Healthy Whole Grains
Even though for over two decades nutritional advisors have been talking about the benefits of whole grains, it’s an idea that hasn’t made it to mainstream restaurants and dinner tables. Whole grain flour, including whole wheat flour, has more nutritional value than grains that have the bran (outer layer) removed before being ground into flour. The bran has vitamins and minerals that give flavor to food.
Most people are used to eating white grain products (white rice, white bread, white pasta). There are two main reasons. First is that grains with bran have a shorter shelf life because of the small amount of oils in the bran, so when industrial production of food first became common, it was more economical.
Second, in ancient times, whiter more finely ground flour was more time consuming to produce and so it was eaten by royalty or the wealthy. It was considered prestigious. However, it’s not helping us at this point. White highly refined grain products are similar to sugar in that they are digested very quickly, so they cause a quicker blood sugar increase. This can contribute to weight gain and even diabetes. When flour is labeled “enriched wheat flour” it means that it’s white flour. The enrichment means adding back in some of the nutritional value that was taken out when removing the bran. Some products even have added brown food coloring to make white flour products look healthier.
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Check back in the coming weeks for tips on how to make sure you get more whole grains and fewer highly processed grains, especially when not eating at home!