Many popular diets condemn grains when grains are actually an essential component of nutritious eating. Grains are a main source of carbohydrates (along with vegetables, fruits, and dairy foods), which are the body’s gold standard of energy sources. In fact, brain and red blood cells rely solely on energy from carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) to function properly.
All grains (rice, wheat kernels, barley, oats, etc.) start out as whole grains with three layers: endosperm, germ, and bran. When whole grains are processed (such as to make 100% whole wheat flour) all three parts are left intact.
The outer layers - the bran and germ - contain the fiber, B vitamins, minerals such as iron, and phytochemicals. These layers are often removed when grains are refined to make white flour and bread products and white rice, leaving only the carbohydrate-rich endosperm.
Enjoy at least 3 servings (ounces) of whole grain foods daily! (A minimum of 5-6 servings of total grains per day)
Color is not always an indicator of whole grain.
A loaf of bread may be a dark brown color or it may say “multi-grain” or “100% wheat” on the label; however, it may not actually be a 100% whole grain product.
How can I tell if a food is a whole grain?
Make small changes to include more whole grains. Try these grocery shopping tips to get you started:
For more information visit:
ChooseMyPlate.gov - Grains
Whole Grains Council
Wheat Foods Council
1. What is a whole grain? The Whole Grains Council website. http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/what-is-a-whole-grain ; Accessed December 15, 2014.
2. What counts as an ounce equivalent of grains. USDA Choosemyplate.gov website. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains-counts.html# ; Accessed December 15, 2014.
3. Webb, D. The impact of whole grains on health. Today’s Dietitian. 2013; 15(5):44. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/050113p44.shtml ; Accessed December 15, 2014.
4. Thalheimer, JC. A soluble fiber primer – Plus the top five foods that can lower LDL cholesterol. Today’s Dietitian. 2013; 15(12): 16. http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/120913p16.shtml ; Accessed December 15, 2014.