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What Does “Whole Grain” Really Mean?

What Does Whole Grain Really Mean?

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) recently completed an investigation of various packaged food products with the labels whole wheat, whole grain, and multigrain. They found that the main ingredient in many, if not most, foods boasting these labels is refined white flour.

Manufacturers are using the whole grain label to suggest to consumers that a product is a smart and healthy choice. The use of this label on packaged food products has increased dramatically over the past two years, following the USDA’s recommendation that at least half of our grain intake should be from whole grains.

Last week, CSPI presented their findings to the FDA, advocating for legally enforceable definitions of whole wheat, whole grain, and multigrain. Although the FDA has been promising to define whole grain since 1993, its Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff document related to Whole Grain Statements remains in draft form.

For now, the only way to be sure of the content of products with these labels is to read the ingredient list. If you are trying to incorporate more whole grains in your diet, be sure the first ingredient in foods you choose is actually a whole grain such as whole wheat, oats, or brown rice.

Image Credit: jayneandd/Flickr

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