It’s All About That Grain

It’s All About That Grain

Understanding grains such as Whole Grain and Whole Wheat, is a bit confusing to many. I guarantee you, it took me a while to fully comprehend the difference. After extensive research and flipping through a few books, I eventually have a much clearer picture on the difference between the two and here is a quick breakdown for you.
So, this is what I have learned. There is a significant difference between whole grain and whole wheat. The first thing we need to understand is that for a product to be considered whole grain, it must contain all three parts of the grain kernel.

Bran: The outer layer of the grain kernel
The endosperm: The part of the grain seed that lies just under the bran coating.
The germ: This is found in the center of the grain kernel

The Bran is rich in fiber, B vitamins and minerals.
The endosperm is rich in carbohydrate and protein, essential nutrients needed for good health.
The germ is a rich source of vitamin E, B vitamins and some minerals.

Now, the difference between whole grain and whole wheat is in the way the flour is produced. Whole wheat flours or foods such as breads, pasta, tortillas and rolls, are not whole grain products because during the milling process, some of the kernel is removed which results in a loss of the germ portion. As a result, many of the nutrients mentioned above are stripped from the grain and therefore, also stripped from the food product. Foods labelled as being whole wheat, are not as nutritious as foods labelled as being whole grain.

Some whole wheat flours have been through a production method that keeps the kernel intact. These flours (or foods made from them) are considered whole grains and will be labelled using the terms “whole grain, whole wheat” or “whole wheat,  flour with added germ.” Be sure to look for these terms if you are choosing whole wheat products labelled as “60% or 100% whole wheat”, to make sure that what you are purchasing is actually a true whole grain product.

Aim to choose whole grain products such as, whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals as they play an important role in healthy eating and contain all three parts of the grain kernel as explained above, and most importantly,  they are rich in nutrients and fiber. So, our goal is to choose foods that are clearly labelled as being whole grain. You can find a list of preferred flours to use, with all  their nutrients in tacked in Flour Power.

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