What Are Whole Grains?
You must have already heard countless advertisements boasting about their products’ whole grain content, but what exactly are whole grains, and why are they better than refined carbohydrates?
Whole grains refer to the unprocessed seeds of cereal plants, like barley, corn, rice, rye, quinoa, and wheat². Whole grains retain all its three parts:
- Bran – It is the thin, outermost layer rich in insoluble fiber, phytochemicals, and B vitamins.
- Endosperm – It is the thickest, central part rich in starch.
- Germ – It is the smallest part rich in protein and healthy fats.
Now, many manufacturers choose to “refine” whole grains into white bread, white pasta, white rice, etc. The process results in a finer texture and longer shelf life but removes the bran and the germ and the nutrients that come with them.
The Benefits of Whole Grains
Based on the discussion above, it’s easy to point out that one of the benefits of whole grains is their nutritional value. But what other health benefits do they offer, particularly for people with or who are at risk of diabetes?
1. They Are Better for Blood Sugar Control
Reports say whole grains have a lower glycemic index compared to their refined alternatives. That means they do not affect blood sugar levels as quickly as white products do.
In one study involving participants with metabolic syndrome, the researchers observed that those who consumed whole grains had better blood sugar control than those who consumed refined grains³.