How to Identify Whole Grain Products

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Whole grains contain parts which together provide antioxidants, phytonutrients (plant nutrients), vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein, good fats and carbohydrate. Together, these parts reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

A whole has three components; the bran, germ, and endosperm, and if left together, the grain will contain all of the protective nutrients listed above. A refined grain has been processed usually to remove the bran and germ that also removes most of the important protective nutrients and fiber leaving only carbohydrate or starch.

The easiest way to know is you’re getting whole grain for certain is to read the ingredient label and look for the word “whole” as part of the first or main ingredient. For example: “whole” wheat, “whole” grain corn, “whole” oats, or “whole” barley.

What is a serving of whole grain?
1 slice of “whole” grain bread
1 cup of “whole” grain cold cereal (Less than 7 grams of sugar per serving)
1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal
1/2 cup of brown rice ½ cup cooked grain such as: kasha, bulgur, quinoa, whole wheat couscous, amaranth, or barley
6 “whole” grain crackers
3 cups of microwave popped popcorn (94 percent fat-free)

How many servings are needed each day?
A minimum of three servings each day or at least half of your total daily intake of whole grains is recommended by most health authorities.

Source: Presbyterian Novant Heart and Wellness