You don’t like to think the brands you know and trust are out to get you. But when it comes to eating healthier, they really don’t have your best interests at heart.
This is entirely on display when it comes to whole grains. Everybody knows by now that whole grains are healthy. High in fiber and other nutrients, these products might help improve heart health, gut health, and reduce blood pressure.
But there are plenty of products out there presenting as whole grain that aren’t. For example, terms like “multigrain,” “contains whole grains,” “honey wheat,” and “12-grain” sound super healthy. But they are by no means healthy whole grain products.
See, at no point does a “12-grain” option suggest whole grain. It simply states there are 12 grains. They could have been refined and stripped of their nutrients.
Crazy right? And they’re not breaking any rules. But people don’t know that.
A recent study found that a lot of people are selecting unhealthy products they think are whole grain. These decisions, according to researchers, are the result of terms like “contains whole grain,” “12-grain,” “ancient grains” and the like.
The reality is that most of these products are predominantly refined grains and can contribute to conditions like type-2 diabetes and heart problems.
You can avoid getting mixed up in this trickery by doing two things. The first is to read the ingredient list and nutrition label. If the first few words you’re seeing are “whole grains” or “whole wheat,” you’re likely safe. If you see “enriched flour” or “wheat flour,” it’s not a fully whole-grain product and should be left on the shelf.
In terms of nutrition, you’ll want to look at the fiber and carbohydrate content to help identify it is a whole grain. Generally, stay away from bread that features more than 23 grams of carb and fewer than 3 grams of fiber.
You can also look for the Whole Grain Council’s seal of approval. The Whole Grain Council is a third party that verifies the whole grain content of a product. They have a 100% stamp, meaning the product is 100% whole grain. They also have a 50% stamp to indicate at least half of the product is whole grain (at least 8g of whole grain per serving).
So, don’t fall for the claims on the front of the bag and end up harming your health. Use these tools to pick useful whole grain products that might contribute to a healthier heart, better blood sugar control, and less inflammation.