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Are You Buying Really Whole Grain Products?



By Diane Hanson

When you decide to give your current diet a complete makeover and start eating healthy, the first thing you probably do is to purge your pantry of simple white carbs and restock it with foods labeled "whole grain".

No doubt whole grains offer greater health benefits – fiber plus truckloads of various essential nutrients – than their processed and refined counterparts, many food products in the market contain both whole-grains and refined grain. On top of that, many food companies make you believe that their products are completely whole grain when they actually contain only a very small percentage. So, how can you be sure the product is really made with whole grains and you're buying the real stuff?

Fortunately, the Whole Grains Council (WGC) answers your question. Use one of the following ways to help you determine what is truly whole grain and what isn't a whole-grain product.



How to Tell a Food is Whole Grain?

1. Whole Grain Stamps.

Look for any of the two labels shown on the packaged products. In 2005, the WGC has created two stamps to help consumers find products containing whole grains.

The "Basic Whole Grain Stamp" is used on food products that contain at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving while the “100% Whole Grain Stamp” is for products made with 100% whole grains and provide 1 serving or more (at least 16 grams) of whole grains per serving.

However, food products with the “Basic Stamp” may also contain some extra bran, germ, or refined flour. So, it is a good idea to always read the food labels.



2. Good Source of Whole Grain.

If a food product does not carry a WGC stamp, you should check the package label and see if it has 100% whole-wheat, brown rice, oats, oatmeal or wheat berries etc, or lists a whole grain or stone-ground whole grain in the ingredient label.



3. Bad Ingredients.

Stay away from foods that say degerminated bran, wheat germ or enriched flour on the food labels.  Also, avoid products with ingredients such as wheat flour, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour or multigrain (may describe several whole grains or several refined grains, or a mix of both).

In short, it is whole grain if it is called brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur or cracked wheat, millet, quinoa, sorghum, triticale, wheat berries, whole-grain barley or pearled barley, whole-grain corn, whole oats or oatmeal, whole rye or whole spelt.



It is recommended that you consume 48 grams of whole-grain ingredients a day, with 1 serving counted as 16 grams. This means you should be eating at least 3 servings of whole-grains per day.


Keeping these tips in mind the next time you're shopping for whole grain products will ensure that you are not paying for products that are made from whole-wheat ingredients as opposed to whole-grains.



how to tell a food is whole grain

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