Are Whole Grains Making Us Fat?

A pack of peanuts and water was tossed by my handlers into my two foot wide windowed cage known as 17C. It met the minimum standards of care, but my hunger needs were not satisfied.So I did what I had to do to avoid a drop in blood sugar at 30k feet – I ordered from the menu in the seat pocket in front of me. I swiped my credit card in the slot below the movie channels and waited for the $7 “High Fiber&Health” breakfast to be delivered to my feeding tray.

A whole grain bagel with cream cheese, and slices of fruit.

Here’s what we’re told… if a food is made with whole grains, it’s a “health food”, because whole grains are high in fiber which slows digestion and when digestion is slowed there is less of a spike in blood sugar and whole grain foods are high in vitamins. We’ve so bought into this story that the whole grain claim is now the headline on CocoPuffs, Lucky Charms, and Ritz Crackers.

The truth is, it’s not entirely true.

Myth #1: Whole grains are high in fiber

Grains are predominantly carbohydrates (with a little bit of protein and fat). Carbohydrates are either starch, sugar, fiber or all three.

It IS true that whole grains deliver 2-3x the fiber of refined grains, the problem though, is that the most common whole grains are not super high in fiber to begin with.

Percentage fiber
Brown Rice 4% (This one surprised me too)
Corn 7%
Oats 11%
Whole Wheat 12%
Barley 17%
Kamut 19%

See full list.

Compare that to fruits and vegetables…

Percentage fiber (as % of their carbs*)
Apple 15%
Pear 23%
Apricot 25%
Red Pepper 25%
Carrot 29%
Kale 33%
White Mushrooms 33%
Celery 50%
Spinach 50%

So a slice of 100% whole wheat bread has aprx 2 grams of fiber (vs <1 for white bread) but brings with it 20 grams of carbs (starch and sugar) and over 100 calories. A 1/4 cup of dried brown rice, also has 2 grams of fiber, 35 grams of carbs and 170 calories.  A cup of cooked spinach, meanwhile, has the same 2 grams of fiber, but a mere 4 grams of carbs and 35 calories.

Food labeling laws in the US require that for a food to be labeled  “high fiber” it must contain 5 grams of fiber/serving**. 100% whole wheat bread does not make the cut nor does brown rice. (If bread has more than 2 or 3 grams of fiber per serving, it is likely due to added fiber, bran, and/or seeds.)

So, yes, there is fiber in our whole grains, but it is not as high as some people think, and this fiber comes at a high carb and calorie “cost”.

Myth #2: Whole grains don’t produce a spike in blood sugar

There is little difference in blood sugar response to a piece of white bread and a piece of whole wheat bread. When grains are milled into flour (whether white or whole wheat) the surface area is so reduced that it’s easy for digestive enzymes to convert the starch into glucose regardless of how refined the grain is.

The greater difference is among the grains themselves – wheat for example is much more easily converted to glucose than say barley.  Rice (brown included) is very high in starch and produces a much greater rise in blood sugar than say couscous or whole grain spaghetti (usually made from semolina/durum wheat which is higher in protein.) See link below to table.***

To compound the issue, most breads, crackers, snack bars and cereal have loads of sugar which is VERY rapidly converted to glucose. Multi Grain Cheerios, for example, have 3 grams of fiber/cup and 6 grams of sugar.  NutriGrain Cereal Bar – 3 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar.

Myth #3: Whole grains have more nutrients

It is true that there is significant loss in nutrients when whole grains lose their bran (the outer layer) and germ. The loss is in protein, oils, the B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and other minerals. So “more nutrients” IS true when the food is 100% whole grain but, it’s NOT true when the food is not 100% whole grains (which is the case for most “whole grain” foods).  In this case, most of the vitamins and minerals are added. (If you want to get even MORE nutrients out of grains, soak them in water+vinegar overnight to neutralize some of the anti-nutrients in grains. Eating sprouted grains/breads will also deliver far higher nutrients.)

And the “making us fat” part?

When our blood sugar spikes and then plummets (from high levels of starch and glucose), we are on a constant hunger roller coaster and each time we hit a low we reach for more sugary, starchy carbs. Insulin, which causes this drop in blood sugar, is the primary hormone that tells cells to hold onto fat. The more insulin, the more fat storage. (Highly simplified, yes, but this is the “140 character” version of what’s going on.)

Personally, I eat grains sparingly (usually barley, oatmeal or quinoa) and occasionally indulge in really good French or Italian bread if the basket is placed too close to me. But grains have become a much smaller part of my diet. I eat them now as an accent.

You and grains?

Related Posts
Grains Don’t Want You To Eat Them (What it is about the actual grain that causes digestion problems, and why sprouting eliminates this.)
Bored? Try This (All about barley)
Does Instant Gratification Come At A Cost (Steel-cut vs instant oatmeal, a nutritional comparison.)

* Not an exact comparison with the grains, as grain % was expressed as percent of total grain not just the carb portion, however, fruits and veg are largely carbs with ltd fat and protein
**The U.S. Guidelines defines a serving as:
1/2 cup cooked rice, bulgur, pasta, or cooked cereal
1 ounce dry pasta, rice or other dry grain
1 slice bread
1 small muffin (weighing one ounce)
1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flakes
***Foods and their Glycemic Index score (Scroll down a little ways to see the table. The lower the value, the less quickly the food is converted to glucose)



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  • Jana

    I love how you summed this up. We stopped eating most wheat products (and refined sugar) about a month ago and I lost several inches off my waist and my belly area. I feel so much better too. It wasn’t to bad of a transition and now I bake with almond flour and I make granola with gluten free oats. Yummy!

  • dawn

    I love eating whole grains. The earthy nutty flavor that presents itself adds to the dish and the nutrient value usually does get a slight boost. The calories are present though from the carbs. I have been eating quinoa and love this ingredient as a substitute for any rice side dish or as a stuffing for say roasted tomatoes or stuffed peppers. I am also experimenting with making “oat risotto”. Risotto made from steel cut oats, otherwise known as “savory oatmeal”… I also have been experimenting with millet and amaranth. I tried going vegetarian – for health reasons- and I realized that as a chef its really hard being around all these foods that are off limits, not to mention the tasting needed to be done for the public at large… I’m not a huge “bean” fan so I was looking to grains as a kinda protein source and that which I couldn’t get from grains I was drinking the hemp protein shakes… Not bad…. And I forced myself to get a taste for lentils – which I have I am proud to say. So maybe down the road I will try again to be vegetarian.. We’ll see. Thanks again for the great conversation pieces

    • Michelle

      Dawn, I hear you on the “taste” part of grains and when I do eat them, I love them. I just think that we have been led to believe that the more grains the better! Especially if they’re “whole”, and most people are unaware of what is really coming along with those grains.

      It doesn’t help that the USDA food pyramid has a massive slab on the bottom called “Grains” and we are told to make this the bulk of our diet. What is this leading to? Certainly not a leaner, healthier nation….

      • TrajanOptimus

        What I tend to disagree with the “anti carbs” crowd is, glucose is not a bad sugar, in fact, it is one of the only sugars our bodies can easily metabolize. in fact, not much of it actually makes it to our liver since all of our cells use it. It literally is the fuel they need.

        Man has been eating grain for thousands of years. We did not have an obesity problem until the food companies started packing our foods with Sucrose (which is 50% Glucose and 50% Fructose) and High Fructose Corn Syrup which is 65% Fructose. Fructose is literally as poisonous to our bodies as alcohol is, our cells cannot metabolize it, and when consumed, nearly all of the fructose we eat makes it to our livers and gets converted to fat.

        Fructose is causing the metabolic disorders we have seen increase since it’s use. I think we need to start to blame the real culprit that is making us fat and not the one that isn’t. Rather than blaming bread, we need to blame the food companies for putting sugar in it to make it tase better. THAT is the real issue with it and why breads get a bad name.

        Something else to consider, Japanese have been eating rice, and a lot of rice, for a very long time. They did not start to get fat until they started to eat a western diet that is packed full of sugar.

        Google “Robert Lustig” he is an endocrinologist who has done a lot of work researching the dangers of Fructose. What he has discovered will astonish you. Our food companies are indeed responsible for our current obesity crisis.

  • Candace

    After watching the documentary “Fat Head” my husband and I tested this theory. I limit my carbs to around 100g per day do not care about protein or fat grams, and I stay around 1475-1500 calories a day. I’m losing weight. Your post just gives me more facts to back it all up.

    • Yahoo ID!

      Agreed. Cals in vs. cals out

  • Three-Cookies

    Interesting. It seems language is being used by policy makers/marketers to push the boundary a bit. Saying wholegrains are highER in fibre compared with processed grains would be more accurate perhaps.

    The % fibres for wholegrains is by dry weight I think, the % would reduce for the cooked grains. For fruits and veges its probably for the ‘finished product’. Those two shouldn’t be compared but if we compared like to like (cooked grains vs fruits/veges) it would support your case even further!

    • Michelle

      Good point-yes the % for grains are dry, so if you took a slice of bread (which has a lot of water weight) the % fiber of the overall food would be even lower…

  • ctb

    I enjoy grains as well, but not for breakfast. I understand that carbs may stimulate our bodies to produce Ghrelin – a hunger inducing hormone. I usually have eggs & fresh fruit for breakfast & it seems to prevent that gnawing feeling before lunchtime.

  • Jamie Milks

    This is such an important message and you did a fabulous job outlining the facts. So many people struggle with weight yet eat “healthy”. A closer examination of their diet includes mostly whole grains, which is “healthy” according to the USDA food pyramid. If people would tune into their own bodies a little more (which weight gain is a strong indicator that something is NOT working for you!) I think more people would realize they don’t need the quantity of grains (particularly grains with gluten) they are consuming.

    As you pointed out, whole grains convert to sugar so they’re highly addictive. It’s easy to convince yourself that you are eating “healthy” when you’re addicted to the culprit that is causing you to gain weight. It’s also easy to overlook how much of it you’re actually eating, because even though I normally limit the amount of grains in my diet (because I know my body functions better without them and I stay at my desired weight that way) I’ve scanned the recipes I’ve shared on my blog over the past two months and it doesn’t reflect that practice at all. It explains the 5 lbs. I’ve gained over the last two months! Thanks for the wake-up call this morning!

    • Michelle

      Grains ARE highly addictive and we often eat them without much thought as to what we’re eating .. It is incredibly easy to eat two slices of bread on a sandwich (over 40 carbs and a good 200-250 cals) and not think much about it. It’s one thing to not eat candy and sweets, but the high grain foods most people eat are not viewed by the digestive system all that differently than that piece of apple pie.

  • Liz

    I’m reading this while devouring a plate of French toast made with freshly-baked cinnamon raisin bread. Oops!

    I recently began a challenging, but delicious, sourdough adventure. The cultures came from the same place I bought the yogurt cultures (remember that conversation?). Some sources say that a whole wheat sourdough bread does not spike the blood sugar as conventional wheat bread does. Still looking into that one . . .

    Certain fiber sources, like oatmeal, also contain insoluble fiber. Of course, this is why it is recommended to those interested in lowering cholesterol levels. Do you think this gives it more credibility as a fiber source? Oats also help with irregularity while other sources in that list (e.g. whole wheat bread) don’t. Okay, now I’m babbling . . . thought-provoking post, as usual!

  • Stephanie

    Hi Michelle – I really love your blog and have learned a lot from your posts. I recently saw something that surprised me (can’t remember where…Vegetarian Times maybe). Sourdough bread apparently does not cause blood sugar levels to spike, or at least not nearly as much as whole wheat and white bread. Here’s an article related to this: I’m not sure how sourdough stacks up in terms of fiber and nutrients, so I’m not saying it’s a health food, but I did find it interesting. I had always assumed darker breads would be less easily converted to glucose.

    • Michelle

      I read the study but it’s hard to conclude this from one study and I’m not entirely certain what the starter is doing to the flour to make the conversion to glucose slower, but I AM willing to believe that a very long fermentation process COULD have some impact on lowering glucose conversion rates, BUT … and it’s a major “but”… unless you’re buying from an artisinal bakery , MOST of the sour dough breads on the shelves are not true, long slow fermented sourdough breads. Rather they are often started with sour dough then finished levening with yeast or baking soda OR … they are quick rise breads with acids added near the end to give them a sourdough “taste”. So sour dough buyer beware…

  • jMack

    But how could I possibly resist the yummy multigrained delectable in the photograph? One of my reasons for being vegetarian came from reading Diet for a Small Planet oh so many years ago. There is a lot of talk (and recipes) combining whole grains and legumes to make a complete protein. Can you explain and isn’t this a reason to eat grains (at least for the no-protein-from-meat crowd)?

    • Michelle

      There IS protein in whole grains and yes they DO compliment many of the legumes which lack some of the proteins which when combined are a complete protein. The issue is that there are some downsides to grains though – for one they are “easy” to eat and taste good so they are often over-consumed, as I noted they are high carb so increase blood sugar quite rapidly, and one issue I did not get into is that grains also contain phytic acid which can actually lead to a depletion of minerals. It is why it is a good idea to soak grains overnight to help release this acid.

      Animals that consume large amounts of grains (cows for ex) have 4 stomachs, longer intestines and the digestion time is longer than for humans. Our digestive system is better suited for digesting meat, which for most people, is digested quite easily (it’s interesting that meat – “allergies” or intolerances are almost unheard of.) So while everyone has to decide what “diet” feels right for them, even if one is a vegetarian, I dont think a high grain diet is good for anyone. So enjoy your grains, but try to soak them first and by all means go easy/avoid “grains” that come in bags and boxes, paired with sugar and other ingredients!

      • jMack

        Understood. The grains I eat are just that – barley, quinoa, brown rice…not sugar-laden, flavor-added products (I will be more conscientious about soaking them). But most cows are also fed grains that their stomachs are not equipped to handle. The amount of water and energy used to produce 1 lb of beef (much of it spent on the corn fed to them) has an enormous environmental impact. I’ve always felt that if it’s good for you, it’s likely good for the earth, too.

        • Michelle

          Very true that cows are fed far more grains than they were equipped to handle – part of the problem is that they are fed grains (usually corn and soy) far too YOUNG when their digestive system is not yet fully formed. At this early stage they should still be on mothers milk and then fresh grass, and not straight to dry grains at a very young age before they’re physiologically ready. Grain is actually a grass, so when one talks about animals eating grains vs grass, it’s often about them eating dry corn vs fresh grass.

          • jMack

            That little mistruth is good to know because I do allow myself a bit of grass fed, open range beef once in awhile. I know that grain is grass, but didn’t know grassfed could mean dry corn.

          • Michelle

            Though corn IS a “cereal” and grasses are also a cereal, I don’t believe that any farm can get away with feeding their cows pure corn and saying it’s grass-fed. So when you see “grass fed” it should mean (and usually does) that the cows are either green grass or dried grass but not corn or soy beans …

          • Cecilia Long

            yes and no on the grass issue. While grains may technically be a grass… it is not the normal type of grass that a cow would be eating if given the choice.

          • fifty

            Well, isn’t grass technically the leaf part of the plant and grain the seed part of the plant? Be that corn, wheat, hay or field grasses? So feeding cows hay or corn seeds would be grain fed but the whole hay or corn plant without the seed (before seeding happens) would be grass fed. I think that’s what silage is – a kind of corn bred for it’s leaves and then fermented for winter feed.

          • Michelle

            I believe you’re spot on, though cattle farming and feed is def not my area of expertise! One thing I’d point out though is that hay is almost always from a grass that grows simply as a grass with no grains per se. According to Wikipedia, oat, barley and wheat are occasionally cut in their green state and made into hay but hay is more rarely from a pure “grass”

          • fifty

            Hay does have a seed head, but it’s much smaller than commercial grains and the seeds are smaller. You have to get new hay in a new field, somehow. When I’ve put the small, chopped up leavings of our goat hay feed in the chicken area, they dig and scarf it up, and the seed heads go first. And when I’ve put those leavings in my garden I’ve been irritated by all the hay sprouts coming up to choke out my garden plants.

  • Liz

    Whole Wheat 12% + Barley 17% = drink more beer :) Which gives me the idea that maybe you should do a whole post on adult beverages!? Some say Guinness has only 100 calories in a pint though plenty of websites say 170. Are some beers better for me than others? Yes, yes, I know I should just have a water…but….

    • Michelle

      I would never want to be responsible for ruining anyone’s enjoyment of a Guinness, which I fear dissecting the nutrition of such a fine beverage might do…. Somethings (life for example and certain foods) are best examined, other thing (beer perhaps) are most enjoyable in their least examined state …. :)

  • Rick Machado

    The reason the Food Pyramid has such a heavy leaning towards whole grains is because the USDA wants us to consume products they have a surplus of, grains and dairy products especially. The entire idea of the Food Pyramid was not to have us eat healthier, but to get rid of huge stores of cheap commodity products that farmers produced and the government subsidized. It was, and is, one of the biggest scams ever.

    Here’s a link to a very good blog by a very smart woman who explains it well. Scroll down to the post ” Why Diabetes is Skyrocketing”.

    • Michelle

      There is no question that the gov pays massive subsidies to some crops and not others – corn being one of the biggest recipients. It is not only why corn is in so many of our processed products, cereals, crackers etc but its why high fructose corn syrup is the #1 choice for low cost sweeteners. I agree strongly with you that the agri biz has an enormous influence on what comes out of the gov and this includes our food pyramid.

      • Liz

        Excellent point!!

    • Hamsa

      I was thrilled when the FDA finally ditched its Food Pyramid entirely & substituted the USDA’s MyPlate. The plate’s divided into 4 wedges, w/half the plate (or slightly more, I thought, if you looked  at the charts for amounts needed per age group) devoted to vegetables & fruits, & the other side to grains & protein. Protein got the smallest wedge, & though the plate recommended that only 1/2 the grains be whole, & glycemic load/index wasn’t mentioned, at least it was a start YAY! In a lot of ways the guidelines looked much better than I would’ve expected: Overall it seems like something Michelle Obama would approve of.

  • Elle

    I love this post for totally selfish reasons! I’m not huge on grains. I like a little bit of brown rice or polenta or bread here and there, but I’ve never been able to enjoy a big heaping pile of quinoa or millet or whathaveyou. I just don’t dig grains that much. But pass me a giant pile of sauteed spinach, roasted eggplant, or sauteed portobellos and I’m a happy woman. As a health-food oriented person, I always felt kind of disappointed about that. Now I feel I can stop trying to make myself ingest serious quantities of whole grains. Not that I won’t eat any grains, I just don’t have to keep trying to develop mor of a taste for them. Thank you!

  • wally

    I was under the impression (which I ‘google-proved’ wishfully) that if you use fresh milled flour, as in milling it right before you use it, the true whole wheat that still contains the endosperm converts to fat and not sugar. Thus considered a ‘good carb’. I have been home milling and baking bread for about three years and still believe this to be intuitively true. Am i deluding myself? Did I have these love handles before?

    • Michelle

      That is a new one for me! Please send me the google link! The age of the flour would make no difference in terms of how you’re body would react to it or convert it. The only difference that it would have is that the fresher the flour (or whole grain) the more nutrients would still be intact. Whole wheat flour can go bad quickly (b/c of the oil which white flour does not have), so be sure to keep your whole wheat grains or whole wheat flour in the fridge/freezer.

      • wally

        Oops, I meant true whole wheat contains the germ, which is removed in commercial flour to avoid spoiling. Unfortunately, this is where most of the nutritional value of wheat is.

        Googling ‘benefits fresh milled flour’ will bring up lots of info. also “Flour Power” by Marleeta F. Basey.

        • Michelle

          Technically, if a grain is to be called “whole grain” then it must still have the germ. The whole grain cousel’s website states: “If the grain has been processed (e.g., cracked, crushed, rolled, extruded, and/or cooked), the food product should deliver approximately the same rich balance of nutrients that are found in the original grain seed.” So officially it does need to contain the germ but who knows what corners are being cut behind closed (factory) doors …

        • fifty

          Yes, and to digress a bit. Cracked corn is very common in chicken “scratch” food. People give it to their chickens because they love it, it’s cheaper than whole corn, and many chicken owners think a big corn kernel is too big for the chicken to eat.

          But cracked corn (as I understand it) has been cracked open to extract the germ, so only carbohydrate and a little fiber is left. It’s a leftover product. I feed my chickens whole feed corn kernels and they eat it just fine and it has the germ in it. It’s not just human grains that have had the nutritious part removed.

          • Michelle

            Very interesting to hear …

  • 6512 and growing

    Is there a connection between how we taste food and how it makes our blood sugar spike? For instance, wheat and rice tend to be “tastier” than say, barley and millet.

    • Michelle

      Wheat is usually tastier because it’s been milled into flour and had sugar, water and often other grains added to make it into the final product! Wheat berries (the pure whole grain) are much more like barely in terms of “work” required to eat them. Rice tends to be a bit easier to eat than say barley because there is more fat as well as a LOT more fiber meaning it takes much longer to cook and even then stay much firmer than rice. So yes, with some of the “stronger” grains there is a correlation b/ ease of conversion to blood sugar and ease of eating.

  • Alyse

    Love your posts, by the way. Just thought I’d share that Quinoa is actually not a grain. It’s a chenopod and related to beets and tumbleweeds. I also read that it’s high in protein, fiber, and magnesium. Supposedly, you can also it is as a leaf vegetable, which I have yet to find but would like to try.

    • Michelle

      Very true – and good point. Its often gets thrown into the grain family b/c it looks and acts like a grain and is eaten like a grain, but yes, it is higher in protein than grains (almost double that of brown rice) so a preferred food for vegetarians.

      • SuryaSmiles

        Quinoa I’ve also read is a complete protein, so you don’t have to combine it with a legume. I’ve also read, that somewhere, that you don’t have to actually eat a grain and legume in a meal, just in a day to get the complete proteins you need. I’m a gluten-free vegan, so it’s quinoa, millet, buckwheat if I eat grains, otherwise is legumes an veggies daily with some nuts, seeds, and limited fruits.

        Michelle – love the Sweet Beet – great article!

        • Michelle

          Thank you! Yes, quinoa is considered a complete protein, but one thing I think vegans and vegetarians need to be aware of is just b/c some foods might be considered a complete protein, there are still nutritional components of meat and fish and dairy prods that are very hard to get in as high levels in a vegan/veg diet — the big ones are: iron, vit D, zinc, b12 (lack of it leads to anemia), essential amino acids (usually found i much LOWER amounts in grains and pulses even though they are present), folic acid, calcium, and roboflavin (b2).

          So be sure you’re getting those – as the lack of them is one of the core probs with vegan/veg diets…. and getting them via supplement, is simply not the same as when they were “born” into the food!

  • Rachel

    Great article! I have cut out grains…and a lot of carbs. It is something I am also trying to spread the word about! There is so much that the “common knowledge” skews in this area that it is no wonder obesity and diabetes have become epidemics!

  • Laura

    I wonder about sprouted grains? Are these another animal? Can sprouted and/or raw breads be consumed with a different affect on the body? A healthier substitute?

    • Michelle

      Sprouting IS different, b/c you’re not turning the grain into a flour first, so you’re maintaining a larger surface area. You’re also creating additional nutrients and making the nutrients more easily absorbable. I wrote about it here….

  • jenny

    ive been thinking about our dependence on grains lately. mainly because i have had to rethink how i eat while eliminating gluten. my japanese friend put it very well when at first she didnt respond much to my (gluten-free) diagnosis while i sobbed in a corner (nearly)… until she realized that it is just like someone telling her she could no longer eat rice.
    the gift of my new diet is being more conscious and, in turn, creative about what i eat.
    my initial reaction was to substitute pasta and breads with their rice/quinoa/potato counterparts because not only are grains addictive but they are an easy filler. being vegetarian and now gluten free finding filling healthy foods seems to involve extra effort when you cant rely on grains/carbs. but on a quest to feel better, stronger, healthier i am realizing now that the dependence on grains, wheat or otherwise, aint the best way to go.

  • Alyssa

    There’s been some talk in the comments about the USDA food pyramid and I wanted to note a couple things. First, the pyramid no longer has a slab on the bottom called ‘grains’; it was revised and reformatted such that the categories are arranged vertically rather than horizontally (I suppose implying that no one group is more important in hierarchy than the others, but that a certain balance between groups is what we should strive for) and it now includes physical activity as part of the health equation (hurrah!). Secondly, there are a number of interesting alternatives to the USDA pyramid, one being the Healing Foods Pyramid ( put out by the University of Michigan. It places water at the bottom of the pyramid (incredibly, water is completely absent on most pyramids), followed by fruits and vegetables. It also emphasizes foods that have ‘healing’ qualities to them – or foods that really ‘feed’ our bodies. Lastly, I find pyramids difficult to read and interpret in general; how does a pyramid translate to a meal? or even a day’s or week’s worth of food? I’ve seen examples of ‘balanced plates’, which I think are more useful when you’re considering how to fill your plate for dinner.

    • Michelle

      Thank you for noting this. You’re right, they did do a modification, but as far as I can see, it’s in design only, there is no balance what so ever. When you go to their website and look at what they actually recommend, its is STILL grains that they tell you to eat the most of – by a long shot. For adults their reco is 6 servings a day (a serving is: 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal.) As for vegetables, 2 cups worth is all they want us to eat (a cup of lettuce is 4 leaves!) and fruit, a mere 1.5 cups. And then we spend billions of dollars treating obesity and diabetes ….

  • The Table of Promise

    GREAT post. I completely agree.

    When I researched wheat last year I came to the conclusion that grains just aren’t the best food to base our diets around. Millions of Europeans who emigrated here made peasant grain foods like pasta and porridge and breads. Grains are cheaper than meat, and so they are the food of the masses. But they are nothing exceptional to base our food pyramid on. In fact I personally limit my intake of grains. I feel best when I have no more than 3 servings in a day. Not like the 6-9 servings as recommended by the USDA. I just feel better that way, but that may not be the case for everyone. I try to eat only whole grain (doesn’t always work, especiallyoutside the home) but just not too much.

    Here is my post from last summer on A Brief History of Refined Flour

  • danielle

    enlightening. i’ve always wondered about this as my bf insists that it’s ok to eat whole grains because well, they are whole grains… but carbs are carbs… thanks for your post. they are always so awesome.

    • Michelle

      Actually the most important element to distinguish between though, when you’re talking carbs is really high starch carbs and low starch carbs — fruit and veg are largely carbs, but the reason why we can eat them with less concern for health probs, blood sugar spikes and weight gain is b/c most are very low starch (unless you’re talking potato, and several other root vegs).

    • biggus

      You got it Danielle, carbs is carbs, and bad is bad, no matter what the bird seed brigade tells you!

  • Rog

    So… What should I eat? What does your food pyramid look like? What do you eat?

    • Michelle

      Everyone needs to find the right combo of foods that gives them optimal weight and optimal health. What to eat and how much also depends on whether you’re trying to maintain or lose weight. For me I generally eat 2 eggs of some form in the morning, with lots of veg mixed in. Occasionally I will have steel cut oats for b’fast but it’s not common. For lunch usually a big salad of sorts, maybe some canned tuna. Or beef chile from the night before. Sometimes sauteed vegs (often kale) and I’ll add some quinoa or barley in a small amount. Occssionally lentils and beans but not all that often. I eat salmon about once/week. I often snack on whole milk yogurt to which I add hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and pieces of apple or other fruit. I also snack a lot on raw almonds and cashews, and apples. During berry season I eat berries like I may never see them again …

      So overall I’d say my diet is largely veg and fruit, a fair bit of egg/meat/fish, some whole milk dairy and a very small amount of grains.

      • Rog


        Thanks for taking the time. After seeing lots of news and attention paid to what to avoid eating it’s nice to see a real person’s day to day eating.

      • Kenyari

        Any suggestions for people on the go…meaning they don’t have time in the morning to make eggs or steel cut oats, and are not a big yogurt fan. I typically make instant oatmeal at work or have no sugar added cereal. Besides fruits and nuts, what are some healthy “non-grain” alternatives you can suggest for breakfast?

        • Michelle

          Sorry for the delay! First off, if you’re going to have oatmeal, I would avoid going instant since it’s a much more refined version of the grain. Traditional oats might take 20 secs longer in the microwave but worth its! See the post I wrote about it here … If you REALLY want to cut their cooking time, soak the oats overnight, bring them to the office in the morn and they will take NO longer than instant!

          I strongly believe in protein at breakfast though. I spend 5 mins (it is seriously no longer than this) in the morn before I go to work, cooking some simple scrambled eggs with some vegs, then tossing them into a container, bringing them to work and reheating them.

          Another thing you can do is make what I call Egg Muffins, freeze them and bring one or two to work and reheat. You make them simply by mixing a few eggs, some milk, maybe some cheese, and then vegs (the veg could be sauteed vegs, some chopped spinach, anything really). Pour this mixture into muffin pan. Bake and then keep in fridge or freeze (if wont use them in the first 3 days.) Instant eggs at the office!

  • Dariane

    Michelle, like you mentioned in one of your responses, soaking flours and grains is key to making them easier to digest. If you soak them for 12-24 hours in either water/whey, water/lemon, buttermilk, kefir or yogurt, you get a much more digestible and tastier outcome. Even, soaked, though, it’s clear we need to limit how much of it we eat. Since Quinoa has been mentioned several times in this post, I thought it would be interesting to point out an article written in the NYTimes this Sunday about how native Bolivians are no longer able to afford their Quinoa staple due to the spike in price as a result of increased demand in the U.S. and Europe: Quite a sad outcome as they now have to rely on less expensive processed foods to feed their families and their health is taking a big hit for it.

    • Michelle

      Thanks for this! So interesting … very sad for them. Maybe we should start spreading the word that the quinoa health-hype is all one big myth!

      • es4d

        the planet simply cannot sustain the population, no matter how healthy and conscious of the environment we try to be….too many people.

        to another point:
        and i know i probably sound like a stoner, which i am not (not really) but can you please include HEMP as a serious contender when comparing grains, proteins (complete and otherwise) energy and starches? Is hemp processed in the body like sugar(s)?

  • Janel

    Really interesting post! My friend pointed it out to me and I responded in length to her, and then figured I may as well share here too!

    Until I’m really convinced otherwise, I still believe that our issue is we’re eating processed grains and carbs. And way too many, and way too much. As long as someone doesn’t have an intolerance to the grain, I see nothing wrong with quinoa, barley, bulgur, wheat berries, oats, etc. And while some people swear by the fact that their bodies “don’t do well with carbs” I’d compare that to my body not doing well with dairy, or meat. It just doesn’t work for me. And certain grains probably don’t work for certain people. And that’s ok.

    So here’s what I think in response:

    #1: Whole grains are high-ER in fiber than their refined counterparts. To compare them to another entire food group (veggies or fruits) is comparing apples to oranges. All that “high fiber” labeling on packages is bogus until you read between the lines, which is what I tell my clients.

    #2: Re: the spike in blood sugar…I get it, I just don’t get why it’s such a big deal if we’re eating the appropriate portion sizes and not JUST eating a big bowl of oats. I just ate oats + peanut butter, so while the oats may have caused a rise in blood sugar, the protein/fat in the peanut butter helped stabilize it.

    #3: Whole grains do have more nutrients when they’re actual *whole grains* and not processed. I agree with you wholeheartedly there!

    #4: My response to the idea that they’re making us fat is similar to what I wrote in
    #2. If all we’re eating is a bagel for breakfast, pasta for lunch, and white rice for dinner, of course you’re going to have those surges and fat storage! I understand many people actually do eat that way, unfortunately. However, even a white bagel topped with peanut butter or white pasta mixed with chicken is going to be a better meal for stabilizing those surges than a plate of plain barley or wheat berries without any protein or fat to balance the surges. Yes some people cut out grains and lose weight, but that’s because they’re removing an entire food category out of their diets. If I were to cut out even fruits and veggies from my diet – which are a main part of my daily caloric intake – I’d lose weight too! Cutting out processed grains like burger buns, special K cereal and chewy granola bars is not a bad idea. But I fully support whole, unprocessed grains, and minimal amounts each day (even I disagree with the government’s insanely high recommendation).

    THANK YOU for sparking some conversation on this! I understand you’re especially highlighting some of those “whole grain” foods that are still highly processed (like those sugary cereals made with whole grains). And I agree with you on the nonsense of the agri biz. Can’t wait to check out more of your blog posts!

    • Michelle

      Hey Janel! I agree with (almost) everything you say! As you point out much of the prob with the high grain eating is that often it IS the only food eaten at a meal!! Consider how many people have whole grain cereal or bagel or toast for breakfast (nothing else), then a big bread sandwich (with a little bit of filling) for lunch, or pizza…then a huge plate of pasta for dinner and for snacks: Pirates Booty and/or energy bars and/or a “whole grain” muffin. It doesn’t matter if 100% of those grains are “whole”, it is simply too much starch and carbs for our body to handle, which requires a heavy load of insulin to control the blood sugar which leads to diabetes …

      The one thing I disagree with slightly, is when you say if you cut out veg or fruit you’d lose weight too! If someone cuts out grains from their diet, I think the chances of losing weight are FAR greater than if one cut out fruit and veg. The latter have far fewer calories than grains and produce a minimal impact on blood sugar (especially vegs). They also have a lot of water and fiber to help fill you up. The prob w the high grain diet is that it it’s almost impossible not to get the surge and then drop in blood sugar which leads to even MORE cravings for grains and starches! And hence more eating and more weight gain …

      I also think grains for many people are hard to digest and hence they are NOT getting all the nutrients from the grains to begin with … I once heard it said, “we are not what we eat, but what we absorb”.

      • Janel

        Hey Michelle,

        Thanks for your quick response! And I think we actually do agree I just wasn’t very clear. Of course if I cut out grains I’m going to be cutting out far more calories than if I were to cut out fruits/veggies, just because of the caloric density (except for me I really think more of my calories are coming from fruit/veg than grains!). My unclear point was that if we merely remove something from our diet (grains, meat, potatoes, alcohol, candy, cheese) and don’t replace those calories with anything else, we’re going to lose weight. Calories in, calories out.

        I just get frustrated seeing the allure of weight loss that celebs especially are promoting by going grain or gluten free, just because (and not for an allergy or intolerance). Most people aren’t savvy enough to do thorough research to find out what’s best for their body, and that’s what concerns me.

        On another note, I’ve spent the last few hours diving into your blog when I should be working and love it. I love how thorough you are, whether we agree or disagree. I already subscribed :)

        • Michelle

          Very true – if we remove some foods and then don’t substitute them for others, weight loss is likely to occur. What I think happens with a lot of people is that they hear something is good for them and then ADD it to their diet w/o removing anything! So if whole grains are good for you, then that means I can eat a huge bowl of “whole grain fiber flakes” without worrying about taking anything OUT of my diet! Same thing with fruit — yes, it’s good for you, but if you simply add the banana or mango or strawberries to your diet and dont take OUT the energy bars and muffins, you will not only not LOSE weight, but these “health” foods will lead you to GAIN weight.

  • Laura

    This was SO interesting, and the comments were great to read too. I have often noticed that any kind of carb (well, not fruits/veggies, but “dry carbs”) tends to make me bloat, even if eaten in moderation, and I have also always noticed that carbs early in the day just make me eat more carbs. However, I have recently been testing out the advice to eat more whole grains – and have been finding that it’s not much of an exception. This post was so informative in understanding why!

    The comments have also been great – I am really intrigued by Dawn’s idea of “oat risotto.” I’d also agree with Janel that IF you are going to eat dry carbs, the way to go is to combine them with protein to stabilize.

    • Michelle

      Re the bloating, you’re right that that’s not really a refined or whole grain issue … grains have a lot of elements about them that make them hard to digest, so the bloating is likely your gut reacting to the gluten, phytic acid or lectin in the grain. I wrote more about that here …

  • Susan

    You know, my girlfriend has been talking to me non-stop about the grain issue, and I’ve been having a hard time taking her seriously because my nutritionist, gastro doc, etc. say the opposite. What you’re saying makes sense. I think my life just became 100x more difficult thanks to you. :0) Hopefully healthier as well.

    • Michelle

      You are so welcome!!! :) I know it’s confusing and daunting and everyone has a different opinion. Here’s the bottom line for me (and I try and push it on anyone who will listen, since I think its good advice for 95% of people): eat small quantities of 100% whole grains. That’s it. Really simple. But when i say 100% whole grains , I mean 100% whle grains with nothing else in it!!! I do NOT mean, eat whole wheat bagels, and whole wheat bread that has tons of other stuff in it, and whole wheat crackers that are laden with sugar and whole wheat cereal that has 10x the sugar of those crackers.

      If you occasionally eat some steel cut oats or a small serving of brown rice or a little bit of barley – great. Enjoy it, but be sure the portion is small, by no means make grains the bulk of ANY meal, and by no means buy processed whole grain foods thinking they’re “good” for you.

      Oh and for anyone trying to lose weight, I highly recommend cutting out the grains all together — they can come back once you’ve reached your target, but cut them out and I swear it will help enormously.

      • Susan

        I’m not realy worried about myself when it comes to all of this. I’m used to suffering, and I’m good at it. :p But the kids…. What to do about my poor kiddos? They are already on a restrictive diet due to my faulty genetics (familial hyercholesterolemia — but they are doing exceptionally well and will be able to avoid meds like the plague at this rate). I’m concerned that it’s too much, too soon. If I start clipping even more stuff, they just may freak. Maybe it’s a longer term goal with them? Not sure how to handle… I don’t know if you can see my website link, but we are a little grain happy at present. They do eat brown rice and barley and stuff, but in smaller doses. They prefer the evilness you mentioned, like whole wheat pastas and whole wheat bagels and….whole wheat everything. Meh.

        • Michelle

          Def hard to change a kids diet – harder than adults and we know THATS hard!! Maybe the whole wheat bagel is a Fri treat? I would also really try and involve the kids in making changes with their diet … tell them WHY you think cutting down on grains is a good idea for the WHOLE family and make this an entire family initiative. Tell them that this grain can stay (may be its the pasta) but that grain (the whole wheat crackers?) is going to go. Ask them to choose which non grain foods and meals they love, cook these for them and better still let THEM do the cooking!! Any time you involve someone in the making of the meal (child OR adult) there is a far bigger interest in eating it … I think it’s also really important for them to not feel like fewer grains is a punishment for them — there are SO many phenomenal recipes out there that dont include grains that even a picky child could love.

          But I think the gradual approach is a good one … Keep me posted!

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Michelle-

    I really like your blog and look forward to each of your posts. I was wondering if you would be willing to share a daily sample menu of what you eat (i.e. meals, snacks, etc). I often have a hard time converting these nutritional ideas into practice due to a lack of ideas about what to eat…. I definitely turn to whole grains as an easy “healthy” snack!

    • Michelle

      It’s interesting you sent this as someone else just emailed me w the same request… I am wondering how I might try to incorporate this kind of info more into the blog since I think there is a need. For you specifically, what would be your “ideal” offering? A weekly “meal plan” with ideas and recipes?

      As for what I eat, my diet is essentially all “pure” foods, nothing prepared or processed- sure it takes some time to shop and cook, but honestly I think shopping and cooking is more of an issue of organization than time (though there is that too!) If one is going to buy “pre-made” food, I would try to stick with very high quality salad bars, soup bars, sushi counters and deli counters (for ex the ones at Whole Foods)- and avoid frozen, or packaged foods. In other words stick with the perishables.

      My routine: I usually work out in the morn and then have my first meal about 10:30am, a light snack at say 1pm, a later afternoon meal at about 4 or 5 and then a light snack at say 7pm. Of course there are nights where I’ll have a proper dinner with friends, but on a “work day with no social dinner” this is the more likely schedule. I am a bit of a snacker, but have trained myself to grab foods that I feel good about snacking on.

      What I eat:
      BREAKFAST 80% of the time it’s eggs in some form. Usually a two egg omelet with quite a lot of veg of some sort-often spinach or kale, onion, red pepper etc. Maybe a touch of cheese, but not usually. Occasionally I will have steel cut oatmeal (maybe once/ten days) or whole milk yogurt (made from raw milk), with some seeds and some bits of fruit.
      COFFEE/TEA: For some odd reason I have gotten into the habit of starting the day w/ mate (tea) then an hour later coffee. I add raw milk to my tea/coffee and sweeten the tea w/ a touch of honey and the coffee w/ a touch of stevia.
      LUNCH (usually very late in the aft so it’s more like lunch-dinner): Could be a big salad w/ tons of greens and some tuna salad I made from the tin or simply sauteed veg (if I’m not in the mood for meat/fish) or beef chile, or a chicken curry or roasted salmon. I vary this meal a lot. I eat a HUGE amount of veg (often kale and spinach) which I either eat raw in salad or very simply sauteed w/ olive oil and salt or coconut oil. If I do eat grains alongside my vegs, it’s usually barley or quinoa and I eat them in very small quantities. I rarely have wheat in my diet in any form. Whenever I eat out at restos, 90% of the time it’s fish with some vegs. I do occasionally eat tempeh, but rarely tofu as I believe the fermented version is more nutritious.
      SNACKS: I AM a snacker! And this is where a lot of grain consumption happens for many people … I simply don’t keep any “temptations” around…So I snack on raw almonds, apples (berries when in season!), dill pickles, vegs dipped in homemade hummos, olives, a slice of parmesan cheese, a small serving of whole milk yogurt with seeds and fruit…..

      Overall I’d say my diet is largely veg, a fair bit of egg/meat/fish, some whole milk dairy, some fruit and a very small amount of grains. Within those parameters there is SO much to choose from! I think the key for most people (at least it is for me), is a) to set rules (for me that means no sugar, no processed food, very little grain) and, b) to not even BUY! the stuff you don’t think you should be eating. Discipline is hard enough when the food is NOT there, forget about it when the crackers and Pirates Booty are right under your nose!

      If you take a look at the JUST RECIPES in the top nav bar you’ll get a sense for some of the things I cook – the breads and desserts you’ll see are rarely made, and only for “special” occasions!

      Let me know if you have more specific Qs!

      • Elizabeth

        For me, I think it would be great to have a few meal/snack recommendations at the end of a post that tie-in with your general findings. For the whole grains post, for example, you’re suggestions for quinoa and barley vs brown rice are helpful. A link to a quinoa recipe could be cool too. I mainly look to your blog for thoughts about healthful relationships with food and getting back to the basics of food and what we put in our bodies (vs weight-loss and calories). So I wouldn’t be looking for meal planning per se, just specific food ideas pertaining to a post’s content. Thx!

        • Michelle

          Makes sense – will try to do more of it. Thanks for the input!

  • fifty

    I think this is a great article. I had no idea that whole grains had so little fiber. And the whole high carb overview is great. I’m guessing all grains are insoluble fiber vs soluble fiber?

    I’ve read some about agriculture and grain history. There is even a school of thought that says the invention of agriculture was the worst thing to happen to humanity.

    It caused human populations to increase exponentially, creating cities (populations not necessary in food production) and degrading whole eco-systems. It allowed such a great increase in protein and calorie dense food (since grains were a major focus of agriculture, and plant breeding) that many whole ecosystems disappeared, as fields of grains displaced them over the millenia. It also created population dense cultures that then became hierarchical. And hierarchical societies (as opposed to egalitarian, consensual tribal societies that had existed before) introduced extreme dominance and dictatorships. This whole description In a nutshell, of course.

    Also, as far as the susceptibility of people to carbohydrate dense diets goes. There is a somewhat accepted theory that says that the most susceptible peoples to blood sugar problems, like diabetes (from consuming too many carbohydrates), are those peoples that lived historical tribal lives until fairly recently. Those peoples (like Native populations and many African and African Americans) have had tribal hunter-gatherer existences (without modern grains) until (historically) recently.

    So they have not had the history of evolutionary adaptation to these “new” carbohydrate rich regular food sources. Some DNA studies have shown that modern humans (which ones?) have evolved from those from 10,000 years ago by about 4%-5%, most of it in the digestive system. The digestive tract, evolutionarily, adjusted to incorporate high carb and high protein grains among those peoples that did agriculture from some thousands of years ago until now – mainly Europeans (wheat) and Asians (rice).

    Some Native Americans did agricultural corn and maize, but in concert with many other foods. Other Native societies did not have grains, and those that did may have come to it later, archeologically speaking. Natives also had squash and beans, as well as animals to eat. We tend to lump NA societies together, but there were actually many differences. The plains tribes, for example, were a totally bison driven society, with little agriculture. The NW coast Natives were a salmon, seafood driven society with native plants, but no grains (as I understand it). But some eastern US tribes had long established agriculture, with corn.

    So such peoples may be more susceptible to high carb diet risks, such as diabetes and weight gain.. It may not be all about how well they’re eating or they’re “irresponsible” lifestyle. It could be more about their biological heritage. European descended people may just have inherited a biological body that has had some generations to “adjust” to a high carb diet.

    • Michelle

      Agree- and super interesting. The three biggest probs we face as a modern society (regardless of WHAT we eat) is too little exccercise, too much food (of all sorts!) and too much processed food. If we could fix these 3 probs (and on an individual basis we can!), we can wipe out most health problems…

  • Deirdre Holmes

    Thanks for another great post. Although slowly, I think more and more people are realizing how we’ve been fed this high-grain information but that it really does not work well for most of us. The incidence of gluten-, wheat- and all grain allergy or intolerance is surprising high (and I think probably even higher with many still undiagnosed cases) resulting in a host of health issues. And for all us, eating grains contributes to inflammation, often seen as the root cause of many illnesses.

    I’m with you – have reduced grains and feeling good. Thanks for spreading the word!

    • Michelle

      Indeed. Btw, great name for your website – and some beautiful pics!

  • Julia

    Same old story — eat in moderation. There is no perfect food, and whole grains aren’t health magic. But they are a better source than the alternative, especially for vegetarians and vegan. If you’re going for pure proteins, grains are necessary. As in real food — like barley and amaranth, no whole wheat bread or crackers or other processed packages. I don’t think consumers buying Wheat Thins because they are made from “whole grains” aren’t interested in pure foods. This is an interesting post but I think swearing off grains because they aren’t as perfect as commercial industry would have us believe is a little mislead. But true that most of Americans eat the amount of carbs daily that should be reserved for running marathons and hiking mountains!

    • Michelle

      Agree – the moderation part is vital, but often neglected. Problem is we have become SO out of whack as a society on the grain front that we need to seriously shift attention to how much health harm this “go heavy on grains” message is doing to us …. In terms of the whole wheat thins or whole wheat bagels or whole wheat froot loops, the problem is that we have become subconsciously conditioned to see the words “whole grain” and automatically think “good for me”. In generations past, even pure whole grains were usually soaked and/or sprouted (and this was done throughout the world) to make them MUCH easier to digest. This more time consuming practice has died out leaving us with a much less digestible product even when it is 100% pure…

  • Pru Borland

    I believe that the “whole grain” marketing craze we’re in the midst of might be even more harmful than the “low-fat” mania that began in the early seventies.   Thank you for the excellent post!

  • Autumn Faith

    I have fun (sometimes) converting “old” recipes to new “healthier” versions. Some work, some Not So Much!
    I have been thinking of trying a Shepard’s Pie using ground Turkey and Couscous instead of the regular grd. beef and mashed potatoes.  But, I am a bit concerned that in the baking process the Couscous might get too done.  Possibly may have to have each component hot .. then assemble and serve. No baking!!  Does anyone have any Healthy, Nutritious, and Flavorful suggestions?

    • Michelle Madden

      I would def bake it all together as I think you’ll lose a lot of the flavor if you just assemble post cooking. I think the turkey and couscous combo could work great, but to avoid over cooking of the couscous you might add a bit more stock, or other liquidy things (tomatoes) to ensure it doesnt get too dry…

      • Autumn Faith

        Huum .. Yes, you might be right. A good salt free or low sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth might do the trick .. I personally am not big on tomatoes unless it is in my spaghetti sauce. I will have to work out proportions so that it won’t be too slooupy either.  Thanks for the suggestion.

    • Seraphina

      Mashed cauliflower is an excellent alternative to mashed potatoes! It’s amazing actually.

  • Autumn Faith

    My understanding is that breads made out of Spelt Flour are not as harmful to your blood sugar as other grains.  I have found a couple of good sounding recipes for Spelt Bread that I may try in my bread machine.
    I realize, a moderate portion would still have to be observed, but at least I could still have a slice or two of bread from time to time and still lose weight and protect my blood sugar levels from spiking and crashing!
    That is my hope anyway.

    • Michelle Madden

      Spelt is an ancient wheat that does has a slightly lower GI than the wheat we commonly eat in breads, but the calories are about the same. So I would not let a slighlty lower GI lead you to consume more of it, since the difference is not great.

      If you’ve decided for example that you’re going to cut back to just one piece of toast for breakfast for example, then whether that’s a piece of spelt bread or trad’l wheat, is not going to make a huge difference.

      If weight loss is your goal, I would focus far more on replacing grains with protein and vegs than replacing one grain with another.

      Good luck – let us know how things go …

  • Pingback: Why No Whole Grains? | Jan's Sushi Bar()

  • Justin Neese

    BRAVO thank god the internet is starting toget some true information about this grain epidemic. Even still I LOVE grains.

  • buggabooha

    In myth #2, you stated that “When grains are milled into flour (whether white or whole wheat) the surface area is so REDUCED that it’s easy for digestive enzymes to convert the starch into glucose regardless of how refined the grain is.” I believe that you meant to say that when the grains are milled it INCREASES the surface area. That would be the only way the enzymes could process more.

  • drumrough

    Lets look at this. Money. Greed. Lies. Information. Corrupt. We are being killed after being controled. They rape the earth and us. Think it not so?

  • michelle

    carbs need to be judged by their glycemic index..heres a helpful link:

  • Saoiray

    Your information is not correct, one only needs to pay attention to your wording. The topic and discussion is on whole grain but myth #1 focused on the nutrition information for whole wheat, not whole grain. I have in front of me udi’s gluten free whole grain bread (bought from Whole Foods, supposedly all natural..dairy, soy, and nut free). The nutrition info is as follows:

    Serving size = 2 slices.

    Calories: 130 Calories from fat: 35

    Total Fat: 4g

    Saturated Fat: 0g

    Trans Fat: 0g

    Cholesterol: 0g

    Sodium: 260mg

    Total Carbohydrate: 22g

    Dietary Fiber: 2g

    Sugars: 3g

    Protein: 4g

    Vitamin A: 0%

    Calcium 2%

    Vitamin C: 0%

    Iron: 2%

    I’d say that’s a huge difference compared to that numbers you listed above. You argue one slice of whole grain bread has 20g of carbs and 100 calories, where one could see that the nutrition information clearly states 11g of carbohydrates and 65 calories in one slice.

    In case you want to argue it’s brand, the nutrition for Wonder Bread whole grain white bread is as follows:

    Serving Size: 2 slices

    Calories: 130 Calories from Fat: 18

    Total Fat: 2g

    Saturated Fat: 0.5g

    Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g

    Sodium: 300mg

    Total Carbohydrates: 25g

    Dietary Fiber: 4g

    Sugars: 4g

    Protein: 6g

    Vitamin A: 0g

    Calcium: 35%

    Vitamin C: 0%

    Iron: 10%

    That would be 65 calories and 12.5 carbs per slice. Quite a far cry from your “over 100 calories” and “20 grams of carbs.”

    Please do your research carefully before posting stuff and make sure you report on the right things. In this case it seems you don’t know the difference between “whole wheat” and “whole grain.” I also encourage anybody seeing this to keep in mind the difference in sugars. Natural sugar (in moderation) is good for you whereas the added sugar we see in white breads or in candy are what cause us harm. These different carbohydrates have varying glycemic indices, with whole grains typically having a lower glycemic index.

  • ed

    good article. i am really annoyed by all this statements that hang on food, it’s so misleading. adding 1% of stuff that is considered good for a diet, adding this to total junk and than call it elixir of health while you in return get fat, diabetic, constipated and feel like shit. but i read my books so lets hope my kids doesnt grow total retards with spare pair of limbs

  • Farida AL-Rimawi

    you know what , you cant just talk fiber out of context , the kind and texture and role of fiber in grains differ than ones in fruits, and for sugar spike its not true at all, you will feel hungry too after steak and veggies, its normal to feel hungry after 4 hrs. and when you eat you an combine with fruit too or protein, so people grow up you don’t have to eat grains all day or neglect all at once!!! we can get everything, so whats all the fuss about! and yes the main source of energy should be from carbohydrates!

  • Sam Mk

    Health of weight loss will depend on the nutrient digested in the physique’s system. Health comes from the food’s nutrient and what response it can give to the physique. Consuming natural soil grown food is the best food one can have instead of those quick or processed. Cooking these raw foods is advisable rather than going to a fast food chain to eat or cook an instant noodles to have quick nourishment.

    How to Lose Weight Healthy and Fast

  • Sam Mk

    Muscles often lead to a thought of those weight lifters with those big physique and small bulks that look like stones. Workouts don’t just make an individual bigger with the muscles. It tones up the muscle to make an individual look fit and healthy. It depend on what approach is being done since the higher intensity of workout was performed; the more muscles will be built up.

    Best Way to Lose Fat and Gain Muscles Fast

  • John Carter

    Okay, I know this article/thread is dated but it is still relevant today and that is why I stumbled on it.
    My question is, does green grains (dried) like Freekah (green wheat) have the same issues as regular wheat or is it more digestible and better for health?
    Thank you to anyone who would like to provide any experience or feedback on this.

  • ew

    They make you feel hungry and make you fat!

  • Jeana

    Though it’s been a few years this is still a very relevant topic, and I thought I’d share my experience for anyone who may stumble onto this post.

    I personally have reactive hypoglycemia, meaning that I have to strike a fine balance of getting enough carbs, but not over doing it. It was confusing at first, but I learned the hard way that too high a blood sugar spike can lead very quickly to a drop. I’ve been even as low as 50 at some points. And this was after cutting out sugar and refined grains completely.

    I believe in finding out for myself, so I’ve spent a lot of time testing with a glucose meter to see the exact rise and fall of blood sugar after eating certain foods. Long story short I was a brown rice addict. I thought it was okay since it was whole grain. I can personally attest to the fact that whole grain flours seem to be worse for blood sugar than say whole cooked brown rice. But most telling was when I experimented with vegetable carbs vs whole grain carbs.

    I found that at least in my case, whole grain carbs raised my sugar higher than say, eating twice as many carbs but in vegetable form. This even held true for a sweet and starchy vegetable I had been rigorously avoiding: the sweet potato. As it turns outs I think I would have been better off eating a small portion of sweet potato, than even an even smaller serving of brown rice. In my case even as little as 6 grams brown rice, eaten with protein and fat would easily spike my sugar higher than it needed to go.

    I would say that sure whole grains are fine in moderation for most, but I’d think twice about them if you have any kind of blood sugar issue. Again I really encourage testing for yourself, to see how you respond personally.

  • Maria

    “To compound the issue, most breads, crackers, snack bars and cereal have loads of sugar which is VERY rapidly converted to glucose.” The Sweet Beet

    You are inferring that sugar is worse than wheat flour, which is wrong. The added sugar in those products is usually sucrose, which has a glycemic index lower than white bread. You wouldnt say white bread VERY rapidly converts to glucose, right?