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    Say What?: A Whole Lot of Nothing

    Now that whole grains have earned the respect they deserve, food companies are using their name in vain to get your dollars.

    In the past few months, I have seen several new products promising whole grains (usually followed by an exclamation point) and failing to deliver.

    One of the most common tricks lies in using the tagline “made with whole grains!”

    What the food manufacturers fail to tell you is that the product contains a mere five percent of whole grains (and ninety-five percent refined flour).

    Hence, it is made with whole grains, but is not a whole-grain food. Catch the subtlety?

    The best way to catch this lie is by looking at the ingredients list. If the first item you see is “unbleached wheat flour,” you know the product contains mostly refined carbohydrates.

    However, if the words “whole (insert type of grain here) flour” are first, you have a whole grain item in your hands.

    By the way, “stoneground wheat flour” is still a processed fiberless flour. If the words “whole” do not appear, it is NOT a whole grain.

    Another commonly used misleading tactic? Listing the grams of whole grains per serving. Teddy Grahams boasts about this figure on their new cookie package (“five grams of whole grains per serving!”).

    They are counting on consumers to be confused and equate that with “five grams of fiber”, which is VERY different.

    Don’t start worrying about whole grains vs. refined grain grams. Instead, focus simply on fiber grams. You want to look for at least three grams of fiber per serving for any bread product, for example.

    Finally, keep in mind that if it comes in a bag and contains 25 ingredients (19 of which you can’t pronounce), the promise of whole grains doesn’t mean much.

    I recently saw a new line of chips called Riceworks boast about the presence of brown rice (and “whole grains”) in its ingredient list.

    Well, each 1-ounce bag contains a mere 1 gram of fiber. It is such a processed food that the little amount of brown rice contained in each chip barely registers.

    Stay smart. Don’t let some high-salary-earning, nutritionally-clueless guy in a suit fool you with empty promises.


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