Why you should “make half your grains whole grains.”
The new USDA guidelines suggest eating half your grain allowance from foods
containing whole grain. Refined grains do not have all 3 parts of the kernel.
The refining process removes the bran and germ in order to provide longer shelf
life and a more pleasing texture. This process, however, removes nearly all the
fiber, iron, vitamins, and minerals that are so essential to a healthy diet. So
we’ve come down to it, this is the reason to make sure half your grains come
from whole grains: to give yourself much needed fiber and nutrients that would
otherwise be missing.
Finally, whole grains contain fiber, both soluble and insoluble. Soluble
(can be dissolved in water) fiber is the kind that slows down the release of
carbohydrates (sugars) into your blood stream. As any popular diet book will
explain, is that those “tough” parts of the grain which contain fiber which regulates
your blood sugar. The nutrients from food which fuel your brain and body
(carbohydrates/sugar) are released slowly into the bloodstream to allow for a
steady supply of energy. If you eat whole grains with each meal, you will avoid
low blood sugar induced “slumps” of fatigue, mood swings, and harmful vending
machine snacking. Soluble fiber also lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
Insoluble fiber cannot be digested by humans. This sounds undesirable, but
is actually a very good thing. Insoluble fiber moves your food through the
tubes; it moves bulk along the digestive track. Insoluble fiber prevents
constipation, removes toxic waste, and prevents cancer by controlling
intestinal pH balances.