Whole-grain, fiberand disease prevention

Posted By on August 11, 2013

A local article in the Milwaukee Journal sentinel Sunday, Aug 11,2013 discusses the truth behind ‘whole grain’.  Many foods are marketed as whole grain and told that they have an 18% to 40% lower risk of diabetes, stroke and heart disease.  However, it’s important to realize that whole grains + fiber achieve these protective results since whole grains alone are only 1/2 of that equation. 

Information below from that article states: Whole grains consist of the outer, fiber-rich bran, the oily germ and the starchy endosperm.  But before 2006, there was no official definition of what constituted ‘whole grain’. with research studies usine different part of either the whole intact kernel and others just the bran parts.  In 2006, the US FDA and food companies agreed on a definition that lumped together all products containing the componenets of a whole grain into the ‘whole grain’ category.  That means foods are now called ‘whole grain’ even if the grains are not whole or intact.  The whole grain can be sliced, diced, partially processed or ground.  As long as the bran, endosperm and germ get recombined in proportions that are roughly the same as in an intact grain, it counts as whole grain. 

‘It can be tricky because foods can be labeled ‘whole grains’ that aren’t 100% whole grains’, said Susan Nitzke, a professor emerita of nutritional sciences at UW-Madison.  ” ‘100% whole grains’ is whole grains but ‘made with whole grains’ is less than that”.   To know how much fiber you are actually eating, check the back label.  Women need approx 25 gm of fiber/day; men need approx 38gm of fiber/day.  A good rule of thumb is to shoot for 1gm fiver per 10gm of carbohydrates.

Bran can contain about 4gm giver per Tbsp or 25gm per cup for wheat bran.  Beans are a great source of fiber with 10gm per cup. Canned pumpkin has 13 gm per half cup (excellent in hearty winter soup base and sauces).  Flax and sesame seeds as well as nuts are good but watch the fat content vs fiber.  A diet rich in fruits and vegatables in addition to whole grains is highly recommended over fiber pills or supplements due to the addition of natural vitamins in food.

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