When it comes to eating grains, we get lots of questions! Most of the time because people are fearful that eating grains will cause weight gain, slow them down from getting to their goal or cause unwanted digestive issues (like gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea).
MAY is celiac disease awareness month. When individuals have celiac disease they have an allergy to gluten and need to eliminate itentirely from their diet. If gluten is ingested, it can cause serious damage to their intestinal tract and lead poor nutrient absorption and eventually nutrient deficiencies.
Some people can have what is now called “non celiac gluten sensitivity”, which is exactly that, a sensitivity to gluten NOT an allergy. This condition is hard to diagnose as there are no specific tests for it, but with the help of a carefully designed elimination diet and nutrition support from an expert we can get that much closer to figuring out your sensitivity threshold.
But before you jump on the no grain train, lets’s dig a little deeper into the 3 most common grain categories we get questions about.
A whole grain has 3 different parts, the BRAN, GERM and ENDOSPERM intact. The bran is loaded with fibre, B vitamins, and antioxidants. The germ boosts more b vitamins, some protein, mineral and healthy fats and the endosperm houses the starchy carbohydrates, proteins and a small amount of vitamins and minerals. In refined grains (white bread or pasta), the bran and germ have been removed and only the endosperm remains. Studies show that including whole grains in our diet can prevent cardiovascular disease (hypertension, high cholesterol), type 2 diabetes, obesity, colon cancer and lead to a longer life!
Next time you are out shopping look for the WHOLE GRAIN label. In Canada, only products that have 100% of their grains from whole grains and no added non-whole-grain ingredients will have this label.
BEST whole grains to try
- Whole oats
- + ALL naturally gluten free whole grains
Gluten Free Grains
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, that people with celiac MUST stay away from. For most of us, it does not hurt to have gluten in our diet, limiting it or removing it is based on individual needs and may not cause any effect if eaten in moderation.
BEST naturally gluten free whole grains:
- Brown rice/wild rice
- Oats (labelled GF)
Wheat Free Grains
A very small percentage of people must eliminate wheat from their diet if they have an allergy to the wheat protein. If this is the case, beware that GLUTEN FREE does not mean the same thing as WHEAT FREE. Many gluten free grains do have wheat or wheat derivatives in their ingredients so read the label carefully.
Best whole grain wheat free options:
- Whole oats
- Rice (brown, wild, bran)