Redefining Refined Grains

Original Image by Prem Sichanugrist via Flickr
Original Image by Prem Sichanugrist via Flickr

By: Nikki Nies

When I say we’re redefining refined grains, what I mean is today we’re explaining what it means again.  While I provided a post on Whole Grains previously,I never really followed up on whole grain competition, refined grains.

If you’ve ever felt bombarded in the grocery aisles, trying to compare different brands or types of breads, don’t worry, I’ve been there too!

Refined grains have been milled, which removes the germ and bran of the whole grain.  So, what does that leave? The endosperm.  This removal provides a finer texture to products and extends shelf life.  However, when the bran and germ are removed, the nutrients that are found in there are often not restored.  This means the fiber, B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B6, niacin), chromium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, essential fatty acids, calcium, protein, and iron found in the germ and bran are no longer present in refined products.

Original Image by Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr
Original Image by Meal Makeover Moms via Flickr

Refined grains include: corn bread; corn tortillas; crackers; pastries; desserts; couscous; grits; noodles; pretzels; macaroni; spaghetti; pitas; white bread; white sandwiches and rolls; white rice and/or flour tortillas.

It should be noted that fiber is located in the bran, but products with bran added back into the product doesn’t necessarily mean it’s whole grain (i.e. oat bran).  It’s important to read labels and decipher if what’s being advertised is really what’re you getting!

I hope this run down on refined grains helps you decipher what to buy at the grocery store.  While reading the ingredient list can be time consuming, the more you find yourself reading the lists, the quicker you’ll become at deciding you want to buy a product or not.  Happy shopping and eating!


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