The Whole Story on Whole Grains

The Whole Story on Whole Grains

Companies in the world of food manufacturing are constantly recommending different and healthier alternatives. Proteins, carbohydrates, whole grains, and other buzz words that carry substantial value are usually front and center on an item’s packaging. As we know, protein is excellent for muscle recovery, and carbohydrates are both beneficial and detrimental depending on the diet you choose. Whole grains also have their place in the food pyramid.

Let's take a look and see precisely what whole grains are, where they come from, how they're usually combined with food, and if their consumption will be beneficial to you.


What Are Whole Grains?

First, let’s talk about what exactly a grain is. Certain grass plants produce seeds, called cereals. Some common cereal-producing plants are barley, wheat, rice, oats, and corn.

According to National Geographic, humans get about 48% of their total calories from grains.

The “whole” in whole grains comes from their initial form from the plant. The cereal seed, commonly referred to as a kernel, is constructed from three edible parts.

The outer skin is called the bran and contains antioxidants, fiber, and B vitamins.

In the very center is the germ; it contains and the embryo, which can sprout into a new plant. It also contains many B vitamins, healthy fats, protein, and various minerals.

Lastly, the endosperm surrounds the germ but underneath the bran. This is the germ’s energy source. It makes up the body of the colonel and contains carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and proteins.


Harvesting Method

The USDA states that the common process of refining grains removes the bran and germ through milling in order to give grains a finer texture while improving shelf life.
While this process may improve shelf life, it removes most of the nutrients that come from the whole grain’s three-part system when it remains intact. Furthermore, many manufacturers will add additional vitamins and other nutrients through a process called enrichment.

Benefits of Whole Grains

The biggest benefit of whole grains is the nutritional content versus refined and enriched grains. Whole grains are packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, and more.
There are also many health benefits of whole grains, including higher potential for weight loss due to their nutritional makeup.
There's also some evidence to suggest that whole grain consumption can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Whole grains are also high in fiber, keeping your digestive health in check by making it easier to go to the bathroom, among other things.
When it comes to complex carbs, whole grains offer one of the easiest methods for consumption. Complex carbs are beneficial because of the satiation they provide as well as slower-burning energy.

Check Your Labels

And when making the transition to eating more whole-grain foods, be sure to take caution when reading food product labels. Phrases like “multi-grain,” “100% wheat,” and “stone-ground” are usually not indicative of whole grain products despite the clever marketing. According to WebMD, it’s best to look for products that name whole-grain ingredients first on their labels, including brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat, whole oats, and more.

And if you’re so included, check out The Complete Kickstart bars which include whole wheat.