Kingman Diet tip: Words to watch for

Eunice Mesick

Eunice Mesick

Selecting whole grains instead of refined grains offers more fiber and nutrients.

Hi, this is Eunice from Diet Center.

Nutrients you miss out on if you consume refined grain foods include vitamin E, vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, potassium, copper and protein. Phytochemicals in whole grains are also lost in the refining process. Phytochemicals play a role in protecting the body from diseases.

Labels on breads and cereals can be misleading when you want to select whole grain products. If you’re looking for a whole wheat product, don’t bother referring to the name or claims of an item. Instead, check out the ingredients list. The first term on the list should be “whole wheat” or “whole grain.” If you see “enriched wheat,” “unbromated wheat,” “unbleached wheat” or “stone ground wheat,” then the product isn’t a whole grain item. It’s refined.

If you see the term “bran,” this just refers to the fiber-rich part of grain. Therefore, the item would be a good source of fiber, but lacks the phytochemicals and nutrients a whole wheat product contains.

When it comes to oat products, you don’t have to look for the word “whole.” You can look for the terms “oats,” “rolled oats,” “whole rolled oats,” or “oatmeal” as the first ingredient.

Other foods that are whole grains that don’t have to have the word “whole” on the ingredients list include brown rice and corn. Besides wheat and bran, keep other grains in mind such as barley, kasha, bulgur, millet and quinoa. They’re all nutritious whole-grain alternatives to rice and potatoes. Knowing what to look for can make it easy to ensure that you’re selecting a nutritious whole grain product.

Other terms to watch for are “enriched” and “fortified.” Both indicate that nutrients were added to food. The nutrients usually added are vitamins and minerals. When food is refined, coarse parts are removed, and nutrients are lost. Enrichment adds back the nutrients that were lost during food processing. Grain products are usually enriched with iron, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin. However, enrichment does not always compensate for all nutrient and fiber losses. A unique quality of whole-grain foods is that they may be rich in all nutrients found in the original grain. When food is fortified, nutrients are added that may not have been present originally. For example, milk is fortified with vitamin D. Fortified foods may be nutritious, but still do not provide the many nutrients that a whole-grain food might provide. Check labels when choosing grain products such as breads, cereals and pastas. Whole grains are the best selection. Choose enriched or fortified products over refined foods. Now that you have a better understanding about whole grains, enrichment and fortifying, you can start selecting items that create the most nutritious meals!

Thank you for reading Diet Center’s tip of the week. If you’re struggling with your weight, call me at 928-753-5066 or stop by 1848 Hope Ave. in Kingman.

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