Whole Grains vs MADE with Whole Grains

Bread

This bread looks so yummy, doesn’t it?!?!  I can almost smell it and taste it!!  Bread is a common staple in most American households.  The average American eats about 53 lbs of bread per year!!  That’s a lot of bread!!  If you look at the packaging of your bread at home, there’s a decent chance that it says, “made with whole grains”.  Not all bread packages say this, but a lot do.  But the question is, is this bread a whole grain?

 

Cheerios

What about these Cheerios?  These are another yummy staple in most American households.   I don’t know if I know a kid who wasn’t fed Cheerios as a snack when they were little!  It’s one of the easiest snacks, right up there with Goldfish!  I know we gave our kiddos both.  According to the packaging and commercials, Cheerios are heart healthy and made with whole grain oats.  So the question is, are they a whole grain?

Packaging and commercials would lead you to believe that a lot of foods made with grains are a whole grain.  It can be very confusing and it’s no fault of your own.  But the easiest way to know whether you are getting a whole grain or something that’s MADE from a whole grain is to ask yourself, did this come straight from a plant?  So, those Cheerios, can we grow them?  Do you see them in the fields that you drive by in the country?  Do they come straight from a plant?  No – of course you don’t see them growing in the ground!  So they aren’t a whole grain.

Here’s why it matters.  Foods that are made with whole grains have gone through some sort of processing and most likely, other, not-so-nutritious ingredients, have been added.  Whenever processing takes place, you lose some, or a lot of, the original nutritional value of the grain.  The added ingredients that you typically get are salt, sugar, GMO ingredients, and a lot of the “what-the-heck-is-this” ingredients.  A lot of times, those can be the hardest ingredients because most of us don’t know what they are.  And unfortunately, we tend to trust the FDA and what they allow, so we assume these ingredients are safe for consumption.  Often times, they are not.  (A different blog for a different day.)

So what could you have instead of the bowl of Cheerios?  You can have a bowl of oat groats and add your favorite berries.  You avoid the processing of the oat without having added corn starch, sugar, salt, and tripotassium phosphate, which is a questionable ingredient.  (These are the ingredients of the original Cheerios – other versions of Cheerios come with even more ingredients and contain GMO’s). Yes, berries themselves contain sugar, but this isn’t a white sugar that has no nutritional value.  Berries have wonderful antioxidants, contain much-needed fiber, and contain many vitamins and minerals, none of which sugar contains.

Millet

My point to all of this is when your doctor, trainer, or health coach encourages you to eat whole grains, they mean grains like the millet above, or the quinoa below.  They can be an important part of your diet, if you are a healthy person with no gut issues, autoimmune conditions, or a gluten intolerance…. cause of course, that’s another story.  🙂

Quinoa

For more information on whole grains and whether they should be a part of your diet, feel free to contact me.  I would love to support you on your health journey!

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