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The whole truth of whole grains




The new big thing in healthy eating and diets are whole grains and moderation. After carbohydrate starvation we are entering the era of whole foods including whole grains. Among of those eating whole grains is Oprah Winfrey as part of her diet to maintain her healthy weight.  They are good for you for many reasons, but first what is A whole grain?

What is a whole grain?
A whole grain is the natural state of a grain - the whole seed of the plant. It has three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm.   



The bran, as you know, is the outer layer of the seed. It has vitamin B, fiber and other nutrients. Its texture is rough and this is one of the reasons it is eliminated in the processing.    

The germ is the part of the seeds that can grow a new plant or be sprouted. It has protein, fats, mineral and vitamins. The germ is, generally speaking, removed form the seed in the refining process. 

The endosperm is the bigger part of the seed. It has proteins, smaller portions of mineral and vitamins, and a lot of carbohydrates. When we eat refined flour, we are eating the endosperm of the seed or kernel. 

The food processing companies add vitamins to the flour to recover some of the original value. However, the body may not as easily absorb these nutrients as the original content and the fiber, protein and micronutrients are never replaced. 

Why the grain is processed?
There are many reasons. Some of them are to shorten the cooking time, to have a softer texture that most people prefer, and in some cases, to extend shelf life or make different products. 

Why whole grains are good for you? 
The whole grain has more nutrients than part of the grain. The fiber is very important to eliminate residues from our body and prevent constipation. The US government and most health professionals recommend eating whole grains and not refined flours. 

Can you lose weight eating whole grains?
If you want to lose weight, you have to make many changes that will add up to burning more calories than you consume. Whole grains can fill you up quicker than refined flours and they do not alter the insulin levels in the body as refined flour does. Therefore, whole grains do not make you hungry a few hours later. 

Where can you find them?
Cereals, breads, cookies, pasta, rice etc. can all be made from whole grains. The ingredients list has to say "whole grain" or "100% stone ground grain." 

Watch out for impostors
Many breads and cereals call themselves whole grain or integral, but if you read the list of ingredients, you will see that the first ingredient is flour, enriched flour or something similar. In whole grain breads or cereal, the first ingredient has to be whole grain, such as whole-wheat flour or stone milled whole grain. Do not trust the product name. It does not necessarily indicate the ingredient content. 

Some of the most popular whole grains are whole wheat, old fashioned rolled oats, quinoa, and brown rice.

The critics
There are some people who say that human beings are not conditioned to eat grains. There are cases where some grains may cause health problems, such as in the case of Celiac disease; people with this problem cannot eat wheat. From that to say that all humans cannot eat wheat and other grains is a long stretch of the truth. There is not much science behind this. But if you eat grains, most of them should be whole grains and moderation is always key to keeping your healthy weight or losing weight. 

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