Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted August 23, 2012

Published in Food

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The Truth About Whole Grains

Read More: weight loss, whole foods plant-based diet, whole grains

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A Seed by Any Other Name is Still a Seed

Real world studies of what people eat show, over and over again, that if you consume whole grains you will be healthier and thinner. Yet outlandish statements in the popular media, and even “nutrition” books, may keep you from whole grain pasta.jpgenjoying and benefitting from these most basic of all foods. When you know the facts, you won’t deprive yourself.

Whole grains are seeds. You might hear silly statements such as “Whole grains are not healthy, but quinoa is because it’s a seed.” If you hear anything like this, you know whoever is telling you knows zero about plants or nutrition, and you can boost your health by tuning out.

Another mundane myth is that people did not start to eat whole grains until these plants were domesticated about 10,000 years ago. Why would people have gone to all the trouble of deliberately cultivating a plant that they never ate before? Were our ancestors that misguided? The truth is that people ate wild grain seeds long before they started to plant them. In some parts of the world, wild grains still mingle with the domesticated in the fields.

In contrast to refined grains that dominate profitable refined products, whole grain foods contain all parts of the seed. These include the outer protective skin (bran), tiny baby plant ready to sprout (the germ), and food to nourish the baby plant until it can produce its own (endosperm). Refined grain foods are generally made only from the endosperm. Choosing a refined grain product over its whole grain equivalent is like turning away a $100 bill in favor of a $1. Why would you do this?

The health benefits of whole grains are undeniable, which does not stop competing interests, which would rather see you eat meat and dairy, from denying them.

Click here to learn about the health benefits of whole grains, see wheat and rice growing, and link to recipes with whole grains