Whole Grains

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email
The Whole Grain Stamp

The Whole Grain Stamp

September 29, 2009

Whole grains are foods made from grains that retain the germ, endosperm, and bran layers which contain much of the dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals. Leaving the grain intact provides a product of superior nutrient quality.

Fiber and whole grains: Most whole grains contain fiber, but it varies from grain to grain, so using fiber to identify whole grain foods can be misleading. Fiber and whole grains are both necessary for a healthy diet, but they are not interchangeable.

Whole Grain Stamp: This stamp was developed by the Whole Grains Council (www.wholegrainscouncil.org) and is printed on participating products. Every product bearing the Whole Grain Stamp contains at least half a serving (8g) of whole grains. A full serving is 16g of whole grain. However, there are whole grain products which are not participants of the whole grain stamp program. This is just one of the ways to identify whole grains.

How do you know a when a food is whole grain?

Read the ingredient list. Words used to identify whole grain foods are as follows:

  • Whole wheat

  • Whole [other grain] such as corn

  • Stone ground [grain]

  • Oats

  • Wheat berries

If a food is whole grain, the phrase "whole wheat [other grain]" will be the first ingredient. For example, if whole wheat flour is the only flour listed, it is 100% whole wheat. If whole wheat is the second ingredient, the food could contain as little as 1% or as much as 49%.

Maintain caution: Some companies are boosting the whole grain in processed foods such as cookies and sweetened cereals. While it is wonderful that food manufacturers are using more whole grains, remember that a cookie is still a cookie, so moderation is important when consuming these products. Most of your whole grains should come from foods with less sugar and fat, like whole wheat bread, pasta and other whole grains such as oats, barley and brown rice.

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