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Whole Grains VS Refined Grains - Which One Should You Prefer?

Reviewed by
MSC Food & Nutrition
Dietitian/Nutritionist, Delhi  •  14 years experience
Whole Grains VS Refined Grains - Which One Should You Prefer?

For quite a few years now, doctors have been advising people to abstain refined grains and preferably consume only whole grains. This trend has taken the world by storm and fitness enthusiasts swear by whole grains. But why exactly should you opt for whole grains? And why are refined grains bad for your health?

What are Whole Grains?

All grains, be it wheat, rice, corn, millet or barley have a seed in their core. It is called the kernel. The kernel has three parts-

  • Bran: This is the coat or covering that covers the entire seed. It is made of fibres

  • Endosperm: It lies below the bran and is made of starch

  • Germ: It is essentially the embryo of the seed and it has the potential to germinate into a new plant. It contains healthy fats

All three parts of the kernel have a high nutritional value.

Whole grain means the grain’ kernel is intact and hasn’t been tampered with. It contains all three of its component parts.

What are Refined Grains?

The kernel of the refined grains contains just the endosperm. Refining means, the bran, and the germ are removed mechanically by grinding or sifting.

How can you benefit by consuming Whole Wheat?

Here are some of the many benefits of whole grains -

  • They contain loads of both soluble and insoluble fibres. Not only do they make bowel movements regular but also keep the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) under check and thus promote heart health. They are effective against diverticulosis - a colon disorder. They also help the good bacteria to thrive and multiply in our guts.

  • Whole grains can help with hypertension

  • They can help bring down blood sugar level

  • They can provide you with calcium to strengthen your bones and teeth as well as Vitamin B and folic acid

  • They are a rich source of minerals like iron (can prevent anemia), magnesium (instrumental for bone health) and selenium (does not allow free radicals to develop)

  • Inflammation can lead to a number of heart disorders. Whole grains can fight against inflammation

Why are Refined Grains Harmful?

Here are a few reasons why refined grains can harm you -

  • During the process of refining, this type of grains loses all their nutritional value like the fibres, minerals and vitamins

  • They can trigger obesity. Since refined fibres contain no fibres, they are easy to digest and make you feel hungry soon after a meal. Eventually, overeating can lead to obesity

  • They can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes because they make you resistant to insulin

  • Refined grains can also raise your levels of triglycerides which ups your possibility of coming down with a heart disorder

Whole grains are packed with goodness, much of which is missing in refined grains. That is why you should try to opt for whole grains and cut down on the consumption of refined grains.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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