Sit down, this may come as a surprise—Carbs are actually good for you! Everything we read tells us that carbohydrates are bad. The truth is that the brain must be supplied with an adequate supply of glucose and we get most of our glucose from carbohydrates. Muscle cells also rely on glucose during anaerobic (without oxygen) activity. If glucose is not available from the diet or if the body’s storage form of glucose (glycogen) is depleted, the body will convert protein to glucose to supply the essential fuel to the brain and maintain blood glucose levels. Eating a low carb diet can cause tremendous fatigue and too much will be stored as fat. It’s a delicate Balance, but only 4 percent of Americans met the current whole grain dietary recommendations.
Grains have traditionally been eaten as whole grains and have been referred to as the “staff of life” for thousands of years. However through milling and processing, most of the bran and some of the germ is removed, resulting in losses of fiber, B vitamins, vitamin E, trace minerals, unsaturated fat, and about 75 percent of the phytochemicals. Compared to refined grains, most whole grains provide more protein, fiber and other nutrients and phytochemicals.
Research shows that healthful diets rich in whole grain foods are helpful in reducing the risks of heart disease, certain types of cancer, and type diabetes, and may also help in weight management. The fiber in whole grains helps us feel full. So, how much do we need--The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating at least three servings (equivalent to 3 ounces) of whole grain products per day, that’s half of your carbohydrate requirement for the day. A serving is about one slice of bread or a half cup of a whole grain such as brown rice, oatmeal, wild rice, quinoa, barley or buckwheat. When shopping, look for the whole grain check mark, the whole grain stamp, or the word “whole” in front of the grain, such as “whole wheat”.
Until recently, whole grains have been difficult to find, but more and more products are becoming available. Even bakeries are offering whole grains. Broadmoor Baker products from Seattle have been using whole grains in their breads since the 1980’s. Industry consolidations shelved the Broadmoor Baker product line. Frank Pigott, owner of Bakery By the Lake, contacted Paul Suzman (Broadmoor Baker) to discuss using the Broadmoor formulas in the two Coeur d’Alene Bakery locations. Hearty Grain & Seed Bread and in his Energy Bars were introduced when the Bakery opened. Each product are “top sellers” and on my ‘favorites’ list.
To increase the whole grain content of your meals try sneaking it in where ever you can; Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, quick breads and pancakes, add uncooked oats to ground beef or turkey when you make meatballs, burgers or meatloaf and try sneaking brown rice or barley into your favorite soups and buy whole grain pasta. So, make whole grains your friend and load up!