Health Tips from Riesbeck Food Markets

Eat More Whole Grains

Whole grains, as opposed to refined grains, contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains, on the other hand, have had the bran and germ removed to give the grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life. Unfortunately, this also removes fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Research is finding that eating whole grains may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and help with weight management.

The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that we make at least half of our grains whole. Tips to help you eat whole grains:

• Eat whole wheat bread instead of white or wheat bread. Read the ingredients.  Make sure the first ingredient has the word ‘whole’ in it.

• Eat brown or wild rice instead of white rice.

• Try brown rice or whole wheat pasta. Be careful of products labeled multigrain.  Multigrain means a variety of grains, not necessarily whole, were used.

• Use barley in soup or stew and bulgur in casseroles or stir fries.

• Experiment by substituting whole wheat or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin or other flour-based recipes.

• Try whole grain snack crackers.

• Snack on popcorn when made with little or no added salt and butter. 

Will Carbs Make Me Fat?

Carbohydrates are one of the three energy-yielding macronutrients— carbohydrates, fat and protein. The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system.  Our brain needs at least 130 grams of carbohydrates daily to function.

Carbohydrates provide four calories for every one gram, so if a food contains 10 grams of carbohydrates it would provide 40 calories from carbs. Excess calories lead to weight gain, whether they come from carbs, fat or protein, and therefore a calorie is a calorie, is a calorie. When we don’t eat enough carbohydrates, our bodies actually start to break down our lean body mass after about 24 hours, while holding onto body fat.

The bottom line is we need to eat enough carbohydrates from healthy sources like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and some dairy products. This will provide sufficient energy for bodily functions and to maintain lean body mass.

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