A whole grain contains the three major parts that were present as the grain grew in the field: the bran (high in fiber and B vitamins), endosperm (contains starch, protein and some vitamins and minerals) and germ (contains B vitamins, some protein, minerals and healthy oils). Whole grains include amaranth, barley, brown rice, bulgur, faro, oats, popcorn, quinoa, whole rye, whole wheat and wheat berries.
Here are three label reading tips to use when shopping for whole grains:
1. Don’t be fooled by the color. Just because bread is brown does not mean it is whole grain. Many brown breads get their brown color from caramel coloring, not from whole grain flour.
2. Search for the first ingredient. To determine if a bread is whole grain (ignore the claims on the front of the package such as “honey wheat,” “wheat bread” or “multigrain”), look at the ingredient listing on the package, at the bottom of the Nutrition Facts Panel. Look for grain foods that list a whole grain as the first ingredient. If the first ingredient listed is wheat flour, it is not a whole grain. The label needs to state “whole” wheat flour.
3. Fiber Content. A whole grain breadshould have at least two grams fiber per one-ounce serving.