6 Benefits of Whole Grains

6 Benefits of Whole Grains

Most of you were probably there to witness the excitement that was the 2015 Whole Grain Summit live and in person last June. However, for the slackers who missed out on the action-packed event, here are a few important takeaways:

•   Purchases of whole grains products increased over the past decade
•   Whole grains cost between 24 and 46 percent more than refined grains
•   The quinoa square hors d’oeuvres served at happy hour were severely under-toasted.


“There’s a growing movement toward consuming more whole foods,” says Denis Faye, Beachbody’s Director of Nutrition Content. “Man-added nutrients are fine — a multivitamin is a man-made source of nutrients, for example — but you should aim to get the majority of your nutrients from a natural source.”

As for the cost, the long-term benefits outweigh the money saved in the short-term, says Faye. “Quit trying to get a lot out of cheap food,” he avers. “Two-thirds of our country is overweight, and while the ‘refined grains are cheaper’ argument works in extreme circumstances, it makes sense for people to spend a little extra on things like whole grains whenever possible.”

Why is that? Because whole grains are healthier for you than refined ones. Here are six reasons why.


1. They Can Boost Your Fiber Intake

Fibrous grains like oats, bulgur, and whole grain rye can provide you with the soluble and insoluble fiber necessary to help you remain full, control blood sugar levels, and stave off cardiovascular disease. The Institute of Medicine suggests that adult males and females take in 25 grams and 38 grams of fiber per day, respectively. Following their instruction can lead to…
2. More Rewarding Bathroom Trips!
“Fiber helps you poop,” Faye ever so eloquently reminds us. Moreover, a high-fiber diet can keep bowel movements healthy and regular.


3. Whole Grains Boost Phytonutrient Consumption

Whole grains naturally contain phytonutrients that support your efforts to remain free from type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Then humans stripped the fiber, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytochemicals during the refining process. The result? A diet high in refined grains — white bread, white rice, non-whole wheat pasta, instant oatmeal, and sugary cereals made with enriched flour — instead of organic ones.


4. They Help Control Hunger Cravings

Riding the refined grain train and snacking on foods high on the glycemic index (a ranked list of foods ordered based on how they increase your blood sugar) will initiate a blood sugar spike and can set you on a path toward nonstop cravings. “Refined grains act a lot like sugar,” explains Faye. When you eat them, “insulin comes in to get rid of the extra blood sugar. Once it’s gone, the insulin remains in the system. Then you crave more food.”


5. Whole Grains Add Nutrient Variety to Your Diet

A small percentage of the population has celiac disease — a medical reason to avoid gluten. Another small percentage has developed an intolerance to gluten, which Faye believes may be due to overconsumption. “I think gluten is an issue, but I don’t think gluten is the monster it’s created to be,” he says.

“We’re eating this [protein] in wheat so much that we’re developing a collective intolerance. Our bodies weren’t meant to eat the same things over and over. By doing so we’re missing out on nutrients we may have not even discovered yet. Plus, variety in your diet can leave you less likely to develop food allergies.” If you’re looking to taste test gluten-free grains, give a nod to teff, millet, buckwheat, or amaranth. I’m guessing you’ve already eaten wild rice and quinoa, which are also gluten-free.


6. They’re Easy to Cook With

A 2014 study published in journal Public Health Nutrition found that at-home cooks consumed more fiber and less calories, carbs, and sugar compared to those who dined out. Using hemp and barley, as well as the aforementioned teff, buckwheat, or amaranth are simple, healthy ways to beef up your meals with nutrients. “It’s not like you’re being asked to eat fried grasshopper,” says Faye. “Grains are super easy to work with — you can even throw them in your oatmeal.”


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  1. Louise Bradt said:

    I’m just going to post this link and people can read the article if they want… I haven’t eaten grains for nearly 18months. The benefits to my health have been huge. If you want to supple me with grains that are free of any form of genetic modification then I will gladly eat them until then there is not a hope of me adding that poison back into my diet, becaus that is exactly what it is – a poison


  2. Mtnhikr9 said:

    I agree with you on this point. We quit buying GMO as much as is humanly possible years ago. I’m from Iowa and have spoken with so many farmers that have been run out of business or taken over by Monsanto. Unreal what they get away with. I have been milling my own grain and baking my bread for my family for over a year now and the results have been amazing. I get my grains in 6 gallon buckets. Organic everything. The only ingredients are milled wheat, olive oil, honey, real salt, water and yeast. Real bread is amazing. I sprout my grains to make fresh Ezekiel bread also. So much better than what you can get in the freezer section of the health food store.
    Just in case you would like to read more.

    • Kris Lindeman Vassel said:

      What kind of bread do you make for your family? Would you mind sharing the recipe? I really want to start doing this for my family.

      • Mtnhikr9 said:

        I make white/wheat, red wheat and Ezekiel breads mostly but I also do muffins and pizza dough and tortillas as well. I measure out 3 cups of whatever wheat I am using and mill it into flour. I place 1 1/2 cups warm water, 1/3 cup local honey, 1/3 cup olive oil into my bread maker (//www.zojirushi.com). Next I add 1-2tsp real salt, 1 TBS rice Lecithin. Then I add the freshly milled flour and 1TBS of active yeast and close the lid and in 2 hours bread is warm and served. It takes me a total of 7 min prep time. The machine does the rest. I got my wondermill through the Bread Becker’s where I also buy my wheat and gallons of honey and real olive oil. Up front cost is a little steep to get started but it is totally worth it. It is so easy and they help out setting you up and with any questions. They have a great video library on their website demonstrating so many receipies. I hope this helps. Let me know if I can help further.