Whole grains - healthy or hype?

There are five good reasons to include more wholegrains in your diet.
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  • Updated:7 Aug 2008

03.Labelling buzzwords

Wholegrain is the latest labelling buzzword. Claims have exploded on products such as bread, cereals, crackers, biscuits and pasta. But are all wholegrain foods created equal? Is there a difference between 'with wholegrain' and just plain old 'wholegrain'? You could be getting 100% wholegrain goodness, or a whole lot less.

“With wholegrain goodness”

Grain snacks…but how much? These “100% natural grain snacks with wholegrain goodness” combine “100% natural wholegrain goodness with delicious tastes”. If you think that suggests all the grain in there is wholegrain, think again. They’re 41% wholegrain flour, plus regular flour, cornflour and other ingredients.


"Source of wholegrain"

Wholegrain tortillasThese wholegrain tortillas do contain some wholegrains and three times the fibre of regular tortillas, and that makes them a better choice — but they ‘fess up on the back of the pack to being made with only 30% wholegrain flour.


"Wholemeal" — well, sort of

Premium wholemealThese Premium wholemeal crispbreads from Kraft contain more regular wheat flour than wholemeal wheat flour — just check the ingredients list. 


"Wholegrain" — this one's 100%

Wholegrain spaghettiWholegrain spaghetti that contains only wholemeal flour: 100%. No ifs or buts for San Remo — if only all manufacturers could be this clear.



Wholegrain pastaThe main difference between Latina Ricotta & Spinach Agnolotti and Latina Wholegrain Ricotta & Spinach Ravioli is the fine-print admission that the wholegrain version has 17% (wholemeal) rye flour. Durum semolina is the largest ingredient in both products.


“With wholegrain pasta”

Wholegrain soupThis soup contains 11% wholegrain pasta. The pasta also contains some regular flour — how much is anyone’s guess. While a bowl of this Country Ladle Hearty Vegetable Soup with wholegrain pasta will contribute some wholegrain to your diet, a bowl of Campbell’s regular Farmhouse Vegetable Soup in fact contains more fibre (4.2 g compared with 2.8 g per serve), simply because it contains more vegetables.


“Wholegrain 54% from wheat and rice”

Wholegrain cornflakesCongratulations to Kellogg’s for going with absolute clarity in the large print. The new Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Wholegrain clearly spells out it’s made from 54% wholegrains. No guessing or need for fine print here.




“Wholegrain cereals”

Wholegrain cerealsNestlé is more coy than Kellogg’s — its Milo cereal has “more wholegrain”, while Cheerios has the “wholesome taste of four wholegrains”. But to figure out how much wholegrain you’re getting in “Nestlé wholegrain cereals” you need to read the fine print. Cheerios has 59.4%, but Milo is only 32.5%.


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