[By Jessica Liu]

It has long been ingrained in our heads that most carbs are nothing more than just empty calories. While some are, our body does require healthy ones to function properly. Those that are made from 100% whole grains provide essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients, antioxidants and fiber, all of which are needed to achieve healthy skin and a healthy digestive system.

So how can you tell which whole grain is the healthiest?  Well wheat is grown and then either milled into a powder (flour), or the germ, bran and endosperm is separated out and combined to make specific types of flour like whole wheat, whole grain and even all-purpose white flour. When all the parts of the wheat kernel is kept intact, then the flour is considered a whole grain. Whole grains are digested much more slowly that processed ones as there are more elements in it, including fiber to break down. This is why you feel fuller for longer. A common misconception is that brown carbs or wheat based carbs are good for you. Wheat bread is made of processed wheat that’s been stripped of all its nutrients. Ingredients like “wheat flour” and “enriched wheat flour” are no different than white flour.

Check out our guide to help you separate the good forms of wheat from the bad.

LEAST HEALTHY

Refined Grains

These grains are bleached, stripped and processed, removing the bran and germ to give a longer shelf life. They usually contain vitamin B and iron. Highly refined starches are bad for the skin because they break down as sugar and accelerate inflammation, which has a connection to aging.

Recognize it as: White bread, white rice, white flour, wheat flour

SEMI-HEALTHY

Multi-grains

Multigrains consist of refined grains (at least 2 different grains) that are colored dark to make them appear as if they are whole grains (in other words more healthy looking)

Recognize it as: Whole-wheat bread, “made with wheat flour” products

Wheat breads and pasta

Wheat breads- if they are not 100 percent true whole grain wheat- may contain a mix of grains. Some can contain 75% refined white flour and only 25% whole wheat flour. Wheat bread basically means made from just wheat, but not necessarily whole wheat. The two are totally different things.

Recognize it as: Stone grains, mixed grains, brown rice

HEALTHIEST

Whole grains

Made from amber or red colored wheat, whole grains are unaltered and contain the bran, germ and endosperm, which contains minerals, fibers, antioxidants, phytochemicals, magnesium and vitamins. Because it’s not been modified, it has a somewhat rough texture and tastes nutty. Whole grains don’t cause a spike in insulin. They are slow-burning complex carbohydrates and give long-lasting energy. Whole grain flour and breads should be refrigerated because the small amount of natural fat causes them to go rancid quicker

Recognize them as: 100% whole wheat

 

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