I LOVE bread and pasta!
We’ve been making a gradual change in our house though…..eating way less bread and pasta, and more fruits and veggies!
When we do eat bread or pasta, we now always eat WHOLE wheat bread or pasta.
To explain what WHOLE wheat means (and why it matters), a little science lesson is needed:
This is a wheat kernel! The most important parts of it are the BRAN, the ENDOSPERM, and the GERM itself.
The GERM is where the most VALUABLE nutrients are-protein, folic acid, and B Vitamins.
However, when the wheat germ is crushed during the milling process, it releases a nutrient rich oil that gives the flour a very short shelf life.
So food companies remove the germ; thereby removing the issue of a short shelf life. That means the nutrients are removed too!
If the germ is removed (and all the good nutrients!), that leaves just the endosperm. When the endosperm is ground, it makes a powdery white flour. But, that powdery white stuff is MISSING all the nutrients normally found in wheat.
That is why white flour is labeled “enriched”. The wheat germ is removed, and STRIPPED of all nutrients, and a few are ADDED back in.
So why does this matter? It’s simple, once the wheat has been stripped down, you’re left with a starch. How does your body react to pure starch? The same way it reacts to pure sugar!
Eating enriched white flour or products containing enriched white flour causes your body to ride the sugar high/sugar low roller coaster.
Seems a little backwards, right? Why not just grind up the whole wheat kernel, and then not have to add anything back later, right??
Don’t be fooled by enriched flour products that advertise they have “more” nutrients that whole wheat products. Studies have proven that there are “additional health benefits to eating whole grains that none of the nutrients they added back in” could explain.
Just to be clear, bread, pasta, or anything made with “WHEAT FLOUR” is NOT whole wheat flour.
To be considered a WHOLE WHEAT food, it must be made with 100% of the original kernel – all of the bran, germ, and endosperm.
It is then labeled “WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR”.
What are the benefits of eating WHOLE wheat and not PROCESSED wheat?
- Whole-grain foods and fiber, but not refined grains, are associated with reduced risk of pancreatic cancer.
- Women who consumed at least one serving of whole grains/day have a significantly lower BMI and waist circumference than women with no whole grain consumption.
- Whole grain foods are higher in fiber because the wheat germ and bran have not been processed out of them.
- Antioxidants from whole grains, including ferulic acid, contribute to cardiovascular disease prevention.
- Whole grain foods are digested more slowly, leaving you feeling fuller for a longer.
- Intake of whole grain foods and fiber from grains lowers the risk of small intestinal cancer.
- Men and women with a high intake of whole grains have a lower BMI and a lower risk of being overweight/obese than men and women with a low intake of whole grains.
- Whole grains are not processed by your body as a starch, so they don’t throw your body into a sugar dependency cycle.
So kick out those PROCESSED wheat foods, and stick to WHOLE wheat!