Grains in the culinary sense (which this website uses) refer to a group of foods (specifically “cereal grains”) with similar nutritional characteristics and culinary uses. Culinary grains consist of dry fruit from the grass family, which include barley, oats, rice, rye, corn, sorghum, millet, and wheat (and its relative spelt) and pseudo-grains such as buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. (1)Welbaum GE. Vegetable Production and Practices. Cab Interational. Family Poaceae. Chapter 13. Jan 2015. Available here.

Refining grains strips them of the outer, nutrient rich layer, leaving mostly carbohydrates. The result of this process are products like white rice or any products made of white (refined) flour such as pasta, noodles, white bread, couscous, etc.

These belong to some of the unhealthiest foods in our diet today and have a similar effect on our bodies as pure sugar.

Eating whole grain products when compared to the refined grain products have shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. These products contain many more minerals, vitamins and fiber.

However, either processed or whole grains, have a high glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), and when eaten regularly (e.g. as staple foods) increase the insulin resistance. It may actually lead to an increase of chronic diseases.

I promote a low carbohydrate diet and encourage my clients to substitute grains for other plant foods with similar nutritional profiles, which are lower in carbohydrates.

Articles showing carbohydrate and fat related myths will be published soon so please keep on checking the website for updates.

The word “grain” can be also used in a botanical or agricultural sense. However, for culinary or nutritional purposes, is not that useful and can be confusing. (read more..)

References   [ + ]

1. Welbaum GE. Vegetable Production and Practices. Cab Interational. Family Poaceae. Chapter 13. Jan 2015. Available here.