"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

How vital are whole grains in my weight loss program?

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Question I eat a number of vegatables and fruits, but are whole grains essential?

Oh Fruits and vegetables appear to get top billing on the list of healthy foods, but I put whole grains in there. There are two kinds of grains: whole and refined. All grains grow as kernels, and every grain has three layers:

  • The inner germ of the seed comprises many vitamins, minerals and healthy oils.
  • The middle layer is known as endosperm. It is especially starch and provides the energy the kernel must grow.
  • The outer coating, referred to as the bran, consists of a lot of the fiber of the grain.

Common whole grains include whole wheat flour, oatmeal, brown rice, and corned beef. Refined grains are milled, which removes the bran and internal germs. Examples are white flour and white rice. You wish to eat more whole grains and limit refined grains. When you eat whole grains, you get greater than just fiber from bran. You also get all of the vitamins, minerals, good fats, protein, antioxidants and other healthy parts of the grain germ. Whole grains lower your risk of heart disease and kind 2 diabetes. People who follow a weight loss program wealthy in whole grains live longer than those that eat a weight loss program made from refined grains.

Men age 51 and older should eat not less than 6 ounces of whole grains (about 168 grams) per day. In general, 1 ounce of whole grains is equal to 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice. Deciding between the heather brown rice and the refined white rice is fairly easy. But selecting whole-grain breads and cereals often requires close reading of product labels. Don't be fooled by terms like “wheat flour,” “unrefined wheat flour,” and “enriched wheat flour.” They may seek advice from refined white flour.

The same goes for “stone ground,” “multigrain,” “fortified,” “stoned wheat,” “cracked wheat,” and “organic.” None of those terms guarantee that the product is whole grain. And it's not enough that “made with whole grains” appears somewhere on the label because it might only make up a small portion of the product.

To ensure you get real whole grains, search for the word “whole” or “whole grain” before the name of the grain as the primary ingredient. For example, “stoned whole wheat” or “100% whole wheat.” Another tip is to search for the Whole Greens Council stamp on the label. (See below for other examples of food labels.)

Learn what the label means.

If the label says…

The product comprises…

100% whole grain

No refined flour.

Made with whole grains.

An unspecified amount of whole grains

whole grain

51% whole grain flour

Good source of whole grains

15% to 25% whole grains


A combination of grains, mostly refined grains

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