By Melanie Albert, Nutrition & Wellness Expert, Author & Speaker, Founder & CEO Experience Nutrition
Excerpt from book: “Enjoy Food & Life. 9 Ways 90 Days Step-by-step action plan for healthy eating & living.”
Why We Need Carbs
People are confused about carbs and about whole grains. Many diets are no carb or low carb, but in reality our bodies need about 40-50% carbs every day at every meal. The problem is that people eat low quality carbs, like cookies, cakes, crackers and bread. Other carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables are good for us.
- The body’s main source of fuel
- Easily used by the body for energy
- Needed for the central nervous system, kidneys, brain and muscles (including the heart) to function properly
- Stored in the muscles and liver and later used for energy
- Vital to intestinal health and waste elimination
Anatomy of a Grain
Bran: The outer shell of grain which protects the seed. Contains fiber, B vitamins and minerals.
Germ: Nourishment for the seed. Contains B vitamins, minerals, vitamin E, and phytonutrients.
Endosperm: Energy for the seed. Contains carbohydrates, some protein and B vitamins.
What Makes a Grain a Whole Grain?
- It has not been processed (made into other food products like flour, cookies, bread or crackers)
- It is a whole food and includes the germ and bran
- It is considered a “good carb”
Refined grains: Grains or grain flours that have been significantly modified from their natural composition. Generally involves mechanical removal of bran and germ. Further refining includes mixing, and bleaching.
Enriched grains: Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and iron are often added back to nutritionally enrich the product. Because the added nutrients represent a fraction of the nutrients removed, refined grains are considered nutritionally inferior to whole grains.
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