Monday, January 25, 2010

Understanding The Whole Grain

Well it's another start to another week. But it's not just any old week, it's my birthday week!! I'm such a nerd, I'm actually excited about turning 27. Probably because I'm still 4 years younger than Nick, muahaha.

Updates since last time

- The house hunt continues. We've found some perfect houses, but Nick works all day on Sundays so we have yet to be inside any of them. Plus we have the small problem that I'm not full time yet, which may come to haunt us when asking for a loan.

- I have decided to post more often (maybe 4-5 times a week) but make my posts shorter. I find that I enjoy reading other blogger's posts when they are shorter, therefore I should make posts how I like them, right? I guess I figure if I prefer shorter posts, other bloggers do too!

- We saw the movie "Doubt" on Saturday, and at first I doubted I'd like it (haha) but it ended up being a pretty great movie. Sort of somber and slow (which I normally can't stand) but overall worth the 3 dollars we paid to rent it.

- Check out a fantastic giveaway from Kristen @EatingRD. And also check out her new blog!

Nutrition Tidbit
Whole Grains

This, my friends, is a whole grain.

Endosperm: Surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch, and contains some fat and protein.

Bran: Hard outer layer of the grain. Rich in dietary fiber (soluble mainly), protein, omegas, B vitamins, and minerals.

Germ: The reproductive part of the grain, which germinates to eventually grow into a plant. Contains essential fatty acids, vitamin E, folate, zinc, iron, magnesium, thiamin, and phosphorus.

Notice anything about the above definitions? The least nutritionally beneficial part of the whole grain is the endosperm. It just so happens that the endosperm is all that is left after grains are refined. When you see "enriched flour" or "wheat flour" or "refined flour",
that means the company has refined the grain (taken out the bran and germ) and then added back the nutrients that were lost (called enrichment). The flour gets enriched with riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and iron. But what about the healthy fats, the vitamin E, the magnesium, and the phosphorus? Sorry, most products won't be enriched with those beneficial nutrients. What should you look for on labels? WHOLE GRAIN OR WHOLE WHEAT, which means it's whole and includes the germ and bran!

Other Benefits of Whole Grains

You've seen more and more "fiber" popping up in stores everywhere. Sometimes even in your drinks! Read a great post by Nicole to learn more about this so called "fiber". Basically, the "fiber" in many of these new products are isolated, not intact. WHAT?! Well to explain it in easy to understand terms, real dietary fiber is the indigestible ("intact") portion of plant foods. One of the problems with all this "unintact fiber" being added to foods, in my opinion, is that people will resort to these products (yogurts, ice creams, juices, sweeteners) for their fiber, rather than whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. So you could drink a juice, or eat a cup of yogurt, or even a pack of Splenda with "maltodextin or inulin", but you're missing out on some huge benefits if that's how you are getting most of your "fiber". There are helpful phytonutrients/antioxidants found only in whole fruits and vegetables, and especially in whole grains, on which you will be missing out.

Phytonutrients/Antioxidants and Whole Grains
  • Studies suggest whole grain products have strong antioxidant activity
  • Studies show that on average higher in antioxidants than products from refined rice or corn ingredients.
  • Studies show whole grain breakfast cereals have been found to be equal, or higher, in antioxidants than many fruits or vegetables!
  • There are also several phytonutrients found in whole grains, which have been shown to aid in healthy immune function and heart health. ***I will add to this by saying Inulin, an "isolated fiber", also has some of these beneficial phytonutrients.**
**For more information about whole grains visit the Grain blog, or the Whole Grains Council**

Coming Up
I may do a post tomorrow, or I may not. I've been trying to keep up with commenting on other blogs, and that's the most difficult thing for me when it comes to writing a post everyday, I get behind. So tomorrow you may see a post from me, which will include some new eats and eventually a soup a made FROM SCRATCH! Melinda is doing "From Scratch Weekends", but I turned it into "From Scratch Weekdays" haha.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading!


  1. So interesting! I had no idea what whole grain was all about!!

  2. thanks for the post. the words "whole grain" especially in the age of processed "health" food, can be confusing.

    a bientot
    the paris food blague

  3. You always post such informative posts!!! Thanks for the info :-)

    I loved Doubt!

    Happy birthday week!!! 27, I dont' mind telling you (as I have been 27 for almost a full week now), is da bomb :-)

  4. Great info as always Gina!

    I try to stay away from the "fake fiber" as much as possible.

  5. Great info. Thanks Gina. I enjoy learning about this stuff.

    I like smaller posts too. Their easier to read at work and on limited time heehee! Do what's right for you though. I'll be reading no matter what :)

  6. Great post on whole grains! I'm a whole grain addition the the better nutrition it can bring I also think the flavors are better. I don't even buy refined grain products anymore...its all brown rice, bulgar, 100% Whole Wheat breads, 100% Whole grain pasta's for me! You have to get good at reading labels to get the real thing but it is totally worth it!

    I think you also make a great point about the fiber that is starting to show up in all kinds of products.

    Good luck on the house hunt!

  7. Glad I am a whole grain fan. I would never choose white bread if I didn't have to anymore (unless it's some type of special sourdough or good chewy bread). Have a good bday week!

  8. I loved doubt! I think it may be my favorite movie of all time. Meryl Streep is an amazing actress.

  9. Lots of good information here. One question, how much fiber should be in a serving of bread or cereal to make it worthwhile?

  10. Good luck with the house hunting!

    Thanks for the refresher on Whole Grains - every once in a while, it is nice to confirm why I try to eat as many whole grains as possible.

  11. Great info, Gina!
    In Canada, it's a bit of a different story. To have the word "whole" on the label requires the product only to have 30% of the germ present! So "whole wheat" bread may only be 30% whole wheat.... not 100%!
    So... to make sure you're eating a whole grain, the ingredient list must have the words "whole grain" before the name of the grain: "whole grain whole wheat".
    So ridiculous, I know!

  12. Can't wait to see what you cook up from scratch. Thanks for the grain info. Guess I hadn't thought about it in a while, there's so many terms. I had a great poster from the whole grains council...something about where's the grain. It was like dishes that were missing the starch part. So syrup and and powdered sugar, but where's the french toast kinda thing. Once the IT guy was in my office and left me a, I think someone stole your french toast. It was funny and creepy all at the same time!

  13. Happy early birthday gina!!! only 27, you're soo young!!! hahha... Nick is four years older than you? wooo... Star is four years older than me too. i think that's the best age difference for a couple! :)
    looking forward to see how you celebrate it! :)

  14. oh my gawwwwd its your bday week! woo hoo :) can't wait to hear the events!

    hahaha this may or may not be terrible but this post totally reminded me of "this is your brain" "this is your brain on drugs"

    hahaha but the whole grain deets are muchos helpful girl!

    don't stress about when to post! just do it when you want :)

  15. Happy early birthday! I agree it's hard to post and read blogs daily. It can be really overwhelming!

  16. Very nice explanation. Too many people aren't aware of what exactly "whole grain" implies!

  17. LOVE my whole grains!!! great post, so informative!!

    happy early bday love!

  18. thanks for the info! i am constantly reading labels but forgetting which wording is best. it's so tricky! i would think that wheat flour would be good?! i will try to remember that whole grain or whole wheat is best! key word, whole!

    happy birthday week by the way! i always celebrate like crazy so i totally understand :)

  19. Ohh cant wait to see the soup you come up with!!

    Thanks for the info, btw, on the grains.. I had no idea there were so many terms involved.

    Good luck with the house hunt (SOO jealous!!). Enjoy your week :)

  20. Thanks for all the whole grain info! Have a great birthday! I agree about shorter posts. I sometimes can't handle the really really long ones! Yours are always full of info though so I like them!

  21. Great info and great reminder why it's so important to eat "real," whole foods. I always think it's sort of ridiculous when I read "fiber" on foods like yogurt.

    Good luck with the house hunting! Enjoy it! (I know it can be kind of stressful, but it's also so much fun & exciting!!!).

    Have a great week, Gina!

  22. Great facts to know! We've been bombarded with "whole grain" marketing for a while now, but it's nice to finally know why we should buy that whole grain whatever-it-is.

  23. YAY for whole grains! I'm so psyched about this post - Zach and I are so dedicated to whole grains and whole food fiber sources that it's almost a bit embarrassing and evangelical... :-) I know Zach will be forwarding the web-link to your post to all his family and friends! :-)

    I'm sooooo excited about your house-search!! I'd love to see some photos of the houses you like... :-) Pretty please? :-)

    Thank you again for your incredibly sweet words in your comment on my blog... You've given me new hope and lifted my spirits! :-)

  24. It's ironic that they take all of the good stuff out of the flour only to fortify it with missing pieces.

    Good luck house hunting....we're starting the process soon too!

  25. Happy Birthday Week! Love the whole grain info. I can't wait to see your soup from scratch. I've never made soup from scratch but it's certainly a great alternative to the crazy high sodium levels of canned soups.

  26. I love birthday weeks! I hope you have a FABULOUS one, Gina! :)

  27. Great info! It's always nice to know the "why" behind all the info we just keep hearing to do! :)

  28. It sounds like you guys have a few options for houses you like! That's really great. Hopefully, your job situation won't prevent you from getting a loan.

    I always love reading about food. Its like you've channeled your inner Alton Brown.

    btw, do I when an award for mentioning him so many times on your blog. I swear I don't get paid to say his name. =)

  29. Very interesting post about whole grains. I think I've gotten pretty good at reading the labels of things- but thats only because whole grains seem to hurt my stomach, which is interesting because I always thought it was the insoluble fiber, but you are saying it's mostly soluble so I don't know WHAT my problem is haha.

    I hear you on getting behind on blog commenting. It's hard to fit in a post AND commenting haha

  30. If shorter posts means more Gina, yay!
    Haha, sorry Gina...My posts are always way too long. I'm so long-winded and preachy. Hee.

    Anyway.I think everyone in the world should get a tutorial on whole grains. There is just so many confusion around, and many people think just "wheat" bread is a whole grain. What I hate most is the fortified "fiber"!

  31. Thank you for this post- so informative as always! Happy birthday week! I love short posts but I tend to save up and do marathon posts and hope people read them!

    I know you'll give me some RD hand slapping for my 'healthy cookies'! I know they aren't too healthy...and I'm sure my whole wheat flour was stripped a bit already!

  32. Good luck with that house hunting, girl! Take your's a big decision! And, yes, I tend to be a short blogger...short and spicy! ;-)

  33. I definitely enjoy reading shorter posts. Sometimes it's a ton of info to digest, but our posts are always good, Gina.

    I like your focus on whole grains. I think even when grains are enriched (besides losing vit e, Mg, & P) the added nutrients might not be absorbed as well? And I've been wondering about inulin versus regular fiber from food. So the main thing to remember is that you're missing other phytonutrients and benefits from eating whole fruits and veggies and whole grains?

    Thanks for the post!

  34. It's so hard to keep up with it all. You always post great information, I totally agree with keeping with whole foods and their synergistic properties :) Thanks sooo much for the link!

  35. Oh man! I totally need an ice cream maker to keep up with you, my dear!

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