The whole grain truth

In my business, I see a lot of diabetics or folks that just want to lose weight and want to know the best foods to eat. When it comes to grains, I always let them know that the less processed the better because whole grains provide more nutrients such as vitamins, minerals plus more fiber than ground grains. The following is an excellent article explaining the digestive benefits of whole grains — Lori

By Diana Mirkin
co-author of The Whole Grains Cookbook

When grains are processed into flour or cereals, the primary concern is loss of nutrients. However, if you grind your own grains or use products that are made from the whole grain without discarding anything, you get all or most of the nutrients of the original grain. But grains that have been broken apart in any way will be digested quicker. That’s a big disadvantage for diabetics and dieters.

Carbohydrates are long chains of sugars, and only single sugars can be absorbed from your intestines into your bloodstream. The foods that cause rapid rise in blood sugar are those that are digested most quickly; the worst offenders are sugar and anything made from flour.

When you eat whole grains (seeds), it takes a long time to break apart the capsule, separate the carbohydrates from the fiber, and completely digest each grain. Your blood sugar rises slowly, stays slightly elevated for a long time (so you don’t feel hungry again soon after eating) and never reaches the high levels that come from sugar or flour.

Grains that are eaten as whole seeds are also more filling and satisfying because they have more bulk and take longer to break down. Part of their bulk comes from water: each seed swells up when it cooks and soaks up water, which is carried in the grain until it is completely broken down in your digestive tract.

The water you drink, on the other hand, is absorbed directly from your stomach almost as soon as it gets there. Water and other liquids do not “fill you up.” Processed grains absorb some water when you cook them, but less than the whole seeds; and the water is separated out more quickly during the digestive process.

Most people can easily eat two or three cups of pasta, but you will find that you feel full with just a cup of whole grains, or even less.

The whole grains are chewy and take more time to eat. Some of the seeds are broken apart by your chewing, but not all of them. Some of the grains may even pass through your system undigested.

On the other hand, anything made from flour or grains that have been cut, flaked, rolled or shredded has been thoroughly pre-chewed and pre-digested for you. You may get all the nutrients of the whole grains, but you don’t get the full benefits of bulk and slow transit through your digestive system.

Whole grain pastas, breads and cereals are certainly better than refined grain products, but to get ALL the benefits of whole grains, eat the seeds themselves.

Diana Mirkin, wife of nutrition expert Dr. Gabe Mirkin, is the director of Dr. Mirkin’s DASH-Plus Cooking School. She has taught thousands of people how to make healthy foods taste delicious. She is co-author with Dr. Mirkin of The Healthy Heart Miracle, The Whole Grains Cookbook, The 20/30 Fat and Fiber Diet Plan, and Fat Free, Flavor Full. She has developed hundreds of recipes that follow Dr. Mirkin’s guidelines for healthy eating, featuring whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit.

  • Share/Bookmark

About admin
Passionate in her concern for people, Lori Drummond has dedicated herself to helping others gain better health through better nutrition. That's why Good Health Consulting Inc. exists. The lifelong wellness disciple knows there are no magic wands to a healthy life, but that amazing results can follow careful, committed choices. A registered, clinical dietitian and learning-hungry entreprenuer, Lori wants to share her compassionate competency with you so that you might have a more active, extended life. So much life awaits you. Start making good choices today that will benefit you and your loved ones for years. Call Lori at 786-390-3540 or write to her at

Speak Your Mind