The Goodness of “Whole Wheat”
~ May 2009 No.227 ~
Wheat is the main ingredient in a wide variety of foods including bread, pasta, noodles and breakfast cereals. Even though many grain products have “whole wheat” on the package, you may not be getting what you think. Milling processes and the improper use of the term “whole still cause much confusion.
A kernel of wheat contains three distinct parts – the outer bran layer which surrounds the endosperm and finally the germ. In many milling processes, only the endosperm is used to produce white flour. The bran is included in whole wheat flour, but often is removed to be added to animal and poultry feeds. The germ is often removed because of it contains fat; wheat germ is sold separately. To truly be “whole wheat”, the flour should contain endosperm, bran and germ in the same proportions that they are found in the raw grain. Because many whole wheat products on the market do not in fact contain wheat flour with the proper proportions of endosperm, germ and bran, the term “whole grain” has become more acceptable. The composition of whole grain flour and the raw grain are the same.
The endosperm, germ and bran in wheat are rich sources of a variety of nutrients. Wheat bran is a good source of dietary fibre in the form of cellulose. Fibre adds bulk to the diet, and contributes to gut health and regularity.
|Part of the kernel||% of whole grain||Nutrient*|
|Endosperm:||83||protein, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, thiamin|
|Bran:||14.5||niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamin, protein|
|Germ:||2.5||thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, protein, pantothenic acid, niacin|
|* in order of abundance|