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Whole Grains Are Better for You than Processed Grains—Right?

Whole Grains Are Better for You than Processed Grains—Right?
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Not necessarily, unless you follow some simple steps.
The owner of a beloved lunch spot in Alabama was recently asked by an out-of-state visitor what kind of bread she had for a sandwich. She replied, “Honey, we have four kinds: white, white, white, and white.”
The visitor was probably one of those people who always asks for whole wheat because it is “healthier:” more nutritious, less likely to spike blood sugar. But while more and more people seem to recognize that highly processed grains are not part of a healthy diet, they may not realize some key differences in how whole grains should be treated and consumed.
Noted chef Dan Barber makes some interesting observations about using whole grains The Third Plate: Field Notes on The Future of Food.
Whole wheat includes the germ and the bran. After it is ground, the germ and its oils start to spoil. Spoilage also degrades flavor.
This applies to any grain or seed, not just ones containing gluten. It is especially important with something like flax seed. Once ground, it begins to turn rancid very rapidly and must be immediately consumed. Ground flax seed is vacuum-packed and is generally OK when you open it, but it won’t last.
People who really love their coffee will understand this point. If they buy ground coffee, they will keep it refrigerated or frozen. The real die-hards will insist on buying whole beans and grinding them fresh each morning.
In other words, if your nutritional goals allow you to use grains in your baking (and it should be noted that Paleo-style approaches do not), go ahead and use whole grains instead of their highly processed versions—but be sure you use them quickly and/or store them in the freezer, because they will go bad very quickly indeed.

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