Understanding Whole Grains – Not All Grains Are Bad!

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In today’s world, whole grains are often applauded for their rich nutrients like fiber, minerals and antioxidants. However, the topic of grains in general is a point of much controversy across the board. What should you believe?

Grains: Are they Good or Bad for You?

This is a common question from just about anyone looking to manage weight and improve their health. Some think they are essential to a healthy diet, while others think they aren’t needed at all.

Before we dive into answering this popular question, we should first make an important distinction. There are two different types of grains:

  • Whole Grains – Consists of three parts: the Bran, Germ and Endosperm. This type of grain is nutrient-rich with carbs, fats, proteins, antioxidants and others.
  • Refined Grains – Has the Bran and Germ removed, leaving just the Endosperm. This type of grain is less nutrient-rich and contains mostly carbs and protein.

Examining the Bigger Difference

Because of this, it is quite obvious that one form is healthier and more nutritious than the other. Essentially, refined grains have all of the “good stuff” removed. The fiber and nutrients have been stripped out, and nothing much is left. To many people, this is why refined grains are often classified as “empty” calories. These grains are also broken down quickly by the body during the metabolic process and can lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar.

Whole grains, on the other hand, provide numerous health benefits and take longer to break down in the body. They do NOT have the same metabolic effects as refined grains, and provide a lot more fiber, protein, antioxidants and other nutrients. So, in essence, these types of grains are very good for you – so long as they are consumed in moderation. In fact, the Whole Grains Council recommends at least three to five servings of whole grains per day.

Deciding What’s Best for Your Unique Health Journey

While the health benefits of whole grains are undeniable, it is ultimately up to each unique individual whether or not they want to include them in their diet. Some people may be open to consuming whole grains, while those who are looking to consume less carbohydrates may choose to omit them or limit them greatly.

No matter what kind of nutrition plan you would like to follow, consider these key recommendations:

  • Aim for food variety
  • Strive for moderation to avoid temptation
  • Look for other sources of fiber, protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants
  • If incorporating grains into your diet, keep them whole

Looking for More Information about Whole Grains?

CLICK HERE to visit the Choose My Plate Web site for additional information.

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