In the grocery store today, there are thousands of health claims all screaming for your attention to be the healthiest and the best, but what most people know is that many of those claims are NOT REGULATED or are very loosely regulated. Learning to read the back of the package is KEY to verifying whether or not those claims are valid.
Whole grain is a great example. Here are some great tidbits that can help you when shopping for grains:
- “Made with whole grain” or “Made with 100% whole grain” meansNOTHING. That just means that there are some whole grains somewhere in the product.
- Does NOT mean that the product is free from OTHER processed grains or added sugar.
- Wheat Flour=White flour-NO DIFFERENCE…..ALL FLOUR COMES FROM WHEAT
- “Multi-Grain,” “Stone Ground,” EVEN ”Whole Grain” are not regulated and don’t make the item any better for you. “Stone ground” just means that the grain was ground with a stone. The same applies for multi grain. Just because something has many grains in it, does not mean that they have not been processed with chemicals into high glycemic foods.
- Avoid “Enriched” products. We often think that when a product is enriched, it is has more vitamins and is better for us. What is actually true is that the product has been processed so far that it lacks any nutritional value and must therefore be “enriched” with them. The vitamins they add to these products are often not in the most bioavailable form, meaning that your body often does not absorb the amount that is listed on the nutrition label.
Tips for spotting a good label:
- 100% Whole Grain or 100% Whole Wheat-not “made with”
- Whole Grain must be FIRST ingredient
- ALL OTHER FLOURS MUST HAVE “WHOLE” BEFORE THEIR NAME
- Ezekial Sprouted Grain Bread (freezer section) is a perfect example of an entirely whole grain bread. Because the grains are not processed, this bread is far lower on the glycemic index than wheat bread (wheat bread is about 71 compared to Ezekial at 36).
Always flip your package over and look on the back to see if the claims on the front are true. If you are one who eats grains, remember to eat them most often in their whole food form. There are many perspectives on grains, but it is interesting to note that there is nothing unique in grains that cannot be found in other foods. At least knowing how to choose the best ones will take you a long way if you choose to eat them.
Remember that these foods are starchy and should be eaten in moderation. ½ cup serving at breakfast and lunch provides plenty of carbohydrates for the body to function when combined with the carbs in fruits and vegetables.
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- Look through the packages in your pantry and compare the claims on the front to the ingredients on the back.
- Work to decrease packaged grain products in general, but make sure to keep your portions small.
- Make a small “cheat sheet” from this article to help you in the grocery store.