March 2009 Issue

Whole Grains Guide: EN’s Bread, Bagel, Muffin, Pita Picks

It used to be that whole grains were valued mostly for their fiber; now we know there’s much more to celebrate. Whole grains provide several B vitamins as well as the minerals iron, magnesium and selenium. Moreover, research indicates that eating whole grains reduces your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer plus promotes a healthy weight and digestive system. The Dietary Guidelines now recommend at least three servings a day of whole grains. Manufacturers have responded with an explosion of whole-grain offerings, especially in the bread aisle. But what constitutes "whole grain?". Nearly three-quarters of Americans believe "enriched wheat bread" is whole-wheat bread. It’s not. If the first ingredient listed is "wheat," "enriched wheat" or even "unbromated, unbleached wheat" the bread is mostly refined wheat—a.k.a. white flour. To be mostly whole grain, the first ingredient must be a whole grain.

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