vitamins, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and other minerals which coat the endosperm.
So, when food manufacturers refine and process grains, take a guess which of the 3 parts they toss? You got it; the Bran, where all of the minerals and fiber are, and the Germ, where all of the vitamins and protein lie. So what does that leave us with? The Endosperm (ewww) which is starch that is processed into bagels, pasta, white bread, white rice, and just about every other wheat product and baked good you’ll come across. So, these lovely manufactures are robbing you of your nutrients and leaving you with a void piece of starch! Yum.
On the other hand, whole-grain carbohydrates play an important role in our healthy lifestyles by supplying us with the energy we need to get through our day. Whole grain bread keeps insulin levels LOW, which keeps you from storing fat. A piece of toast with breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and a side of whole grain rice for dinner—- now that’s an A+ heart-healthy day!
Now, where does the Confusion lie? Well, first off, food manufacturers are quite sneaky and after refining away all the fiber, minerals, and vitamins from the wheat–they’ll add molasses to the bread, which turns it brown, and then place it in the food stores for people like you and I to read the label that says, “wheat” bread. Well isn’t that just lovely? It’s a trick and a marketing gimmick–however, it fools each of us at the food store everyday! So, how do we know what nutritious breads and other products to choose? Reach for those that say Whole-Wheat or Whole-Grain.
What Whole Grain breads and cereals have you noticed are imposter’s?