Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dump refined grains from your diet.....

.....and replace them with whole grains.

I spend a lot of time researching the health benefits of whole grains. Recently I was grocery shopping with a friend and we got into a conversation about the different types of breads. It went something like this...

"What's the difference between a whole and a refined grain bread - the color right?"
In order for a food to be called a 'whole grain' it must contain all the parts of the kernel (the seed) of the grain. There are 3 parts to a grain, the outer bran layer, the inner germ layer, and the starchy endosperm. During the milling process of whole wheat into refined white (or wheat) flour, we remove the germ and bran and discard it! The goodness of the grain is gone, and the result is a loss of dietary fiber and several nutrients.

Its hard to know without looking at the food label if a bread is made from refined flour or whole wheat flour. Most breads appear as if they are whole-grain but you need to look at the ingredient list. If the first ingredient is 'enriched wheat flour' then it's a refined grain bread (i.e. the bran and germ have been removed). BUT if it says "whole wheat flour" or "enriched whole wheat flour" then its a whole grain bread. The key word to look for is WHOLE.

"So most baked goods, like cookies & cakes are made with refined white flour, right?".

Yes, although there are many types of flour available for us to use in baking, we most commonly use 'all purpose flour'. This refined flour is used in cookies, cakes, donuts and muffins. Take a look at this booklet that gives tidbits to help you with your baking needs and perhaps you'll come up with some ideas on how to incorporate whole wheat flour into your everyday baking !

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