> Whole Grains Prove Superior to Refined Grains - The Food Safety Company Whole Grains Prove Superior to Refined Grains - The Food Safety Company
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    Tuesday, 28 February 2017

    Whole Grains Prove Superior to Refined Grains

    For the health-conscious, whole grain products are preferable to refined or white options. Whole grain is usually less-processed and offers a ton of health benefits. People tend to believe that any dark-coloured or brown bread is healthier than white counterparts. However, the colour of the bread doesn’t matter so much. What is important is that products contain the whole edible grain.

    Img: Serious Eats
    All types of flour are made from the wheat berry, consisting of the bran (outer layer), germ (inner centre) and endosperm (starch in between). Whole grain products include all parts of the wheat berry, accounting for their delivery of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Refined grains only use the endosperm, processing the starchy interior by milling it into a finer texture. This process lengthens the shelf life of the end product but depletes the endosperm of fibre, iron and vitamins. Vitamins and iron can be added back into the flour by enriching it, but the fibre is gone; this explains why refined products are sorely lacking in nutrition .

    The positive connotation with the term “whole grain” means food manufacturers are quick to list it on packaging, but it’s impossible to know whether products actually contain whole grains without reading the ingredient label. As a reference, the following foods are good sources of whole grains:
    • Whole-grain corn
    • Whole oats/oatmeal/porridge
    • Popcorn
    • Brown rice
    • Whole rye
    • Whole-grain barley
    • Wild rice
    • Buckwheat
    • Triticale
    • Bulgar wheat
    • Millet
    • Quinoa
    • Sorghum
    • 100% whole wheat flour

    New Evidence

    In place of refined grains, whole-grains can help increase metabolic rate by reducing the amount of calories retained during digestion, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. An accompanying study examined the effects of whole grains on gut microbiota. These dual studies provided participants with food for eight weeks in order to closely monitor the effects of whole grains on the diet and in the body.

    Some participants were given whole-grain diets that met the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for fibre while others were given a diet of refined grains. For the most part, the diets mirrored each other in terms of energy, macronutrient composition, type of food and meal structure, differing only in grain and fibre content. On average, those on the whole-grain diet lost an extra 100 calories per day thanks to an increased resting metabolic rate and greater fecal movements. Susan B. Roberts, PhD and senior author for the study, said, “The extra calories lost by those who ate whole grains was equivalent of a brisk 30 min walk – or enjoying an extra small cookie every day in terms of its impact.”

    Participants were asked to adhere to their given diets, eating all food provided and forgoing outside foods. The strict guidelines were implemented to fully examine the effects whole grains have on resting metabolic rate, fecal energy losses, hunger and fullness. As such, researchers measured weight, metabolic rate, blood glucose, fecal calories, hunger and fullness throughout the study.

    Whole Nutrition

    Img: The Health-Nut Corner
    The results prove that whole grains are superior to refined grains. Participants consuming the whole grain diet showed an increase in resting metabolic rate and fecal energy losses compared to those on the refined diet. One might assume that the additional fibre from the whole grains was responsible for the fecal energy losses, but this actually stemmed from the effect fibre had on the digestibility of other foods. The whole-grain diet for the study included products containing whole grain flour. Researchers hypothesise that consuming whole grain kernels could have more of an effect.

    Researchers believe that the increased metabolic rate may be due to the strict dietary requirements of the study. Hunger and fullness were the same for both diets.

    Phil J. Karl, PhD and one of the authors of the study and nutrition scientist at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, commented on the findings: “This study helps to quantify how whole grains and fiber work to benefit weight management, and lend credibility to previously reported associations between increased whole grains and fiber consumption, lower body weight and better health.” 

    Jacqui Litvan

    Jacqui Litvan, wielding a bachelor's degree in English, strives to create a world of fantasy amidst the ever-changing landscape of military life. Attempting to become a writer, she fuels herself with coffee (working as a barista) and music (spending free time as a raver).
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