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The Whole Grain and Nothing but the Grain


Reading food labels while grocery shopping has become easier -- if you know what to look for. A variety of approved stamps and labels are being added to food packages. The goal? To help consumers make healthier food choices. According to the 2016 “Better-for-you Eating Trends” report, consumers are more health conscious and looking for foods with added health attributes, including protein, fiber and whole grains. In fact, 57 percent of consumers are interested in whole grains. To keep up with this trend, Oldways Whole Grains Council is rolling out a 50%+ Stamp.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that half of all grains consumed should be whole grains. The new stamp should make it easier for consumers to meet this goal.

What makes a grain a whole grain? Whole grains have their bran, germ and endosperm present in their original proportions. The bran and germ of the grain provide a good source of fiber, vitamin E, B vitamins, iron and antioxidants. Refined grains, on the other hand, have had the bran and germ removed, leaving behind the starchy endosperm and eliminating the majority of health benefits.

Many products include a combination of whole grains and refined grains, making it confusing for the consumer to identify how many whole grains they are getting. To make sure you are getting your whole grains, look for these three whole grain stamps in the grocery store:

• 100% Stamp: All grain in the product is whole grain and it provides at least 16 grams of whole grain per serving • 50%+ Stamp: 50% or more of the grain used in the product is whole grain • Basic Stamp: The product contains at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving

Bottom Line: Eating whole grains provides many health benefits, including assisting with weight maintenance and digestion. The 50%+ Whole-grain stamp is designed to help you make healthier choices while shopping. When in doubt, read the ingredient list and look for the word “whole” in front of grain.

Written by: Kelsey Bird, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern

Source 1: Chicago Tribune

Source 2: Oldways Whole Grains Council

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