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Grains in the Diet ~What are Grains ~ Feed Yourself This for a Flatter Belly

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Joined: Sep 23, 2007


Posted to Thread #10341 at 4:41 pm on Apr 7, 2008

I subscribe to Real Age newsletter and I found this to be an interesting article.


Grains in the Diet

What are grains?

Grains come from the seeds of plants, and are made up of the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran forms the outer layer of the seed and contains most of the seed's fiber. The germ is the part where a new plant sprouts and is a good source of the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. The endosperm (the kernel) makes up most of the seed and holds most of the grain's protein and carbohydrate content.

Foods made from grains are an important part of a healthy diet. Grain products are naturally low in fat and come in many different varieties. From breads to cereals and from rice to popcorn, grains provide a nutritious source of carbohydrate.

Are whole grains better than refined grains?

Whole grains are grains that have not been refined (milled). When grains are refined, the bran and the germ are removed. Examples of refined grains are enriched pasta, white rice, and white flour products. Although vitamins and minerals are added after the milling process, refined grains have fewer nutrients than whole grains and do not contain much fiber.

Whole grains are high in fiber.

High-fiber diets are recommended to help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well as digestive disease.

For these reasons whole grains are a better choice than refined grains.

How can I tell if a grain is whole or refined?

Look for the words "whole grain" among the first ingredients listed on the food label. Brown wheat bread isn't necessarily whole grain, unless the label says "whole wheat" or "whole grain." Some products are a mixture of whole and refined grains. Most refined grains are enriched, which means that certain B vitamins and iron have been added back in after processing. Fiber is not added after processing.

Whole grains include:

Brown rice
Bulgur (cracked wheat)
Whole wheat bread, crackers, pasta, tortillas, sandwich buns and rolls
Whole grain barley and cornmeal
Whole rye
Wild rice.
Some other less well-known whole grains are:

Amaranth, which is an herb that is used like a grain. It can be cooked as a cereal, ground into flour, or toasted. The seeds can be cooked with other whole grains, added to a stir-fry or to soups and stews.

Millet, which is very easy to digest and can be used as a cereal and in casseroles, breads, stews, puddings, or stuffing for vegetables or meat.

Quinoa, which is used like rice to make pilaf or other seasoned side dishes.

Triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye and has a nutty flavor.

Refined grains include:

Corn tortillas
Flour tortillas
Pasta (enriched spaghetti and macaroni)
Pita bread
White bread, sandwich buns and rolls
White rice
White flour.
Some of the refined products listed above are available in whole grain. Look at the ingredient list on the label for the words whole wheat or whole grain. Ready-to-eat breakfast cereals may be whole-grain or refined grain.

How many grain products should be eaten daily?

Most Americans eat plenty of grains, but not enough whole grains. The amount you need depends on your age, height, gender, and level of activity. An average of 6 one-ounce servings (equivalents) of grain each day is recommended for adults. (Grain equivalents are a portion measurement used in the new Food Guide Pyramid and are similar in size to starch portions on the American Diabetes food lists.) At least 3 the 6 servings should be whole grain. In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cereal, or a half cup of cooked rice or pasta counts as 1 ounce equivalent.

For more information on grain equivalents, see and click the link to see the grain equivalent chart.

How can I include more whole grains in my diet?

There are many quick-fix whole-grain products available, such as high-fiber cereals (shredded wheat, bran flakes, and oatmeal), breads, and multigrain muffins. When you cook, substitute whole grains for refined grains. Try brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice, use whole grain barley or wild rice in soups, or use rolled oats instead of refined breadcrumbs.

Try to choose grain products that contain 3 or more grams of fiber per serving.


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