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Hop on the Whole-Grain Train – There’s Plenty of Room

Filed Under: Health Foods at 2:25 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Whole Grain FoodsAs proof of whole grains’ beneficial qualities has mounted, their availability has grown in leaps and bounds. Cereals, breads and pastas come in whole-grain form. Products from health foods to junk foods carry whole-grain labels. Organizations, such as the Whole Grains Council, stamp authentically whole-grain items with either a 100% or general whole-grain stamp. Manufacturers have created foods that appear to be made with refined grains but are actually loaded with the good stuff (example: white whole-wheat bread).  The usual sources of decadent, indulgent recipes, namely the Food Network, now offer tips on how to work whole grains into every kitchen,  and grocery stores are stocking more and more whole-grain options. Whole grains are everywhere, so why aren’t you eating them?

Only seven percent of Americans eat the recommended three servings of whole grains a day, while 40 percent eat absolutely none.  They read the studies, appreciate the possible health benefits, note the grocery store’s healthful choices and then, buy refined grains. If they do buy whole grains, they buy cookies, a selection that will provide the consumer with more empty calories and sugar than actual whole grains. Some of the problem stems from children’s mistrust of anything without a charismatic cartoon character. Adults living with young refined-grain fanatics eat considerably fewer whole grains than others of the same age. However, much more of the problem stems from general confusion and misunderstanding. People don’t buy actual whole-grain items, misled by false advertisements or worried that a true purchase will mean a dent in the wallet, a trauma to the taste buds and a restriction to the diet, none of which are true.

Whole-grain products are delicious, and their growing availability makes them just as affordable as refined-grain items. Besides, you don’t have to eat an entire field of barley to meet the daily recommendations. Three pieces of whole-grain bread or one and a half cups of whole wheat pasta easily satisfies your nutritional requirement. Try brown rice instead of white in a casserole for a never-could-tell substitution. Opt for the white whole-wheat selections when luring your children away from the re-finer things in life. And read the labels. If whole grains are not one of the first ingredients listed, you are not getting what you want. The whole-grain movement is an easy and smart one to join. A few simple changes will introduce you to a world that will leave you wondering why you ever ate white bread in the first place.

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