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100% Whole Grain Challenge

Toni Ann DiSantis

Why eat whole grains?

Whole-grain breads and cereals are good sources of fiber and key nutrients needed by the body for good health. Numerous studies show that people who primarily eat whole grains have less obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and colon cancer, and they live longer, healthier lives.

On the other hand, a high intake of refined grains or white flour products increases the risk for many of these same health problems.

What’s a whole grain?

Whole grains include wheat, oats, corn, and rice in their natural state. A whole grain has three components: bran, germ, and endosperm.

Refining or processing grains strips away the bran and germ that contain most nutrients, dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants, all of which protect your health.

Bleaching (to make flour white) further reduces the nutritional content. Sometimes manufacturers replace some of the lost vitamins and minerals, which is why you may see products labeled “enriched.” However, most vitamins and minerals and other protective factors, such as dietary fiber, are still lacking.

Choose a variety of whole grains daily

Choose 100% whole-wheat bread (read the label) and multi-grain breads.

Choose whole-grain breakfast cereals, cooked or ready to eat: Shredded Wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain rye, and barley, to name a few.

You can buy whole-grain pasta in many stores. Try it. You may like it.

Read labels carefully. Bread that says “wheat flour” or “enriched flour” means white, refined four. It must say 100% whole grain to be whole grain. Don’t be fooled.

So what’s considered a serving?

Whole-grain breads and cereals:

1 slice of whole-grain bread (100% whole-wheat bread)

⅔ cup of whole-grain ready-to-eat cereal (Shredded Wheat)

½ cup cooked whole-grain cereal (oatmeal, brown rice, or pasta)