Whole Grain Vs. Whole Wheat - What s the best for you? Part I We have all seen it, 100% whole wheat bread that sits next to the white bread. It looks like white bread, but it says enriched. Enriched with what? Well, let me back up a little. When wheat is harvested the whole grain is taken to the refinery. REFINERY, did you see that! The wheat is heated to a point when the germ and the bran fall off. What is left is the starch, the white part, the not good for you part. The part that has a long shelf life and is bug resistant. Do you know why it is bug resistant? Bugs CANNOT sustain life in it. They will die if they only eat this refined grain. So why on earth, with the abundance of good life sustaining food do we eat white flour, which is the starch of the wheat grain ground up. Honestly do I need to answer that? Take a look around and you will see obesity on the rise, and now not only are adults overweight, but kids, little kids are getting more and more fat. Why? We are feeding ourselves all kinds of unhealthy food. Some do it because it is cheaper, some because of taste, and some just because they don't know any better.
So now that I explained what white bread is made of, let me continue to answer the question of “what exactly is enriched"? After the refinery takes the grains apart and makes white flour, which has no nutrition, they add some vitamins, some minerals, and some fiber, but not even a gram worth. The white bread is enriched with some of the very things they just worked so hard to take out. However, they do not add in as much of the grain they take away, otherwise it would be whole grain. Just enough to add some flavor and calories to it.
What is whole grain? It is the WHOLE grain used in the process of making bread, cereal and the building blocks of many other foods. For it to be truly healthy whole grain needs to be listed on your bread, cereal or other food in the number 1 or number 2 position on the ingredients list. No, whole wheat flour which is followed by (enriched white flour, niacin, and iron) is not healthy, it is a way of making people believe that they are getting a whole grain bread. They are not lying, it is whole wheat flour, but not whole grain. It did come from the wheat plant and it is all wheat, but not all grain. Whole is just another word like all. If you look a little farther down on the list you will see molasses, why molasses you ask? It colors the bread to make it look brown. Yup, white flour plus vitamins and minerals still does not bring the bran back into the bread. Bran is what helps to give the natural brown color to bread. So, they again, add something to it, to try and make it look like something it is not.
Linda Cramer is the owner of Oregon Gourmet Foods and Gifts. Visit our website. http://www.oregongourmetfoods.com