Who’s been told that instead of eating white bread, whole grain bread is the way to go? I know i have. Commercials, magazines & even fitness experts push whole grains on us if we’re trying to make a healthier choice. Why though? And if whole grains are so healthy for you, why are so many other people giving them up? Let’s break it down.
First, what the heck is a grain?
- The seed of a plant in the grass family
- Store most of their energy to grow as carbohydrate
- Made up of 3 major parts (Endosperm, Bran & Germ)
There are 2 categories of grains:
- Refined grains (white bread, white flour, white rice)
- When grains are refined, the bran and the germ are removed. The bran and the germ are where vitamins and minerals, including fiber, are located. Water is taken out and replaced with salt, sugar and fat.
- Easily absorbed, so sugar is released quickly into the bloodstream (carbs get broken down into sugar)
- Whole grains (wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, millet)
- Contain all parts of the seed (endosperm, bran & germ)
- Contain fiber (because the bran hasn’t been removed)
- Because of this fiber, the grain is broken down in the body at a slower rate and releases sugar slowly into the bloodstream
So, according to the information above, it looks as though the media and fitness professionals are right… right? Whole grains contain more nutrients and don’t spike your blood sugar quickly! Well, this is where it gets tricky.
Why are whole grains still not that great for you?
- Whole grains contain a compound located in the bran, called phytate. These phytates like to take all the minerals (calcium, iron,zinc, magnesium) that the whole grains contain. How rude!
- When the phytates take these minerals, a complex is created that our body can’t absorb. So basically, we’re not really getting all of that fiber and all those wonderful nutrients we claim to be from eating whole grains.
So, where can you get fiber, vitamins, minerals and carbs? Vegetables & fruits.
P.S. This post mentions nothing of gluten, aka the silent killer, which is present in both types of grain. Stay tuned!