Commentary: Whole grains & Nutrition
Home Up Contact Us Cooking Skills Recipe Index



Today I want to talk briefly about the quality of foods on the market and how we perceive them.   I was talking to my youngest son about what types of things he should be eating and drinking because he is in the middle of basketball conditioning. One of the minerals he wants is potassium. Oranges and orange juice is a good source of potassium, so I was encouraging him to eat oranges and drink orange juice.  He was like “oh, I can just drink Sunny D” because that is what some of the other athletes are drinking. “Well, nooooo”, was my reply because that is a fruit drink that has lots of sugar added to it.  So, that brought up the discussion about the difference between foods being naturally nutritional for you the way God intended versus something that is enriched with synthetic vitamins and minerals and loaded with sugars. This covers just about anything that we buy in the market that has been processed in any way.  Whew! So where do I start?  Let’s start with grains:

 What makes whole grain different from refined grains?  The outer layers of the grains are scraped off and the embryo or germ is removed, resulting in a product that is lighter in color than flour ground from the entire grain.  I talked about this awhile ago when I discussed making home baked goods more nutritious.  This “dummying down” of the grain allows the manufacturer to produce products where the dough rises better and has a longer shelf life without spoiling. NOT for taste or nutrition. Then the enrichment is synthetically re-added. Most of the protein content is lost and becomes just empty carbohydrates.   What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates are a critical source of energy for our bodies. A healthy diet includes about 45% to 65% of its calories from complex carbohydrates that come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. NOT sugars.

 Next, let’s define sugar: Fructose is fruit sugar. Maltose is malt sugar. Lactose is milk sugar. Sucrose is a sweet, crystalline carbohydrate extracted from sugar cane and sugar beets. Refined sugars have many different names, such as granulated (table) sugar, powdered sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, and malt. Even much commercial fructose is really pure refined sugar.

Americans average consumption of sugar is at least 153 # of sugar a year!  Yech!  It is a non-nutritive empty calorie that robs the body of vitamins and minerals.  It creates an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. Mental and emotional disorders are often linked to sugar in the diet. Only one third of a person’s sugar consumption is purchased as packaged sugar. The rest is consumed in manufactured foods. Almost everything on store shelves has sugar in it, even salt and cigarettes. Some foods are even required to have sugar in them by the FDA. For instance, catsup cannot be called catsup if it does not contain sugar.

 When sugar is eliminated from the diet, all foods start to taste better. Taste buds become more sensitive to the natural sweetness of foods. Soon, sugar cravings begin to dwindle and control over ones eating becomes easier and easier. Bodies start feeling better, calmer, and sleep improves.

 Okay- so what is my point to all of my ramblings about over processing grains and sugars?

Just because the package says enriched, fortified, or made out of whole grains, doesn’t mean that it is nutritionally sound for you.  Check out the soluble fiber and sugar content before indulging. And remember juice is 100% juice and is called juice not a fruit or juice drink.  Oh, and by the way, pop contains tons of sugar, of course, but also phosphates and the combination of the two leaches calcium from your bones and teeth.  



Questions or Comments:  Contact Webmaster
Copyright 2006