Creating a diet plan will cause you to ask many, many questions. This is a good thing; question leads to answers which leads to enlightenment which leads to better health. But some questions will distract us and make us lose focus on what is actually important to our health. One of these misleading questions is : “What is better for you? Whole grains or whole wheat?” At the risk of sounding cliché, the answer will surprise you! Before we get to the answer, let’s discuss why whole grains are important to a diet plan. A whole grain product uses the entire kernel of grain in the food including the outer layer (the bran), the germ, and the inner endosperm. Processed, or refined, grains only contain the inner endosperm. Whole grains provide a cornucopia of healthy goodness including fibre, Vitamin B, protein, minerals, and antioxidants. Whole grains are an important part of any diet plan as they can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, obesity and will improve your digestion. Types of whole grains include oatmeal, barley, quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice, and buckwheat. So, what does this have to do with whole wheat? Well, whole wheat is also type of whole grain. It applies to all wheat products including bread, cereal and pasta. In short, there is not much of a difference between whole grain and whole wheat. With the exception of those with gluten allergies, whole wheat is very healthy.
When it comes to whole grains and whole wheat, the real question is: are the products as healthy as they are claimed to be? Here are a few tips to help you get all the whole grains you need:
Read the Ingredient List
Don’t just be satisfied with the words ‘whole grains’ or ‘wheat’ on a package. Investigate! Read the ingredient list on the package. Manufacturers must list ingredients by descending order of measurements. If a product has whole grains near the end of the list, there isn’t much of what you need in there. The closer grains and wheat are to the top of the list, the better it is.
Watch the Wording
Food manufacturers know how to play with words to elicit the reaction they are looking for. “Made with Whole Grains”, “Contains Whole Wheat”, or “With Wheat” are vague statements that can mean many, many things. The product may have everything you are looking for, or it may just have some wheat sprinkled on the top.
Manufactures are bond by laws, so some phrases are safe bets. You want to see “whole grains”, “whole wheat”, or “100% Whole Wheat/Grains”.
Don’t fall for the multigrain trick; companies love to slap the word ‘multigrain’ on their products. All it means is that there are multiple grains (oatmeal, wheat, barley) in a product; but, they are most likely refined and are NOT whole grains. There is nothing wrong with multigrain products, but it might not be what you are looking for.
If whole grains are not part of your diet plan, it is time to change that. And if you don’t have a diet plan, it is time to change that too! You can get started today by downloading the LOMI App. Much more than just a meal planning app, the LOMI App will connect you with the certified personal nutritionist from Toronto, Oakville, and all over the GTA. Including dieticians and holistic nutritionists, these knowledgeable experts will help you reach your health goals. Download LOMI today.