What is up with whole grains? You hear about it all the time in health advertising and we just did a Guide to Whole Grains series of posts. How much more could we possibly say? What is so important about whole grains?
Yes, fiber is the big deal with whole grains. The top 3 foods we consume most in the US are grain based but we still only get about 1/2 of the fiber we need each day.1,2 So we are going to talk about it again and again until that changes.
Ok, fiber is great but why? Well fiber helps to regulate how your body uses sugar so it stabilizes your hunger and blood sugar. It also helps protect you against
-Type 2 Diabetes
-Diverticular disease (a fancy name for an inflamed and irritated intestine)
Why whole grains?
Fiber can be found in a variety of foods but you already eat a lot of grains so it is a good place to start.
You know sometimes I have to shake my head a little at the route we take in eating and fiber is one of those times. This is the route fiber frequently takes:
grow grain → take the bran and fiber away → process it like crazy → add nutrients back in → cook it → eat it → add fiber back in with nasty stir-in drinks or supplements
See that route? *head shake* What we should be doing is this:
grow grain → cook it → eat it
Voila! So much easier and the fiber tastes better! Here is the low down on the difference in fiber between white and whole wheat flour.
See that? More than 3 times the fiber in whole wheat flour. And for the gluten-free folks brown rice has 3.5 grams fiber compared to 0 grams in white rice.4 Whole grains just win the fiber race overall.
Now, I am not going to tell you to eat more grains. Most of us eat plenty as it is. What we need to do is replace our grains with whole grains.
-Look for products that say “whole grains” on the label.
-Read the INGREDIENT list! Made with whole grains does not mean is is 100% whole grain. Make sure whole grains are at the top of the list.
-Try some grains that are not in a snack package. I have 19 different grains on my list so branch out and try some new ones. If you need help cooking, check out our Cooking Whole Grains post. Or the Whole Grain Recipe Roundup for some new ideas.
-Make half your grains whole. This is the USDA recommendation and a great place to start. But if you can, make the switch to replace even more with whole grains.
Well there you go! I hope this post helps to keep you regular Stay in touch for my easy way to cook rice (no fancy rice cooker required).
- Drewnowski A and Rehm C. “Energy intakes of US children and adults by food purchase location and by specific food source.” Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:59. (Read online here especially at Table 1.)
- “About Fiber.” National Fiber Council. Web. 22 Dec 2015. (Read online here.)
- “Fiber.” Harvard School of Public Health. Web. 26 Jan 2016. (Read online here.)
- USDA National Nutrient Database. 26 Jan 2016. (Find it here.)