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Whole Grains- How to find the real thing!

Grocery stores are filled with many items labeled “whole grain”, tricking shoppers into thinking they are making a healthy and nutritious choice by purchasing the product. The truth is that finding an item that is truly “whole grain” can be a bit trickier than simply trusting the advertisements. But, don’t worry, we can help equip you with the tools you need to outsmart the sneaky labels, and fill you cart with the real thing!

One of the first things you can look for is whether the item has a Whole Grain Stamp. The Whole Grains Council, a nonprofit group that works to increase the consumption of whole grains, created two stamps to help shoppers make more nutritious choices:

  • The 100% whole grain stamp indicates all the grain ingredients in that product are whole. The product must also contain 16 g of whole grains per labeled serving.

  • The Basic Stamp indicates that some of grains are whole, but some of them may be refined. The product must contain 8 g of whole grains per labeled serving.

Each stamp will contain a number reflecting the amount of grams of whole grains that are in a serving of the product.

If there is no stamp on the item, or if you just want more information on the ingredients of the product itself, you can always check the nutrition label. If the first ingredient listed contains the word “whole”, it is likely that the product is predominantly whole grain. However, if only the second ingredient contains the word “whole” then it is impossible to know how much of the product is actually whole grains. Therefore, when filling you cart, make sure the items you’ve selected contain the word “whole” in the first ingredient!

There are several red flag words to should watch out for when searching for whole grains. If these words/phrases are listed on the package, the product is probably not an entirely whole grain product:

  • Multi-grain

  • 100% wheat

  • Enriched flour

  • Bran

  • Wheat germ

  • Made with or contains whole grains/whole wheat

  • Cracked wheat

Good luck, and happy shopping!

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