I was shocked recently when I took a visit to my local supermarket and decided to actually read the labels. Normally, I go about my business, buying whole grain products thinking I’m making a great nutritional decision.Unfortunately, this little shopping trip quickly made me realize that all whole grain products aren’t good for you at all, and you’re being sold a bill of goods by half the products out on the market claiming to be ‘healthy’.
Food made from white flour fall into the category we all try to avoid of bad carbs. These are the bad foods that will make your metabolic level increase and decrease drastically, which is hard on your body. White flour also doesn’t really provide any nutritional value at all; it is pretty worthless in giving your body anything valuable that it can use to sustain energy. White flour turns into sugar just about as soon as you eat it, which makes your blood sugar go up and down.
Whole wheat on the other hand is digested a lot slower than white flour. The reason for this is that it has more fiber in it, which is harder and slower for the body to break down. Because it is a slower process, you get the benefit of the food but your blood sugar doesn’t go up or down rapidly, it is slowly released.
Eating white flour foods is a contributor to obesity and diabetes. Many of the ‘whole grain’ products being advertised aren’t whole grain at all; some are less than 50% whole grain! How is this even legal! Busy people trust the labels to not be false advertising. The food companies have done everything that they can do to sell their products no matter what they may claim and find ways to market their products by testing the boundaries of what is allowed, and what is morally the correct thing to do.
Many people are convinced they are making smart food choices by choosing whole grain products. A quick trip down the bread or pasta aisle will show you a plethora of whole grain products. Over the years, the look of the bread aisle has gone from primarily white breads and pastas to featuring even more of the whole grain variety.
The problem comes in when you really examine the products- most of them are not entirely whole grain. This is the case for the rice, cereals, crackers, and other products that you are buying, thinking you’re making smart food decisions.
The food producers realized that we are all on a quest to make smarter food choices. Obesity and heart disease are epidemics in this country, and our doctors are touting whole grain products to help us live healthier lives. But the food companies also realize that we’re in a hurry, and likely to just buy whatever brand announces “WHOLE GRAIN!!” the largest on the label.
So now that you realize you’ve been duped, what can you do about it? Take time to inspect the labels. If a product really is completely whole grain, it will brag amount it on the label. If a product is not 100% whole grain, you’ll probably see that big “WHOLE GRAIN” label I warned you about, but smaller, you’ll likely see something like “45% whole grain” underneath it in tiny letters.
Another way to tell is if you see a note saying ‘created’ or ‘made’ with whole wheat- that means it may contain some whole wheat, but it isn’t entirely whole wheat. If you see ‘multigrain’, that is also a telltale sign that you’re looking at a product that is only partially whole wheat.
If you’re still having a problem determining what you’re looking at- take a brief look at the ingredient list. The first ingredient should be ‘whole wheat flour’, not flour or wheat flour, which means white flour. ‘Whole wheat flour’ shows that the flour they used to make the product was created using whole grains from wheat.
If you can’t tell, pass on it, and buy another product. There are enough clearly labeled products out there that you should be able to find one that is whole wheat. Whether it takes a few extra minutes, or even a few extra dollars, whole wheat bread, pasta and other items are well worth it.