Monday, September 23, 2013
Article # 547. WHOLE WHEAT VS. WHOLE GRAIN
I have been asked regularly, "What is the difference between whole wheat and whole grain?" Our answer is another question: "What is the difference between a carrot and a vegetable?"
We all know that all carrots are vegetables but not all vegetables are carrots. It's similar with whole wheat and whole grain: Whole wheat is one kind of whole grain, so all whole wheat is whole grain, but not all whole grain is whole wheat.
Whole grain means that all parts of the grain kernel — the bran, germ and endosperm — are used. Whole wheat has the bran and germ removed during the refining process and is left containing only the endosperm. Unfortunately, the majority of vitamins and fiber are contained in the wheat bran and wheat germ that is shed during the refining process.
Whole wheat flour goes through a refining process that removes some of the nutritional values. In fact, whole wheat flour has half of the nutrients stripped away during the refining process. Whole grain flour is not refined and therefor maintains its full nutritional value. Whole grain bread is a good source of B vitamins and fiber and is lower in fat than whole wheat bread.
Nutritional Differences and Appearance
Whole grain is lower in fat than whole wheat. Whole grain also contains all of the fiber, iron and B vitamins that nature intended because it does not go through a refining process. In fact, the refining process strips away half of the vitamins, calcium, iron and fiber from whole wheat products.
Whole grain and whole wheat look very similar. Most people cannot tell the difference between the two without tasting them. Whole grain has a richer taste than whole wheat does. Whole grain has a more dense texture than whole wheat does.
Whole grain maintains all of the nutrients nature intended which makes it a more filling and satisfying choice than whole wheat. It is possible to feel full quicker while eating less when you choose whole grain over whole wheat. Also, whole grain is a better choice for diabetics because it cause less of a "sugar spike" than whole wheat does. Refined grains have been linked not only to weight gain but also and increased risk of insulin resistance. In fact, whole grains have been shown to lower your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes otherwise known as adult onset Diabetes.
The only way to know if you are getting whole grain or whole wheat is to read the label. Look for whole wheat flour as the first ingredient or a statement that it is made with 100% whole grain. Sometimes labels can be deceiving, so make sure that you read the label carefully. The Whole Grain Council makes it even easier for you by putting their whole grain stamp on whole grain products. So read the labels and look for the whole grain stamp to pick the healthiest products.