What’s the difference between whole grains and refined grains?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,010
    Dietitian Sarah Alligood discusses the difference between whole grains and refined grains.

    Host: What is the difference between whole grains and refined grains?

    Sarah Alligood: Well, whole grains and refined grains both have a role in your diet. You should probably strive to get about half of your grains from whole -- whole grains and the other half would probably come from refined grains. Whole grains have the whole grain intact which gives them some proprieties so that they provide health benefits. Refined grains also serve a purpose in the diet. Refined grains have had part of the grain removed which makes them a little bit softer than whole grains, so in certain food products when you do want them to a little bit softer, refined grains maybe more appropriate. The other thing about refined grains is that a lot of them have something called folic acid added into them. This is a really important nutrient for women of child bearing ages because having adequate amounts can prevent very serious birth defects. So women of child bearing ages need to make sure that they are getting some refined grains in their diet, so that they will be getting enough folic acid. Now trying to make half of your grains whole is a lot easier now than it used to be. There are a lot of products in the marketplace that are made with whole grains that maybe werent done so in the past. For example, you can get all pastas whole grain now, you can get whole grain breads, crackers, even some snack chips. So it is really a lot easier now to make half of your grains whole.

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