The Difference between Whole and Refined Grains

Ernest Barbella has over 50 years of experience in the food industry. With an in-depth understanding of the grocery business in particular, Ernest Barbella is highly knowledgably about a multitude of products sold in grocery stores, including those derived from grains.

Both whole grains and refined grains appear in many popular foods, such as breads and cereals, and make up a large portion of many people’s diets. However, there are some key differences between the two types of grains. Examples of foods that contain refined grains are white bread and white rice. The grains used to produce these foods are considered refined because they undergo additional processing to remove the germ and bran found naturally in the grain. This process provides the grains with a better shelf life and softer texture. However, the process also removes from the grain substances like iron and fiber that have health benefits.

While many refined grains are also enriched, meaning that some vitamins and iron have been added to them, they are not the same as whole grains, which are grains whose kernels have stayed in their whole form. Consuming whole grains is very beneficial, and as a result, the United States Department of Agriculture recommends that at least half of the grains people consume be whole grains, such as cracked wheat, oatmeal, and whole-wheat flour.

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