How Does Steel Rolled Oats Differ From Old Fashioned Oats Are You Truly Eating WHOLE Grains?

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Are You Truly Eating WHOLE Grains?

You have heard the term “whole grain” but do you know what these words mean? When I ask clients for examples of whole grains, they often say “whole grain bread and crackers.” While these foods may use whole grains, they are not a whole grain.

In order for something to be considered a whole grain, it must not have anything added or removed. The entire edible portion must be intact. The most common whole grain is brown rice. And just like any whole grain, it has three parts – a germ, bran, and endosperm. If any of these parts are removed, it will then be considered a “refined” grain or refined carbohydrate. Brown rice is turned into white rice when the germ and bran are removed.

Why do we care about the bran and germ? These are the parts of the whole grain that contain most of the nutrients and fiber. The endosperm is largely the starchy part of the grain. When we consume a grain that is still “whole,” we may experience the following benefits:

-Feel more satisfied

-Steadier, longer-lasting energy because the grain takes longer to be digested than a refined grain which quickly turns into sugar

-Lower cholesterol

-Reduced risk of certain types of cancer and heart disease

-Improved elimination

Food manufacturers realize that health-conscious consumers want to eat more whole grains, so they have been adding more of them into their products. This is a good thing, but not all “whole grain” products are created equal. Some products have a very small amount of whole grains and others may be made with 100% whole grains. In either case, the packaging may tout that it is made with whole grains. In most cases, when whole grains are added to crackers or bread, the grain is milled into a flour instead of being left whole. In this case, we still get the fiber and nutrients from the whole grain, but it is processed differently by our body because it has already been broken down.

Next time you go food shopping, buy some whole grains. I recommend buying a few and trying a new one each week. Whole grains to look for:

-old fashioned rolled oats

-steel cut oats

-oat groats

-barley

-buckwheat

-quinoa

-bulgur

-millet

-amaranth

-wheat berries

Note that some of the whole grains listed above (such as buckwheat, quinoa, millet, and amaranth) are not technically grains; they are seeds or berries. From a culinary perspective we consider them grains because of how they are cooked and eaten.

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