The Big Deal About Whole Grain

Today we are going to talk a little about whole grains. We all hear about how important whole grains are, but how do we know we are getting a whole grain product when we buy it? Why are whole grains so important?

You must look at the package label or nutritional label and to see what the ingredients are. What you should not see in that ingredient list is “enriched flour”. Enriched flour is not the whole grain. What happens in the processing of the grain is the outer covering of the grain is removed. Then in the processing of the product the manufacturer “enriches” that grain with the vitamins and minerals that were removed with the outer covering.

What was removed? On a whole grain that outer covering contains vitamins, minerals, and fiber. During digestion our body must work to process that outer covering. During digestion our body must turn what we eat into something the body can use. The smallest thing the body can make that our body can use at the cellular level is called glucose. Fiber is hard for the body to deal with. The body burns calories processing fiber. Because the body works harder, it takes longer for our body to process the material thus, remaining in our system longer which, in turn, makes us feel full longer. Because the body processes this material slower, there is a steady amount of glucose that gets into our blood stream. Whereas with enriched flour, or white flour, the body does not have to deal with the fiber. As a result, that material is digested easily and quickly. This causes a large amount of glucose to enter our blood stream quickly. The body does not need all of that energy that quickly so it stores the extra in the liver and fat cells. A couple of hours later when the glucose is used or stored, the body tells you it is hungry, we may feel tired, or have the shakes, so we eat again starting the cycle all over. Next time we will talk about carbohydrates and help you make better choices for you and your family.

Since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, here are some other quick breakfast suggestions. Those who are diabetic require 2 servings of a carbohydrate for breakfast. To the egg dishes you can add 2 slices of whole grain bread, a whole wheat English muffin, a whole wheat mini bagel, or wrap your egg creation in 2 whole grain tortillas.

You can top your whole grain bread with a sugar-free jam, which has about 5 grams of carbohydrates.

    • Whole-grain toast topped with fat-free cheese slice and tomatoes then broil
    • Low-carbohydrate yogurt with a little bran cereal or fruit
    • Half of a whole-grain English muffin topped with tomato slice and a poached egg
    • ½ cup liquid egg substitute with ½ cup thawed frozen spinach and 1 tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese. Mix together and place in glass pie plate (or equivalent). Cover with piece of waxed paper and cook in microwave until set in center.
    • ½ cup liquid egg substitute added to sautéed vegetables  of your choice in small skillet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray:


  • Tomatillo and onion then top with salsa
  • Mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, asparagus, zucchini, roasted bell peppers (use your imagination)
  • Fat-free cheddar cheese omelet with sliced tomatoes
  • Top a Portobello mushroom cap with sliced tomato, broil for 3 minutes, top with ½ cup liquid egg substitute, scrambled