Like fruits and vegetables, whole grains are an important part of a healthy balanced diet. Authorities worldwide and many experts recommend that people increase their consumption of whole grains, including the World Health Organisation.
But did you know most people do not eat enough?
What are whole grains?
Grains are considered ‘whole’ if they contain all three edible and nutritious parts of the grain.
When a grain is refined, usually to create “white” products like white flour and white rice, only the middle section of the grain is used. The outer and inner sections are discarded, along with many of the grain’s nutrients. Whole Grain therefore contains more nutrients than refined grains. This is one of the reasons why many authorities recommend choosing whole grain over refined grain in diets.
The 3 parts of the whole grain
As little as it is, a grain has 3 sections: the bran, the endosperm and the germ. These three components of a grain contain different nutrients which play an important role in helping the cereal plant to grow and stay healthy.
The endosperm forms the biggest part of the cereal grain. Its main component is carbohydrates. It is the reserve on which the young plant lives until it has developed a root system. The endosperm is the part of the grain milled to make white flour.
The germ is the embryo or plant organ from which a new plant develops. The germ is present in whole grain flour; white flour does not contain the germ.
The bran is the outer layer of the grain. It protects the seed. The bran is rich in fibre. Whole grain flour contains the bran, but white flour does not.
How much whole grain should I aim for?
The most commonly accepted quantitative recommendation for adults is to eat 48 grams of whole grain per day (US Dietary Guidelines, 2010*).
By choosing 3 options from the list below, you can satisfy the 48 grams of Whole grain recommendation:
- 1 medium slice of whole grain bread
- 1 small whole grain roll
- 1-2 bowls of breakfast cereals made with whole grain
- 3 heaped tablespoons of whole wheat pasta
- 2 heaped tablespoons of boiled brown rice
- 2-3 cups plain popcorn
- 3-4 small whole grain rice cakes or rye crisp breads
As the amount of whole grain used in foods varies greatly, check the labels of your favorites to see how much whole grain you are getting.
Every Nestlé breakfast cereal made with whole grain is made with at least 8g of whole grain per serving.
Look at the side of the pack to see exactly how much Whole Grain we have used in the recipe:
*U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010) Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/PolicyDoc.pdf
How do I know if a food contains whole grain?
Look for “whole”
When in doubt, the simplest thing is to check the ingredients list on the label. Look for the word "whole". Any grain that is described as whole, e.g. whole meal, whole grain wheat, whole grain rice, will contain the whole grain kernel.
Make sure whole grain is one of the first ingredients!
The higher a “whole grain” ingredient is on the ingredients list, the greater is the amount in the product.
With all the different ways grains are included in foods, working out what is and what isn’t a whole grain is not always as easy as it could be.
For example, foods labelled with the following words are not necessarily whole grain, e.g. "multi-grain," "stone-ground," "100% wheat," "cracked wheat," "seven-grain," or "bran" – which many of us assume are rich in whole grain – often do not include any whole grain ingredient at all.
Colour is also not an indication of a whole grain. Brown does not necessary mean whole grain as brown colouring can be added to achieve the brown colour.
The Nestlé Whole Grain Guarantee
All Nestlé Breakfast Cereals are made with whole grain, not all cereals are. This is the Nestlé Whole Grain Guarantee. Every serving of Nestlé breakfast cereals is made with 8 grams or more of whole grain. So look for the Whole Grain Tick on the front of every Nestlé pack – this is our whole grain guarantee for you!