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Going With the (Whole) Grain

by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, APRN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, CDE

Both logos include the Whole Grains Council message, which is “Eat 48 grams or more of whole grains daily.” This is the amount of whole grains in the three servings generally recommended for the adult population.

For a product to use the stamp of approval, the company must be a member of the Whole Grains Council and must file information about each qualifying product with the council. Companies also sign a legal agreement stating that they will abide by all rules and guidelines of the Stamp program. So the Stamp logo can be a reliable source to help you find legitimate whole-grain products. A product could still contain 50% to 100% whole grains without the Whole Grain Council logo, but it can be difficult to be sure. If you don’t see the logo, you will need to rely on the descriptive words on the package as well as the ingredients list and the amount of fiber listed in the Nutrition Facts panel.

Grains and diabetes control
Most of the calories in grains come from carbohydrate, and carbohydrate is the type of nutrient that affects blood glucose level the most after meals. For that reason, people with diabetes are advised to monitor their carbohydrate intake and to match the amount of carbohydrate they eat with the amount of insulin they take before meals or the amount of insulin their pancreas can secrete. For a person with Type 2 diabetes, high blood glucose levels after a meal may indicate that the meal contained more carbohydrate than the pancreas could handle. Changes in either food choices or medication may be in order to maintain blood glucose control.

Most nutrition experts agree that including carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat
milk in a diabetes meal plan is good for both good health and effective diabetes management. Such foods are important sources of energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Choosing whole grains over refined grains may help with blood glucose control since the soluble fiber found in some grains slows digestion, and any kind of fiber helps to fill you up, so you may consume fewer calories overall.

For suggestions on including more whole grains in your meals, see “Adding Whole Grains to Your Menus.” In addition, consider meeting with a registered dietitian, ideally one that specializes in diabetes, to help you better understand healthy grain choices, the impact of your choices on blood glucose control, as well as overall healthy meal-planning for your best possible blood glucose control and diabetes health.

Grain benefits
People who include whole grains in their daily meals have been found to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases, including heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. But even if you already have Type 2 diabetes, consuming at least three servings of whole grains daily may help you with weight management and reduce the likelihood of constipation. For women planning a pregnancy, eating grains fortified with folic acid before as well as during pregnancy helps prevent neural tube defects in the fetus during development. Why not go with the whole grain? You and your health will only benefit.

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Also in this article:
Adding Whole Grains to Your Menus
Identifying Whole Grains
What Counts as an Ounce?

 

 

More articles on Nutrition & Meal Planning

 

 


Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information provided on this Web site should not be construed as medical instruction. Consult appropriate health-care professionals before taking action based on this information.

 

 

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