Saturday, October 27, 2007

Whole Grains and Half Truths

If you knew about a product that could reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity and diabetes, aid your digestion and manage your weight while allowing you to eat MORE – would you buy it?

You bet you would. And you’d be smart to do so. Whole grains have tremendous health benefits. They are rich in phenolic acids, phytochemicals, antioxidants and good stuff that’s harder to get from fruits and vegetables such as fiber, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B and E.

The downside? Food companies are falling all over themselves to offer you something that appears to be whole grain, but in truth may be far from it. They’d love to continue selling you the same old crap under a different name.

So how to separate the wheat from the chaff? Best case scenario is to look for foods bearing the “100%Whole Grain Stamp” from the Whole Grains Council. If you can’t find these foods, then you’ll need to read the labels more carefully. Most importantly, look for the word “whole”. Words like “durum”, “wheat”, “organic” and “multigrain” may sound good, but are pretty much meaningless without those five magic letters
“W-H-O-L-E” – so read carefully. Secondly, once you’ve found a bona fide whole grain, make sure it’s first up on the ingredients list. If it’s listed second, the product could consist of as little as one percent whole grain - and you’d have no way of knowing.

So pay attention to your labels. If you don’t, you might not be buying whole grain, you might be buying a lemon.


nick said...


You're right on with this blog! Although the "100% Whole Grain Stamp" can be pretty hard to find on many labels (especially here in the Northeast where a ton of private, little bakeries are located, which all independently claim to have the best bread on earth), we should always be aware of refined vs. unrefined whole grain foods.

Even though refined grains are enriched with vitamins and minerals, unrefined whole grain foods supply insoluble and soluble fiber, something refined foods lack. Fiber allows food to be absorbed at a slower rate, thus decreasing insulin secretion. Translation: you feel fuller longer, lose weight and keep young! Another benefit: fiber keeps the system moving along at a regular pace, kinda like snaking the pipes without calling a plumber;)

So, let's eat lemons, not buy 'em!

Thanks, Tony. You rule!

AlfaSunshine said...

hey tony...fiber makes all the difference when you are shopping for whole grain items. I've even found that when i'm shopping for rice there are some white rices that will have more fiber than brown rice. Same goes for canned goods like beans and soups. I saw a friend that i hadn't seen in a long time that lost a bunch of weight and she said she did it by cutting out the junk and eating foods with 5g of fiber...I believed her.

Lauren, aka alfasunshine aka nubianqueen

Anonymous said...

Hey Tony, What brand and type of bread do you enjoy eating?
Phase 2
Tucson, Arizona