Monday, September 6, 2010

Whole Wheat/Grain? Is it really THAT much better, why?

Well the most simple answer I can say is YES. But there is so much about whole wheat and whole grain products that can be explained to help you understand why it is so crucial to choose whole grains (and real ones at that). 

Bread: Number one rule: Just because it is brown, does not mean it is whole wheat. Many bread manufacturers use caramel coloring to enhance the appearance of regular bread to make it look "healthier" and like real wheat. There are a significant amount of fake wheat products in existence.  Unfortunately the words "whole wheat" or "whole grain" on the front isn't sufficient. You want to see the words "100% whole wheat" or "100% whole grain" and "Natural" helps also.  Now turn it over and look at the ingredients. You want the first ingredient to read either "whole wheat flour" or "whole grain flour". After that, if this is determined, you want to make sure there are not too many ingredients following.  5 Ingredients or less is ideal. If you are buying the fake wheat bread, the ingredients will start with "bleached enriched..bla bla bla". So now that you know how to decipher between fake wheat vs. real wheat, I am ready to explain the health benefits of them.

Ok, most white breads tend to be forms of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates tend to be less filling, more fattening, and just in general, not as healthy. So what is the difference? Whole grains and whole wheats often include a good amount of fiber. Many include about 3 grams of fiber per slice. What is fiber? Fiber is a virtually indigestible substance, so why would you want it in your diet? Because it helps bind to the intestines, carry out waste, and it also keeps you fuller, longer. Who wouldn't want fiber?

Whole grains and whole wheat are not only for your bread. I, personally, have switched to whole grain pastas and whole grain brown rice in my house. Your HDL(high density lipoprotein) level (a.k.a your "good cholesterol"), is a number that is good to be higher, and sadly, Americans average HDL is between 30 and 40, and ideal is 45 and above. The more whole grains incorporated into the diet will help raise this good cholesterol and is heart healthy in general! After I switched to whole grains in a matter of 6 months my HDL went from 58 to 66, but we will get into cholesterol another day. 
So go get yourself some 100% whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice! And enjoy it! 

Don't forget, if you have any questions, leave a comment and I will answer them in my next blog! Please follow me and tell your friends too!

Thanks! <3


  1. I've got a question. What constitutes a "good fat"? I've heard that certain oils or fruits (avocado) can be beneficial to hair or skin, or DHAs can help brain function. But when it comes down to it, isn't fat just fat?

  2. No. There are trans fats (anything that says "hydrogenated..." means trans fat, very unhealthy, saturated fats (which come from animal products), and unsaturated (broken into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated [including omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids) fats. Saturated means literally..they are saturated, and they are the bad ones. The American Heart Association recommends the limit on these as less than 7% of your daily caloric intake (less would be ideal).They come from animal products, meat, dairy, etc. Unsaturated fats can make up 30% of your daily calories. They are the healthier ones found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, etc. and they are beneficial without the artery clogging effect (when you keep it at the 30%). Now, the ESSENTIAL fatty acids (EFAs) are omega 3 (which promotes heart health) and omega 6 fatty acids. Omega 3s are found mainly in canola oil, fish products, tuna, etc., and omega 6 comes more from your soybean oil, sunflower oil, etc. These are essential in your diet because your body cannot produce them on their own and these are the fats that do help strengthen nails, make hair shiny, etc. Hope that makes sense! =)

  3. I had no idea there was "fake" wheat bread!