Grain Is Still an Important Part of Diet

With the rise of paleo, keto and other diet plans, we are more and more frequently hearing that we should avoid whole grains. Once the foundation of the food pyramid, now the USDA says about a fourth of your plate should be grains. However, many diets are saying that they are too carb-heavy and shouldn’t play a role in what you eat. So, we’re taking a look at the science. People who eat whole grains have a 30 percent less risk for heart disease.

A higher intake of whole grains is linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality,” according to the CDC. And diets like the Mediterranean diet, which contains plenty of whole grains, have been linked to better cognition and heart health.  

Refined carbs, like white flour, can spike your blood sugar, they aren’t as satiating and they lack fiber. These highly processed carbs aren’t going to help your heart, blood sugar or overall health. But frequently, when we hear “grain,” our minds go to white bread and sugary cereal.

Many people who buy into the keto diet say that carbs are bad,” said Dr. Shivam Joshi, of NYC Health and Hospitals Bellevue and NYU, “I’m defending your unrefined carbs, your fruits, your vegetables, your whole grains, beans, lentils, things like that. These are some of the most healthful foods on the planet.”

Whole grains are literally that. They have the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain still attached. Refined grain has only the endosperm. Some people get confused, thinking that to eat whole grain, they have to consume the plant in an unaltered state. That’s not correct, products — like pasta and bread — can be made using whole grain, it’s just that the complete grain is included in the flour. The endosperm is heavy in carbs and calories with a little protein; the bran has fiber and nutrients; the germ has proteins, fats, carbs, antioxidants, minerals and more. Some breakfast cereals and other products will process grain so finely that even though they claim to use whole grains, they lose their benefits. And, some will use a very small amount of whole grains just to make the claim.  

Along with wheat, rye, barley and other well-known grains, our modern, interconnected world (and Amazon) offer us access to new ones from far off places. We can try out new-to-us cereals like Freekeh, which has four times the amount of fiber found in brown rice. Or, you can give bulgur a shot. One cup of bulgur has 75% of your daily fiber and is fast cooking! Sorghum and millet are other grains that we don’t usually eat but would be interested in trying to spice up our diet.

Speak to your doctor or nutritionist about what grains would be right for you to aid your heart health. If you are thriving on a diet that is low in carbs, you may not want to alter what you’re doing. We want our customers to live their best lives and a health professional who knows your background can help make that a reality!
December 06, 2019
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