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Posts Tagged ‘GI’

Are you leery about having a slice of bread, or bowl of pasta? With all the hype of the role of gains in weight gain, it is easy to see why. However, there is a lot we need to understand before ditching those dinner treats.

In order to bake your bread and eat it too, we must understanding the difference between whole grain and refined grain is a good starting point. The truth is, the grains that make up the typical American diet are highly refined. Many people think that whole wheat is a much “heavier” grain and contains more crabs, therefore turning to the “refined” grains. This is where grains get their bad wrap. Health problems such as Obesity, Diabetes, Hypoglycemia, Heart Disease, Bowel Cancer and Tooth Decay are just some of the major diseases on the rise since the introduction of white flour in the 1900’s. Many nutritionists agree that white flour and other refined foods are largely responsible.

Refined vs. Whole Grain

 Refined, processed grains are stripped of most of their nutrients, as the bran and the germ are removed.  This is done in order to be able to preserve the grain for longer.  When commercially making white flour, over half of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost. Modern milling of whole cereal grains puts the kernel through a high-heat milling process that removes the germ and bran (which contain 90 percent of the nutritional content of the kernel), leaving only the endosperm (starch). The result is “refined” flour. Although this results in an easier flour for cooking, it strips it of all the good stuff. So you’re basically eating gluten and starch when you eat products off the shelf.  For PR purposes, you’ll see breads and cereals claiming to be “enriched with vitamins and minerals!” Meaning that some of the nutrients such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, and iron, are added back. However, Usually only 2-4 of the missing vitamins and minerals can be replaced and enrichment does not restore insoluble fiber and other nutrients that are lost during the milling process.

Whole grains contain the bran, the endosperm, and the germ. Because they have not gone through the refining process, they are good sources of fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and selenium. They also contain the plant chemicals called phytochemicals, which are believed to have many health-promoting effects.

Now that we have determined the difference in refined and whole grains, we can take it a step further with sprouted grains! Sprouted grains, unlike processed grains, are extremely nutritious and provide a valuable part of any healthy diet.

Sprouted Grains

Sprouted grain differs from whole grain in three fundamental aspects: 1) sprouting activates food enzymes; 2) sprouting increases vitamin content, and 3) sprouting neutralizes antinutrients like phytic acid which bind up minerals preventing your ability to fully absorb them.

When grains, seeds and nuts are germinated, their nutritional content changes and, as they are generally not cooked, they retain their natural plant enzymes. As well as retaining the enzymes, they also retain the nutrients that would otherwise be destroyed by cooking.  Sprouted grains, seeds and nuts also encourage the growth of good bacteria, help to keep the colon clean, and are high in protective antioxidants. (Check our our post on sprouting seeds for more information on how to sprout your own.)

Sprouted wheat is highly nutritious and surprisingly sweet. It is much easier for the body to digest since much of the starch is changed into vegetable sugars. They are also low GI, so they are digested more slowly by the body, keeping the blood sugar levels stable for longer, making people feel more satisfied.  (Leading to less snacking)  It is interesting to note that the more highly processed a food is, the higher GI it is.  A loaf of white bread is significantly higher GI than a loaf of sprouted grain bread.

What is GI?

If you are like me, I had only heard of the words Glycemic Index and thought it only related to diabetics. The fact of the matter is, it relates to everyone. The glycemic index or GI describes this difference by ranking carbohydrates according to their effect on our blood glucose levels. Choosing low GI carbs – the ones that produce only small fluctuations in our blood glucose and insulin levels – is the secret to long-term health reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes and is the key to sustainable weight loss.

Visit the GI website for more information

Moral of the story:

You can Sprout your grains, and Mill them too!
Take your health into your own hands. The more we rely on grocery store shelf products, the more fat we add to our diets. Once we slow down and get the facts, we can start replenishing our body of all the good stuff it’s missing. Even if milling and sprouting are not up your alley, know what you put into your body. Read the labels of the stuff you are buying.

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