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Are You Really Eating Whole Grains?

By June 10, 2011January 27th, 20128 Comments

Ever walk through the grocery store and wonder; Is this actually healthy? Is this whole grain? How on earth can I tell the difference?

Guess what? You are normal

Most people struggle when it comes to eating ‘healthy’. We are often being played by cleaver marketers claiming something is healthy. This morning as I was busting a sweat on the step-mill (watching Regis and Kelly..of course), a juice commercial came on claiming that their new orange juice can reduce LDL or better known as bad cholesterol, because of the addition of plant sterols: PURE SQUEEZED ORANGE JUICE FROM CONCENTRATE WITH PLANT STEROLS AND OTHER ADDED INGREDIENTS.

Notice the other added ingredients. There is no doubt that when going to the grocery store people often become overwhelmed and feel defeated.

Finding healthy breads was always a struggle for me. I LOVE LOVE LOVE bread…did I mention I LOVE bread, and I know there are benefits to eating whole natural grains…but how do you know that when a product claims “Whole Grain”, really is Whole Grain?

Benefits of whole grains proven with science:

  • reduces risk of heart disease
  • reduces risk of diabetes
  • reduces risk of certain cancers
  • helps with weight control

Whole grain consists of 3 parts:

  1. fiber-rich bran
  2. the germ, and
  3. the starchy endosperm

In Canada, the term whole wheat flour can be added to the package even when 5% of the original kernel is.  Although this type of flour is much healthier than refined flour, you want to make sure you are getting the WHOLE grain.

The simplest way to making sure you are getting the whole grain is to choose intact grain kernels, minimally processed. Look for one of these ingredients: brown rice, quinoa, oats, bulgur, wild rice, buckwheat, barley, millet.

Here are some sneaky words to look out for:

Enriched Flour: enriched is a cleaver word for a few dozen missing nutrients added in.
Bran or Germ: these are healthy choices, but not whole grain.
Multigrain: this describes several whole grains or several refined grains or a mix of both.


***Look for the word whole in front of every individual ingredient***


Now you are ready to shop with confidence for actual whole grains.

Happy shopping!

Join the discussion 8 Comments

  • nicola says:

    So which bread do you buy most often?

    • Flavia says:

      Ezekiel (spourt grain)…but I actually don’t eat bread during the week anymore…just when I am out and having a re-set day (treat day).

  • Gillian says:

    Hi Flavia

    What about whole meal bread? Is whole meal bread ok to eat?

    • Flavia says:

      I don’t know too much about it, but from what I have read, it contains all the nutrients without refining and is very healthy. If still contains the germ, minerals vitamin B and fiber. If anyone has any info on this, please share 🙂

      • Gillian says:

        Thanks Flavia. I find that most bread I look at contain an ingredient called soy lecithin… is it a preservative? If it is, I dont know where I can find bread without this ingredient. Thanks!

  • Alysha says:

    Hi Flavia,

    I’m still trying to get the hang of nutrition and avoiding certain foods. I actually read your recent article that mentioned whole wheat being bad. In this case, is whole grain any better for fat loss? Sorry, I feel like I’m mixing terms. Hope you can clarify for me.


    • Flavia says:

      Hey Alysha, whole wheat is still processed and bleached. It is best to avoid for fat loss and health 🙂

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