Finding whole grains in a store can be tricky. Often times, labels such as "multi-grain" confuse people into thinking that it is a healthy alternative to whole grains. Multi-grain simply means that the food is made more than one grains and has nothing to do with whether or not the grains are whole or not. Sadly, this type of mislabeling occurs on many food products. When it comes to any type of packaged foods always ignore what is says on the front and only read the ingredients!
- The whole grain – In the case of wheat and rice the whole grain versions are whole-wheat flour and brown rice, although other colored rice (like black and red) are also considered to be whole-grain.
- The refined grain – The refined grain is what you end up with after two of the most nutritious parts of the grain are removed (the bran and the germ) which gives the grain a longer shelf life.
- Enriched grain – Since refining the grain takes out a great deal of nutrition, food scientists try to compensate by adding back in what nutrients they think are missing and most important. The problem is that nature is complex and food science isn’t easy…so the end result, enriched white flour or enriched white rice, is still not as nutritious as the original whole grain.
Corn- this highly subsidized plant gets a bad rap because it is used to make countless additives that are found in processed foods. However, whole grain is actually a decent food that is considered to be both a whole grain and vegetable
- Whole Grain: whole corn, whole grain cornmeal, masa harina, and even popcorn
- Refined: corn meal, enriched corn meal, corn flour, degerminated corn, grits, corn starch
Rice- Rice is almost as easy to understand as oats are
- Whole Grain: Brown rice
- Refined: White rice or when rice is just listed as an ingredient (this means that the germ and bran are removed)
Wheat- While it is as tricky and complex as corn, here is an easy way to break it down
- Whole Grain: whole wheat, whole-grain wheat, whole durum wheat (in other words, it MUST say wheat)
- Refined: white flour, wheat, wheat flour, enriched flour, semolina
Also, on your next trip to the grocery store, look for the whole grain stamp. This stamp basically says that a product contains 100% whole grains and therefore contain no refined grains at all.
Now, there are many fad diets that preach living a "low carb" or "carb free" lifestyle-with the aforementioned carbs being grains. While there is some research promoting their health benefits, there is an astounding number of other medical and nutritional research that continues to support a diet that incorporates whole grains.
-Eating Clean in College