…not according to research conducted by General Mills, as reported here on Food Navigator. Obviously, GM has a vested interest in this research, as they’re going to want to promote their products with whole grains, but I still think it’s interesting that they’re finding a majority of people still don’t really know what “whole grain” is. According to their research, 50% of those they surveyed shopped specifically for products labeled as “whole grain.” However, only 16 percent knew that ingredients/labels such as “enriched flour,” “100 percent wheat” and “multigrain” did not necessarily equate to the product containing whole grains. Additionally, seventeen percent incorrectly said that whole grains are always organic, and 28 percent did not understand the difference between whole grain and enriched grain.
Here are some basic facts & tips regarding whole grains:
- “Whole grain” means that three parts of the grain – the bran, germ and endosperm – are still present. This means that the product packs more nutrients and fiber than its non-whole-grain counterparts.
- Something labeled as “whole grain” does not invariably equate to “healthy” or “organic.” I’ve seen plenty of sugar-filled cereals wearing a “whole grain” halo. Don’t fall for it!
- “Whole grain” listed on a product does not mean that ALL grains used in the product are whole grain. It would have to say “100% whole grain.” Ideally, you will choose a product that says “100% whole grain” or that lists “whole grains” as the first ingredient(s) in the product.
- Watch marketing ploys meant to confuse you. “Wheat” is not whole grain. “Enriched” means that all the good parts of the grain were taken out and then nutrients were re-added to the grain, which doesn’t have the same effect as a whole grain. “Multigrain” simply means that there are a variety of grains in the product — none of them are necessarily whole grain!
- The “ingredients” label on products list ingredients in order of weight, starting with the heaviest. If the whole grain doesn’t appear first in the list, than that means it’s not making up the bulk of the product. If whole grains are the only grains listed, you have a good product.
- Many cereals that are not 100% whole grain add wheat bran and soluble wheat fiber to get the total fiber per serving to 3g so that they can earn an FDA approved designation as a “good source of fiber.” Lame.
- Watch breads, like Wonder, that boast, “Made with Whole Grain White.” This means that “whole grain white” is IN the bread, but doesn’t mean it’s a) the only grain used or b) the majority of grain used. In fact, refined flour is really the main ingredient of the bread. By the way, “whole grain white” IS a whole grain, it just means it’s made with a “relatively new variety of wheat, which is lighter in color and has a sweeter, milder flavor” than the red wheat used in regular “whole wheat” [via Fooducate here].
- Anything listed as “whole __,” “stoneground whole grain”
- brown rice
- whole oats
- whole rye
- whole wheat
- wild rice
- “How to buy bread” via Fooducate here
- See the Whole Grains Council “Identifying Whole Grain Products” page here
- “Whole Grains and Dietary Fibers: End Your Confusion” guest post on Fooducate here
Random (& unrelated) Stuff
- Whole Foods Market making changes to promote healthier products [here]
- “Heavy” a new docudrama that “follows twenty-two individuals facing extreme life-threatening health consequences as a result of their obesity” airs tonight at 10/9c on A&E. I think it’s cool that it’s not a competition and that there is no monetary prize involved (better health is the prize!). I’m interested in catching this [here]
The Cranky One