a wheat field during sunset

Whole Grain

The Whole Story on Whole Grain

The word is out … whole grain is better for us. And it’s not just a hype, fad or myth. So what is whole grain exactly? Well, the clue is in the name…Whole grains are the complete grain, with all its nutrients. Unlike processed grains that have been stripped of their nutrients, nothing has been taken away from whole grains.

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! Go hiking in the countryside in October, and you’ll see rice paddies. Go in May and you'll see fields of corn (for wheat, oats and barley 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
  • Oatmeal
  • Spelt
  • Oatmeal
  • Whole barley
  • Oat flakes
  • Hulled barley
  • Brown rice
  • Naked barley
  • Wild rice

These aren't whole grains

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

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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    We've tried to answer as many of your questions as possible. You can search them all here:

    What are the health and nutritional benefits of Nestlé Gluten Free Corn Flakes?
    As well as being a healthy choice for people who want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, or have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, Gluten Free Corn Flakes are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron
    I’ve heard a low GI diet can help me lose weight. Is this true?

    It’s too early to say. The science in this area is still emerging. There is evidence that low GI foods take longer to digest and help you feel satisfied for longer, but none that you’ll eat fewer calories at the next meal.

    Is Nestlé planning to launch gluten-free versions of its other cereals or cereal bars?
    Not yet, but we will keep listening and responding to people’s needs.
    Why do some breakfast cereals have different serving sizes labeled on pack?

    The serving sizes mentioned on breakfast cereals can slightly differ, mainly due to differences in product density. Beyond its nutrients density, it’s also important for the portion size to suit the average cereal bowl. Some types of breakfast cereals, such as mueslis or granolas, are denser than traditional flakes; so a 30 g serving could look tiny and unrealistic in a bowl – that's why we use 45 g as a reference. These different serving sizes have been defined by the European cereals trade association and consistently applied by all industry members in Europe.

    Does the high GI of breakfast cereals negate the whole grain benefits?

    No. Even though some foods made with whole grain have a high GI, you can still benefit by including them in a healthy, balanced diet. Eating lots of whole grain can be good for the heart, even if the GI of the food is high. The whole population can benefit from eating more whole grain; the effect of low GI foods is still not clear.

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