It can be difficult to decifer what you are actually getting when you purchase grains from the store. For instance, what is the difference between a multi-grain bread and a whole wheat bread,or just a wheat bread? So how can you know if the bread you are buying is really 100% whole-wheat bread and doesn’t contain refined flour?
But before I get ahead of myself, what do we want in our grains? Simply, when we consume grain we want the full nutritional value of the grain. A wheat berry contains three parts (germ, bran, and endosperm). We want to consume a flour that contains all three parts. Whole Wheat flour is made by taking the wheat berry and grinding it up thus it contains all three parts of the berry. Processed white flour is made by refining the flour and you are left with only the endosperm which basically translates to high calories and low nutrients.
This refining process doesn’t just happen with wheat, however. It can be applied to all the grains we consume. So how do we know what to look for when we are shopping for grains? Let’s go over a few different types.
Generally you can follow these rules:
If it says: Whole Grain (name of grain), Whole Wheat, Whole (other grain), Stone-ground whole (grain), brown rice, Oats, Oatmeal, or Wheat Berries.
Then: You are getting a whole grain product that contains all three parts of the grain.
But if it says: enriched flour, De-germinated (on corn meal), bran, or wheat germ.
Then: The product is not whole wheat.
If it says: Wheat, wheat flour, semolina, durum wheat, organic flour, stone ground, or multi-grain.
Then: It may or may not be whole wheat. These may accurately describe the package contents but they may still not contain a fully whole wheat product.
Another way to tell if something is whole grain or not a symbol you may find on the product thanks to The Whole Grains Council.
They have a stamp that is placed on many goods that you can look for. The basic stamp means that at least half the grains per serving are whole grain. The 100% stamp means that it is 100% whole wheat. So look for the 100% stamp as this means that all the grains contained therein are whole grain and it contains no refined grains.