About Pasta, Rice, Cereal, and Breads

Grains include bread, cereal, rice and pasta. Since these have been a staple of the human diet for millennia, one might think it would be easy to make healthy choices when selecting grain products. However, it can be confusing to make healthy grain choices because of deliberately misleading marketing information provided on the packaging.
Further confusion has arisen from all the new grain products now readily available at our local grocery stores. This “ancient grain” trend has indeed created an explosion of grain and pasta products. Fortunately, most ancient grains are whole grains, and many are very high in fiber and protein. In most cases, these are much healthier choices than the processed grains that are more familiar to us.
Here are some tips for healthy grain eating:
Focus on whole grains because they have more fiber and nutrients than do refined grains. For instance, use brown rice instead of white rice, whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta and whole-grain bread instead of white bread. Look for products labeled "100 percent whole grain" or "100 percent whole wheat." Whole grain should be the first ingredient listed. “Multigrain,” “stone ground,” and “100% wheat” don’t guarantee it is whole grain.
Buy High Fiber grains. High fiber foods are filling to control huger, and help with digestion.
Seek out low sugar and sodium, which are very common in cereal and bread products now. Choose those with less than 140 mg per serving of sodium, and the least amount of sugar per serving.
Be Gluten savvy. If you have celiac disease, gluten-free products are a must. Other people say that cutting out gluten makes them feel better. However, gluten-free products are not necessarily more nutritious or lower in calories or sugar than their gluten containing counterparts.
Expand your pasta palate. Beyond whole wheat are pastas made of quinoa or farro. Legume based pastas, like those made from garbanzos, deliver extra protein and fiber.
Grains are naturally low in fat. Keep them this way by avoiding butter, cream and cheese sauces.
Grains are a healthy and necessary part of the human diet. We must be vigilant, however, for grain products which have been altered to appeal to our palates at the expense of our health!

About the Author

Dr. Teitelbaum practices Osteopathic manipulation, prolotherapy, spinal decompression, acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. For over 25 years, he has provided conservative, natural treatment for sports injuries, back pain, neck pain, headaches, posture problems, overuse injuries, and joint pain. Commonly treated conditions include muscle, tendon and ligament damage of the neck, low back, tailbone, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle and foot.