By PK, We Live Concepts
***Before beginning this posting, I would like to express my condolences to the people of Japan who have lost their families and homes during this devastating disaster. Please consider donating to American Red Cross to support their relief efforts in the area. To follow their relief efforts, click here; to donate to American Red Cross, click here.***
One of the events was a lecture about preventing heart attack and high blood pressure. During the lecture, the physician suggested that one of the things we can do to promote heart health is reducing belly fats, and in order to do so, one should “eat no grains”.
Having grown up in a rice-eating culture, my reaction was, “OMG! no grains, no way!” I had often enjoyed bringing rice to work for lunch. Subsequently, it was necessary for me to do some research on this very issue.
Grains are an essential part of our food supply, not only in the US but also the world. However, according to the USDA’s report, Grain Consumption by Americans in 2005, Americans on average were eating too much refined grain as opposed to whole grains, with Asian Americans constituting the worst group…yikes! Recently, in the new Dietary Guideline for Americans, 2010, published in January, 2011, the USDA and Health and Human Services jointly recommended that Americans consume up to about 50% of our dietary grain as whole grain.
By USDA definition, whole grains must contain the entire grain kernel, including the bran, germ and endosperm. Refined grains are milled with its bran and germ removed. Although the milling process improves texture and shelf-life, it removes the fiber, many B vitamins, and iron. Many refined grain products are enriched afterwards, by which many of the B vitamins and iron are added back. Oftentimes, fiber is not added back to the enriched products.
So, since every wholesome meal starts with smart shopping, the next time you shop for a quick lunch or any meal for you and your family, consider reading the labels carefully. The USDA has these shopping tips that may help you make some smart choices.
Products that carry these names FIRST on the ingredient list suggest whole grain:
- Brown rice
- Graham flour
- Whole-grain corn
- Whole oats
- Whole rye
- Whole wheat
- Wild rice
- 100% wheat
- Cracked wheat
- Seven grains
Color is not a good indicator of whole grain since added ingredients such and molasses can add brown color to the product.
Keywords that indicate added sugars are sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, molasses.
Choose foods that claim to be “low in sodium” or “very low in sodium” in the front, then check the Nutritional Facts label to check the sodium contents. Foods that contain less than 140mg of sodium per serving are considered “low sodium”.
So much for now. In the future, I will try to share some practical tips and recipes to get tasty whole grains into our lunch.