a view of a wheat field during sunset

Whole Grain

Whole Grain the Whole Story

Whole grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet.[1] And it’s not just hype or a fad. So what is whole grain exactly? Well, the clue is in the name…Whole grains are the complete grain, with all its nutrients. Unlike refined grains, nothing has been taken away.

What about white?

When grains are refined to make ‘white’ products, like white bread, and white rice and pasta, the outer parts of the grain are thrown away and only the middle section is used. It’s fine to eat refined foods – don’t panic! – they’re good for you too, they just don't contain as many nutrients as their whole grain sibling.

Bran: The fibre-rich outer layer contains protein, B vitamins and antioxidants

Endosperm: The starchy bit in the middle includes protein and carbohydrates for energy, and some B vitamins

Germ: Packed with nutrients, the inner part contains B vitamins and vitamin E plus minerals like magnesium, and omega-6 fatty acids.

Illustration of a whole grain

Did you

know?

Illustration of a globe

Wheat almighty!

Wheat is the most widely grown cereal grain. It’s grown on over 17 per cent of the total cultivated land in the world, and is the staple food for 35 per cent of the world’s population. It provides more calories and protein in the world’s diet than any other crop.

Illustration of puffing grains

Pop goes the kernel!

Popcorn is simply a puffed-up whole grain. It’s made from a special type of corn called ‘zea mays everta’ – the only type of corn that can ‘pop’. Try popping your own corn at home with the kids – great fun!

Whole grain or not whole grain?

Grains are everywhere! Drive out into the countryside in summertime, and you’ll see fields of wheat, oats, barley and corn (for rice, which is grown in waterlogged paddy fields, you might have to travel a bit further….).

But when you’re back in town, staring at the supermarket shelves, how can you tell the whole from the not-so-whole? You may be surprised that some of the foods you’d imagine to be whole grain, actually aren’t.

Discover some fun facts about whole grain

These are whole grains

a bowl of pop corn

 

 

  • Bulgur wheat
  • Whole corn
  • Cracked wheat
  • Whole oats
  • Durum wheat
  • Rolled oats
  • Buckwheat
  • Porridge
  • Spelt
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole barley
  • Oat flakes
  • Hulled barley
  • Brown rice
  • Naked barley
  • Wild rice
  • popcorn
 

These aren't whole grains

a bowl of white rice
  • Bran
  • Corn meal
  • Polenta
  • Corn grits
  • Pearled barley
  • White rice
  • popcorn

Go whole grain!

So whole grains are an important part of a varied, balanced diet for your whole family – and they taste great too! Go whole grain!

Find out more about switching to whole grain

a bowl of white rice

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