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Refined Grains Vs. Whole Grains

Let’s all face it: Bread tastes better than vegetables.  Given the choice of a warm piece of bread or a carrot stick, if not for being conscious about the caloric differences, what would we all opt for?  Bread includes the family of “grains” and we have all heard of the concept of “whole grains” and “refined grains”.  So, what are the differences?  Here is the breakdown:

Whole Grains: These unrefined grains haven’t had their bran and germ removed by milling; therefore, all of the nutrients remain intact. Whole grains are better sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. Whole grains are either single foods, such as brown rice and popcorn, or ingredients in products, such as buckwheat in pancakes or whole wheat in bread. 

Refined Grains: In contrast to whole grains, refined grains are milled, a process that strips out both the bran and germ to give them a finer texture and longer shelf life. The refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. Refined grains include white flour, white rice, white bread and degermed cornflower. Many breads, cereals, crackers, desserts and pastries are made with refined grains, too. These processed foods will not keep your blood sugar levels steady, which is why you will be hungry again soon after consumption.

Studies have shown that low-caloric dietary approaches that include whole grains burn off considerably more fat than the same caloric diets that allow for refined grains to be consumed.

The bottom line:  Refined grains should be very much limited during long-term weight control efforts.  Including whole grain foods will be much more compatible with seeing the scale number you desire and also being able to include some non-proteins in your dietary approach.

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