Just because a food sounds or looks "grainy" doesn’t mean it’s made from whole grain. For example, “brown” bread can actually get its color from molasses or food dye. Words like “multigrain” and “stone ground” can also be misleading. “Multigrain” simply means that the food has more than one grain – refined or otherwise, while “stone ground” only refers to the technique used to prepare the food – not the ingredients.
The Whole Grains Council offers the following tips when trying to choose whole grain products:
- Read the ingredient list – If the first ingredient listed contains the word “whole” (such as “whole wheat flour”) then the product is predominantly whole grain.
- Look for the Whole Grain stamp – Food companies can add this stamp to their whole grain products.
- Look for an FDA health claim – Foods that contain 51 percent or more of whole grain ingredients by weight may make the following claim: “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods, and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers".
- Check the fiber content – You can find this on the Nutrition Facts panel on the packaging. A true 100 percent whole grain product will have at least two grams of fiber per serving, and often five grams or more.