Carola Becker

Carola Becker

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WHOLEGRAIN IS GREAT! BUT HOW MUCH DO YOU ACTUALLY GET IN THE PRODUCTS YOU BUY?

Depending on where you are in the world, the amount of wholegrain and wholemeal used in bread, biscuits, cereals, protein bars and other products can vary significantly. How do you ensure that your product contains an actually healthy amount of fibre? 

Wholegrain products are good for you! They contain more nutrients, more fibre and taste so much better! Did you know that products made from white flour like white bread and toast have almost 90% of their naturally occuring vitamins and minerals removed? 

But besides the important nutrients like B vitamins, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron and many more, it’s the fibre content which is important: Fibre slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and helps you feeling fuller for longer. It supports your digestion and balances your cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

So if you are choosing wholegrain or wholemeal products, you should be able to support your health. But sadly, in the UK, there is no legally binding amount of wholegrain that needs to be added to a product in order to be called ‘wholegrain’. 

That means, if you go and buy a product labelled wholegrain or wholemeal, you may end up with only a tiny amount of wholegrain added!

I find this quite shocking!

If you buy a wholegrain product in Norway, it has to be 100% wholegrain. In the US, it will be 50%. In the UK, it can be anything.

Thankfully, you can simply have a look at the food label and you can see immediately, how much wholegrain is in your product: 

Look for the amount of total carbohydrates per 100g of product, let’s say it’s 70g.
Then check the amount of fibre per 100g and multiply this number by 10, if it’s 7g, you have 50% wholegrain but it should be more than that!

Clearly, the higher the fibre content, the more wholegrain you get!

Let’s have a look at the labels: you can see below the food label of a well known ‘healthy’ breakfast cereal, copied directly from their website:

The total content of carbohydrates is 84g, the amount of fibre is only 6g! Besides that, the sugar content is quite high with 15g per 100g! So this one is not a perfect option.

On the other hand, here is the nutritional information of a wholemeal bread, available in UK supermarkets:

This looks a lot better: it contains 39.8g of carbohydrates and 6.8g of fibre! Added bonus: the sugar content is acceptable.

To cut a long story short: not all cereals are good, not all bread is bad. Check the labels and go for the lowest sugar and highest fibre content! Enjoy!

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