Heart-healthy whole-grain?: It occurred... - Cholesterol Support

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Heart-healthy whole-grain?


It occurred to me whilst reading some replies to questions recently, that some people are being misled by ‘health’ claims.

I saw a film recently that summed it up well; foods that are being sold as whole-grain are associated with being wholesome or even whole-foods. This is obviously not the case; think of the processing grains and oils have to undergo to make them edible. You wouldn’t eat them as they grow in the field would you?

12 Replies

My understanding is that whole grain foods may be processed but the end product retains all the constituent parts : a tough, fibrous outer layer called bran; the interior containing mostly the starchy endosperm (is job is to provide stored energy for the germ, the seed's reproductive kernel, which nestles inside the endosperm); the germ, which is rich in vitamins, minerals, and unsaturated oils.

Refined foods do not use all these three parts and therefore are not as good for us.

Concerned in reply to YvonneD

That's an excellent demonstration of promoting the 'health' aspects YvonneD. Bran is known to inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption, so they may be in the germ (although not as richly as in fruit and vegetables) but the benefit is overstated. The fibre in grains and cereals is often coarse and harmful to our digestive system, and the unsaturated oils tend to be high in omega-6, which skews the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in a detrimental way. The western diet tends to be too high in omega-6 and too low in omega-3.

The mummified remains of the ancient Egyptians illustrate the potential detriment of a high whole-grain diet.

Hi Folks,

"You wouldn’t eat them as they grow in the field would you?", Well some you can, they are just a bit (a lot) pithy. For example, corn (not sweetcorn) if you can pluck an ear and rub it in your hands, the shucks will fall off and you are left with hole corn, put it in your mouth and chew it. in old times the farmer did this to see the quality of the corn, if it chews down to stuff like chewing-gum he knew there was plenty of gluten present. However it is true that we like our rice to be shuked & polished, our barely as a brew!!

For brekfast I have uncooked poridge, straight from the packet, just add soya milk.

Oh, BTW you can eat raw sweetcorn, (I prefer mine cooked over a flame.)

Concerned in reply to Robert787

Well put Robert787. I think sweetcorn may be considered natural, and part of a healthy diet.

Corn and similar grains in their natural state however don't appeal to our tastebuds, and you'd have to be starving to eat them as a staple.

I suppose the soya milk would be okay in moderation if it is cold-pressed, or milked from a soya cow; the addition of calcium seems dodgy to me, especially since atherosclerotic plaques contain calcium. That opens another can of worms, since some experts say the acidity of the blood is as important for calcium utilisation as the amount of calcium i.e. the calcium from animal bones and greens in the diet was plenty for our distant ancestors because of the alkalinity afforded by the fruit and vegetables they ate.

I'll take this opportunity to take a gripe at the emphasis on 'heart healthy' polyunsaturated fats from wholegrains/soya; three quarters of the substance of atherosclerotic plaques consists of polyunsaturated fat, yet we are told to concentrate on lowering saturated fat and cholesterol.

So if it's milled, it's not a whole food? Incredible!

These food fascists would make us all sick, given the chance. Beta glucan seems to have a role in FH diets although still not well understood and oat bran seems a good way to get it.

Concerned in reply to DakCB-UK

Who are the food facists?

Hang on , Concerned. I drink oat milk so where does that leave me? As a soluble grain, which is the only type of grain I can have next to rye and as I am concerned that soya milk tastes awful and cannot always be guaranteed to be GM free although ALPRO does say on its website that it is GM free, I cannot tolerate dairy, so therefore I am confined to drinking water!

I try to eat as naturally as possible and grow as much of my own fruit and veg as I can and eat organic when I can afford it but it isn't easy and if you can spare a couple of hours in the Supermarket you have to read every label!!!

What I think we have to do is to eat and drink as well and as healthily as we can, make personal choices of what we buy and hope that we are doing all that we can to stay as healthy as we can.


Concerned in reply to patch14

I think you are quite correct about the importance of making informed choices. Whether it is necessary to have 100% natural foods, probably not; we have a degree of tolerance for our bodies to cope and adapt. The problem is that processed foods are being overemphasised.

I understand what you're saying about reading what's in everything, it's a pity that problems due to food still prevail, which must at least in part be due to putting profit before people. You could change your paradigm and think that most packaged food should be eaten rarely, though that dramatically reduces your choice of foods, you can still be creative.

A friend of mine once said to me. "When you go around a supermarket buy up as much as you can of the items on the shelves around the edge of the building and those items on the shelves along the isles as little as possible". When I went into my local Sainsburys I saw what she meant. The healthy foods, the vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, and fresh dairy produce were along the sides of the shop and the processed meats, tinned vegetables and frozen meals were all along the isles. The freezers along the wall had the frozen fruit and veg and the ones in the isles had the icecreams, pizzas and frozen puddings!!!! Try it for yourself!

I am able to use very little off the middle isles. Thanks to my mother I was taught to cook "from scratch" and have been able to add to my knowledge thanks to my love of good food! Good food is not another way of saying greedy. Good food, should be healthy, properly cooked (unless it's a salad!) and as fresh as possible. It's amazing what you can make with a potato, a carrot, an onion, a garlic clove, some herbs, a few salad leaves, a tomato, two slices of red pepper and three slices of cucumber plus two eggs. My supper tonight. A salad with a herb spanish omelette. All the vegetables were from my garden, except the cucumber (I have a very sickly plant in the greenhouse which refused to give me any fruits, it's sulking because of the weather.) Is my garden huge? No, nearly all have been grown in pots!

Seriously though, I agree that we are relying more and more on preprepared meals, (come on, we've all done it) with us all working all the hours and trying to run a home as well. It's why these meals are so popular, but I do wish that there is more of an emphasis in the schools to teach childen to cook. Just showing them how to cook pizza, or spag. bol. isn't teaching them the basics. My grandson was so proud of himself when, at 13 he was able to do scrambled eggs on toast for his lunch without any help. I told him if he can cook the six basic egg recipes he will never starve, and how much are a dozen free range eggs these days? Cheaper than a frozen pizza!!!!

Concerned in reply to patch14

Agreed on all counts.

I have a PS to the above. Has anyone else read a book on diet based on your blood group? A friend of my daughter's swears by it and he says it has changed his life and he believes it actually saved his life by decreasing his blood sugars, pressure and cholesterol. He has lost loads of weight, increased his vitality and strengthened his musculature and it has encouraged him to exercise more and sit around less as he no longer feels exhausted at the end of the day. As he is a husband and father to young children he can't be happier.

Concerned in reply to patch14

Yes; NHS Choices insist there is no good evidence to support the blood type diet.

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