The Facts On Whole Grains & Flour
Whole grains are the Staple of Life!
Whole Grains (more appropriately referred to cereal grains) are grown in larger quantities than any other food crop in the world. Grains are grasses grown for their edible grains or seeds.
The edible part, is technically the fruit of the grass. In some nations, grains are practically the entire diet of the population.
We often consider wheat as being the only grain to consider when looking for whole grain flours but all grains should be whole when consumed after grinding into flour.
Whole, 100% Or Stone Ground Wheat Flour
If a grain is ground into flour then in order for it to be whole it must say whole, 100% or stone ground as the first and only word in front of the type of flour.
If it is not flour, then it does not have to say that.
Examples of whole wheat flour:
- whole wheat flour
- 100% wheat flour
- stone ground wheat flour
- organic stone ground wheat flour
Examples of flour that IS not whole wheat:
- wheat flour
- enriched wheat flour
- organic wheat flour
- natural wheat flour
- fortified wheat flour
You see, that the terms whole, 100% or stone ground do not appear in the ingredient listed in the facts panel. Enriched grains, organic, fortified or just the grain name alone before the word flour is not a whole grain flour.
Not Flour = Whole Grain Wheat
If it is not flour, in other words it has not been ground, then they do not have to say whole, 100% or stone ground. Wheat that is not flour is still IS whole grain.
For example these are whole grains:
- wheat kernels
- organic wheat
- whole wheat
- bulgar wheat
Why Whole Wheat?
You may ask: If whole grain is essential to our health why did they invent white flours at all?
That IS a great question!
When metal rubs on metal it creates heat. When we started manufacturing food products with metal grinders (as opposed to stone) the friction created heat which caused the natural (good oils) to become rancid.
The solution was to take out the oils that are contained in the germ but that required removing the bran (vitamins, minerals and fiber) first so that the oil could be removed.
This left only the endosperm which is the sugar and that make the bread nutrient deficient.
We are an innovative society so someone came up with a solution (I think it was man!) to add man made vitamins and call it enriched… that sounds good, doesn’t it?!
Grains Are More Than Just Wheat and More Than Just Bread!
A grain is a grass based plant. There are hundreds of grains that can be incorporated into your diet. When buying any flour ground from a grass make sure it is whole!!
NOTE: Nut flours or legume flours do not have to say whole, 100% or stone ground as they are NOT grasses.
Brown rice, bulgur, graham flour, oats, corn, rye, whole wheat, wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, millet, are just some of the other grains that you can incorporate into your diet.
Consider other products besides bread when you are looking for whole grains. Crackers, cereals, snack foods and pastas all fall under grain categories and should be consumed as whole grains.
Do Not Buy Grains By The Label
The label is written by marketing agents. The Facts Panel is exactly that FACTS!
The facts panel has 3 parts:
- nutritional information
Unlike the rest of the package, this section of the package is regulated by law.
When you are looking for whole grains, you must read the ingredient list. Many processed foods are labeled with the words “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not whole-grain products when you scrutinize the facts.
They may include some of those things in very small quantities and still be made with processed grains. Color does not indicate whole grain either. Bread or other products are colored with molasses or other added ingredients. Be sure to read the ingredient list to see if it is truly a whole grain.
Most people look at the label first, then the nutritional analysis. To include good quality grains in your diet, you must look at the ingredient list first to find quality ingredients, then look at the nutritional analysis for your dietary needs. If it is not whole foods, it doesn’t matter how few calories it has, it is not nutritious.
Whole Grains Increase Your Metabolism
Incorporating a wide variety of whole cereal grains is one of the secrets to keeping your metabolism burning like a bonfire, with more fiber as well as all the wholesome whole grain goodness your body deserves.
Whole grains are the staple of life because they keep your metabolic fire burning and give your body plenty of vitamins and minerals. Watch for future recipes and posts regarding some of the less widely used grains.
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