top of page

The Myth of multigrain!


gluten, whole grains, multigrain, nutrition
The Multigrain Myth

"Multigrain" and "whole grain" are not interchangeable terms. Whole grain means that all parts of the grain kernel — the bran, germ and endosperm — are used. In contrast, multigrain means that a food contains more than one type of grain, although none of them may necessarily be whole grains. The same goes for other variations, such as the term "7 grain bread."

Whole-grain foods are a healthy choice because they contain nutrients, fiber and other healthy plant compounds found naturally in the grain. Look for products that list the first ingredient as "whole wheat," "whole oats" or a similar whole grain.

While "whole grains" may signify one of many types of healthy grains, "whole wheat" labels the specific grain used. Either term may identify a food that's a good source of fiber, several B vitamins and minerals.

Healthy adults should eat at least three 1-ounce (28-gram) equivalents of whole grains a day as part of a balanced diet.

While we're at it... Let's bust some myths!

Myth 1: Much of the wheat found in food products is genetically modified (GMO).

Fact: Not true. Despite what some popular, gluten-free diet books claim, there is no GMO wheat commercially available in the U.S.

Myth 2: Today's wheat crops have been bred to contain more gluten than in the past.

Fact: Wrong again. The level of gluten in today's wheat crops is similar to what it was in the 20th century. However, the average consumption of gluten-containing products has increased, as gluten is added as a thickener or stabilizing agent to a lot of processed foods, such as soy sauce, ketchup, spice mixes, processed meats and chicory coffee.

Myth 3: Eliminating gluten from your diet, including that found in whole wheat, is a great way to help you lose weight.

Fact: No. There is no evidence that getting rid of gluten will help you lose weight. In fact, research shows that people who consume whole grains, many of which contain gluten, either lose weight or gain less weight over time, compared to people who consume little or no whole grains. If you lose weight on a gluten-free diet, it's most likely because you're eating fewer calories as a result of the recommended dietary restrictions.

Myth 4: Gluten-free products are lower in calories.

Fact: If only! A lot of gluten-free products are actually higher in calories than gluten-containing products, because of the extra fat and sugar that sometimes is added to make up for the missing gluten, a protein that helps provide structure and body to baked products. Read labels!

Myth 5: Grain consumption triggers inflammation.

Fact: Actually, research shows that consuming whole grains can help reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation is associated with a higher risk of several diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Myth 6: All grains send blood sugar on a roller coaster ride of peaks and valleys, and have a negative effect on health.

Fact: It's actually the opposite. Eating whole grains helps maintain lower blood sugar levels, and people who eat the most whole grains, whether they contain gluten or not, are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Myth 7: Avoiding grains that contain gluten will lower your risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Fact: Your risk will be reduced only if you're avoiding highly processed refined grains, such as cakes, cookies and doughnuts made with refined white flour, whether or not they contain gluten. But don't confuse the idea of avoiding processed refined grains with avoiding all grains. Whole grains, whether they contain gluten or not, can benefit your health in a variety of ways.

Achy "Tum-tum"?

There is at least some truth to the idea that gluten can be harmful. As mentioned, people with celiac disease avoid sickness and maintain much better health if they follow a gluten-free diet. For them, a gluten-free diet is nothing short of essential.

There are people described as "gluten-sensitive." Their tests for celiac disease are negative (normal) and yet they get symptoms (including bloating, diarrhea or crampy abdominal pain) whenever they eat foods that contain gluten. One cause is wheat allergy, a disorder that can be diagnosed by skin testing. But for many, the diagnosis remains uncertain. Some have begun calling this "non-celiac gluten hypersensitivity," a poorly defined condition about which we have much to learn.

Avoiding gluten makes sense for people with celiac disease, wheat allergy or those who feel unwell when they consume gluten.



bottom of page