Hi Everyone, I thought I would share this article from CPTN. Some great information here on what can be a very confusing issue when it comes to choosing foods wisely.
NUTRITION: Whole grains vs. whole wheat: do we know the difference?
Whole grains and whole grain foods are composed of all three edible layers of the grain seed or kernel – the bran, the endosperm and the germ – each of which contain valuable nutrients that play an important role in the diet. In Canada, up to 5% of the kernel can be removed to help reduce the possibility of the product turning rancid and to prolong the shelf life of whole wheat flour. The removed portion contains much of the germ and some of the bran, and therefore can no longer be considered whole grain. As sold in Canada, whole wheat flour may have much of the germ removed. Therefore, 100% whole wheat bread may not be “whole grain”, although, it remains a nutritious alternative that provides dietary fibre not found in white bread.1 Reading the ingredient list on the food label will determine whether or not a product is whole grain. Whole grain foods contain the words ‘whole’ or ‘whole grain’. In the case of wheat, look for the words ‘whole grain whole wheat flour.’2
Also, it is important to look for products that contain the orange, bilingual WHOLE-GRAIN stamp, which makes it easier for Canadian shoppers to identify products containing significant amounts of whole grain (more than 8 g per serving). The first products with these stamps appeared on grocery shelves in March 2008.3
Products made only with whole grain – and no other ingredients whatsoever – can add a banner saying “100%” to the basic Stamp. In Canada, this means that a bag of brown rice, or a sack of whole grain flour, or a box of oatmeal can use the 100% Stamp, as long as these products have not added non-whole-grain ingredients.3
In the absence of similar Canadian data, I discovered that the average American consumes 20 pounds of pasta noodles each year — most of which is the refined white stuff. Standard pastas are made with refined wheat flour, but there are plenty of more nutritious pasta options, such as 100% whole grain pasta. Besides the advantage of containing all three parts of the grain, this type of pasta contains extra fibre and is therefore more filling. It is best, however, not to overcook to avoid a gummy or mushy result.4
Bottom line. It is key not to be fooled by products that are labelled “whole wheat.” Delving deeper into the ingredients will determine if the product is indeed whole grain or is simply a well-marketed “refined” item.
Sources: 1. Health Canada. Whole Grains – Get the Facts. 2007. Accessed Oct 28, 2011 at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/whole-grain-entiers-eng.php2. Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. Whole wheat vs. whole grain. Accessed Oct 28, 2011 at: http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/HealthyEating/FAQs/ListofQuestions/
WholeWheatvsWholeGrain.aspx.3. Whole Grains Council. The Stamp. Accessed Oct 28, 2011 at: http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grain-stamp/canadian-stamp.4. Bauer, J. 2010. The whole truth – How healthy is your pasta? Accessed Oct 28, 2011 at: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/35100999/ns/today-today_health/t/whole-truth-how-healthy-your-pasta/
Additional resources:- Dietitians of Canada. 2011. Eat Right Ontario. Accessed Oct 28, 2011 at: http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Food-guides/Choosing-Whole-Grains-FAQs– Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide. 2007. Accessed Oct 28, 2011 at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/choose-choix/grain-cereal/tips-trucs-eng.php