Whole grains are grains that have been left intact after harvesting and retain their natural nutrition. In contrast, refined grains (think: white bread, white rice, white pasta) are milled shortly after harvest. As they go through the milling process, grains loss the majority of their fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients - the very things that keep us healthy. Because of this, refined grains are known to raise the risk of disease while whole grains don’t. In fact, whole grains protect against it.
Finding whole grains on the grocery store shelves can be a challenging process. First, check the label. You should see the words “100% Whole Grain” somewhere on the package. Next, check the ingredient list. You should see the word “whole” before the name of any grains listed. For example: whole wheat, whole rye, or whole spelt.
Brown rices, oats, and oatmeal are whole grains too. Although less common, the term “stone ground” also indicates that the grain used is whole.
Words that do not mean whole grain include multigrain, durum wheat, semonlina wheat, wheat flour, natural, and organic. Be skeptical of products that claim they are “made with whole grains.”