Lets talk Grains for a moment!
There’s so many different types of breads, pasta’s and the likes out there these days that it can be hard to know which is best for you. So lets take a look and break it down.
To start off, lets first discuss the grain in general so we can understand what’s to come in the different varieties.
A grain is made up of three different parts, bran, germ and endosperm.
- The bran part of a grain is the outer layer and is very high in fiber, and also contains antioxidants and B vitamins.
- The germ is the inner layer which is rich in nutrients such as many B vitamins, minerals, some protein and healthy fats.
- The endosperm is the main part of the gain kernel that contains starchy carbs, some protein and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Refining flour typically removes the bran and the germ of the grain, leaving just the endosperm. In doing this, about 25% of the grains protein is lost, as well as a large reduction of about 17 key nutrients! The enriching process attempts to add some of these lost nutrients back to the grain, however not in the same proportions as the whole grain. Only 5 of the stripped nutrients are added back in, those being Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Thiamin (B1), Iron and Folate. But many key nutrients are left at low levels from stripping the bran and germ and remain as such in the final product. Some of these are, Vitamins E, B6 & K, Magnesium, fiber, calcium and protein just to name a few.
Multi-Grain vs Whole Grain/Whole Wheat
Some of you may be under the impression that multi-grain and whole grain are about the same, and both just as good for you! However, that’s not quite the case. The two terms are actually quite different from one another.
- Multi-grain simply means that more that one type of grain has been used for the product, but no necessarily the WHOLE portion of the grains. A product labeled as multi-grain may actually be made up of white flour without the health benefits of whole grains. You can always check out the ingredients list, if a product contains whole grains, they will be listed as such on the nutritional label.
- Whole Grain or Whole Wheat means that all parts of the grain or wheat has been utilized, including the nutrient high Germ and Bran. They’re higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber than that of refined grains which have been processed to remove all parts but the starchy endosperm.
Trying to make healthier choices can be tough and confusing! Especially when companies can make a product appear at first glance to be more nutritious than it actually is! Always check out the nutritional labels and look it up if you’re concerned about an ingredient or product!
Hope this helps guys! 🙂