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Why Whole Grains Are Much Healthier Than Refined Grains

Updated on August 20, 2017
Chuck Bluestein profile image

At age 16 I was a volunteer at a hospital bacteriology lab. I became a chemist for U.S. government. Then I studied health & related fields.

Alicia Silverstone Eats Whole Grains Like Whole Wheat or Brown Rice

Alicia Silverstone is a vegan.
Alicia Silverstone is a vegan.
Alicia Silverstone in make-up for movie Vamps. She plays a vampire that does not live on human blood.
Alicia Silverstone in make-up for movie Vamps. She plays a vampire that does not live on human blood. | Source
Click on the link below to see the recipe from Alicia Silverstone's website for Whole Wheat Lasagna with Italian "Sausage" and Peppers. It is vegan sausage. First ingredient is 1 box of whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles.
Click on the link below to see the recipe from Alicia Silverstone's website for Whole Wheat Lasagna with Italian "Sausage" and Peppers. It is vegan sausage. First ingredient is 1 box of whole wheat or brown rice lasagna noodles. | Source

Whole Grains Much Healthier Than Refined Grains

This was written March 31, 2012. There is a huge difference in how whole grains affect your health compared to refined grains with a minimal difference in taste. This Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 will be the first Whole Grain Sampling Day by the Whole Grains Counsel. Many are participating including McDonald's.

That's what will happen on April 4th, 2012, when the Whole Grains Council holds its first-ever Whole Grain Sampling Day. Our goal, at the end of the day, is to have people everywhere saying, "That was great! Where have you been all my life?"

The mind is like a parachute. It works best when it is open. Note that the links below are in blue. Also if you right click the BACK button on the upper left hand side, you get a menu of the webpages that you were at and you can select one to go back to. Also you can always click on FILE and create another window so you can go back to another page while having this page in another window. I do that a lot, but my computer has enough memory to do that. I could make is so whenever you click on a link, it opens in a new window, but that is not good with old computers with small memory.

Why Refine Grains To Begin With

This article will have some things that you cannot find elsewhere. Whole grains are much healthier for you but I will start with why they started refining grains. Today there is refrigeration and freezers that can kill any very tiny eggs. Once I went to a health food store during the summer. It did not have air conditioning and its door was kept open. They had grains in bulk where you scoop out as much as you want.

This is the only time that I had seen this. There was rice (means white rice) in one bin with nothing else in it. Next to it was brown rice and it had moths and the moth larva inside the bin with the rice. So apparently they do not want the white rice. So before refrigeration, that would create a motivation to refine rice. Also rice is refined to increase its storage time. The essential oils in brown rice go rancid after 6-8 months while white rice lasts up to 10 years. So just buy it in smaller amounts. Also I saw on another website that whole wheat will get bugs in it after awhile but the refined wheat will not.

Here is the latest USDA Whole Grain Resource for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs: A Guide to Meeting the Whole Grain-Rich Criteria. It is loaded with lots of good information on whole grains. It says:

Foods that meet the whole grain-rich criteria for the
school meal programs contain 100 percent whole
grain or a blend of whole-grain meal and/or flour and
enriched meal and/or flour of which at least 50 percent
is whole grain.

“Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant
foods, and low in total fat, saturated fat, and
cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease
and certain cancers.”
OR
“Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant
foods, and low in saturated fat and cholesterol,
may help reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Parts of the Grain

The grain has 3 parts-- the bran, the germ and the endosperm. When the grain is refined they take off the germ and bran like with wheat. Then they sell the wheat bran in the health food store and the wheat germ in the health food store. So all that is left is the wheat endosperm, which is called wheat. The bran has most of the fiber. The germ has most of the nutrients. So the endosperm has a lot of calories. The germ and bran also has a lot of anti-oxidants.

Now I do not talk in absolutes like on food is good for health and one is bad for health. I just talk in relatives like instead of saying that grapes are healthy, I say that organic grapes are healthier than conventional grapes. I am not saying that you need to eat any grains, but if you do eat grains, try to eat the whole grains. It is much better to get organic grains than conventional grains. See my article about the importance of buying and Eating Organic Food.

Dietary Fiber and Nutrients

There is not just one kind of fiber. Fiber can be divided into soluble and non-soluble, but there are many kinds of dietary fiber like dextrins, inulin, lignin, waxes, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans, and oligosaccharides, arabinoxylans, cellulose and more. The point of this is to leave the fiber that is already in foods and not take it out and try to replace it. Only plant foods have fiber in it.

They also have enriched grains where they refine it taking off the 2 parts and thereby removing a lot of fiber and nutrients. They are called enriched since then they try to add that stuff back but it is a poor imitation. They do not add the fiber back and you cannot replace these fibers with a fiber supplement since there are so many kinds of fibers. Also the nutrients are not the same since they are not part of the food but man made. I also have an article about how there is a Difference Between Minerals From Foods and Non-Foods.

The fiber fills you up but provides no calories, but it helps to clean your colon. See my article What Food Nutrition Labels Do Not Tell You That You Need to Know. It explains why you need to subtract calories out of the calories listed on the label. The U.S. National Library of Medicine, Pub Med says:

Individuals with high intakes of dietary fiber appear to be at significantly lower risk for developing coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and certain gastrointestinal diseases. Increasing fiber intake lowers blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels. Increased intake of soluble fiber improves glycemia and insulin sensitivity in non-diabetic and diabetic individuals.

Difference in Taste

There is a difference in taste between whole grains and refined grains but many tastes in foods are acquired. Whole wheat used in a pizza or stromboli tastes kind of heavy and bland, if you are used to eating it with refined wheat. They do have breads made with whole wheat and other grains that have been sprouted to make it healthier. Some of these taste really good. To me the whole wheat pastas taste just as good as wheat pasta. Note that wheat means refined wheat just like rice means white rice.

Americans eat too much wheat so it is best to try other grains. Besides allergies, there are intollerances or hypersensitivities to foods. When eating foods that you are hypersensitive to, it causes your heath to be far below what it can be. Note that with an actual allergy to a food, eating the food can kill you. More Americans have hypersensitivities to wheat than any other food, followed by dairy.

Sixty percent (60%) of Americans have a hypersensitivity to wheat, followed by dairy. It may take days of not eating a food that you are intollerant of before seeing a difference. But I have an article on the Benefits of Fasting and that means that you are not having any reactions to any foods since you just consume pure water.

I think that brown rice tastes better than white rice. It has a nuttier taste. Note that there are also brown rice pastas. For health, beside eating whole grains make sure to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans.

June 2016 addition-- Is it Worth Switching from White Rice to Brown? by Micael Greger M.D. Whiie rice causes diabetes unlike brown rice.

Whole Grains May Work As Well As Drugs with Michael Greger M.D.

The Benefits Of Whole Grains with Liz Weiss R.D.

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