Tuesday, March 13, 2012

And you thought you were so health-conscious.

Whole wheat kernels, replete with germ and bran, have proven health benefits over refined, white flour. (True, benefits questioned by the Wheat Belly author and cardiologist.) One meta-analysis found that "There is a consistent, inverse association between dietary whole grains and incident cardiovascular disease in epidemiological cohort studies." Another concluded, "The case-control evidence is supportive of the hypothesis that whole-grain intake protects against various cancers." This study of older women claims that "Substitution of whole for refined grain may reduce chronic disease risk." 

So you're all buying brown bread, secure in the knowledge that it's the healthiest choice, right? This might not be news to you, but it surprised me: in Canada, whole wheat bread may have up to 70% of the nutritious wheat germ missing. If you want the whole grain, you have to buy "whole grain whole wheat" bread. And Health Canada doesn't care about the confusion.

Here's the bigger question: Where does the consumer's responsibility to educate her/himself end and the regulatory body's responsibility to provide clarity in labelling begin?

(And, perhaps, who is that regulatory body responsible to, when they cannot agree - industry or consumers?)

This is where one could make an argument that it's best to "know your farmer." Here's mine:

I know how it was milled. Despite the "whole wheat" label, it's whole grain.

But what about the people who can't?

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