Posted: Jun 1, 2012 6:42 AM by Erin Schermele - MTN News
GREAT FALLS- Getting enough fiber in your diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health related complications, but many people are only getting half the amount of fiber recommended.
Nikki Herzog, a dietetic intern at Montana State University, says that there are three kinds of grain found in food: whole grains, refined grains and enriched grains - but only one contains the nutritional values.
"Whole grain is where it is has the bran and the germ completely intact. It is an enriched grain, meaning that through the milling process these components aren't stripped," Herzog explained.
Once grains become refined, they are thinned out and stripped of their nutrients; then they are enriched, but not with the same nutritional value as their whole counterparts.
"Refined grains are higher in sugar, fats, and sodium...these are your pastries, your cookies, your chips, but they can also be in your bread sources as well," Herzog noted.
She says that reading nutrition labels is the most important step to be sure you are consuming whole grains. Herzog also suggests trying to avoid products that contain "enriched" or "refined" grains, and instead look for those with whole grains listed in the top three ingredients on the package.
But Herzog says to be wary of advertising gimmicks, claiming whole grain or extra fiber, when there is really very little to none at all.