Half the grain products we eat are supposed to be whole grain. We aren’t there yet, but according to a July study about 55% of us have switched from white bread to whole grain bread.
Whole grains aren’t limited to bread. There are whole grain pastas and brown rice on grocery shelves too. And products made with whole grains such as oats, popcorn, brown and wild rice, buckwheat (or kasha) and cracked wheat (also called bulgur) as the first ingredient carry the “whole-grain” label.
Grains such as quinoa, whole cornmeal (yellow or white), whole barley, whole rye, amaranth, millet, spelt and triticale are less common, but are also whole grains.
Why are we eating more whole grains? Maybe consumers are becoming more aware that whole grains help reduce the risk of bowel disorders, some cancers, heart disease (by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol), stroke and type 2 diabetes. Maybe it is because we like the taste and texture.
Bread is still a staple in our diets. Whole grain bread can cost $3.50 to $4.00 a loaf at the supermarket. At the day old store I found whole grain bread for $1.00 to $2.00 a loaf. If you have a day-old bread store nearby and have a freezer, it’s worth a trip to stock up.
Check for clues on the label!
Be sure the bread you buy is whole grain and not just brown. Look for the “Whole Grain” stamp or choose foods that name one of the following whole-grain ingredients FIRST on the label’s ingredient list:
- brown rice
- graham ﬂour
- whole-grain corn
- whole oats
- whole rye
- whole wheat
- wild rice.
If you see these words listed as the first ingredient, that’s your tip that it is NOT a whole grain product: wheat flour; enriched; multigrain; 100% wheat; stone ground; cracked wheat; seven-grain; bran.