There are two classes of grains;

  • Whole grains
  • Refined grains

What are Whole Grains?

Whole grains are grains that are still intact after harvesting and when they get to the consumer. This means that whole grains are still looking raw and fresh when it gets to the consumer.

Whole grains have 3 main components – the bran, endosperm and germ. If one or two of the components are missing, it becomes a refined grain or enriched grain.

To learn more about whole grains, click here;

What is a Refined Grain?

Refined grains are whole grains that have undergone the milling process. Refined grains have one or more parts of the whole grain (bran, germ and endosperm) removed.

Refining a grain gives a finer texture and improves their shelf life. Refining a grain also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins.

White flour and white rice are refined grains. Moreover, they both have had their bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm.

Refining a grain removes about a quarter of the protein in a grain. Furthermore, refining a grain removes half to two thirds or more of a score of nutrients. Hence, leaving the grain a mere shadow of its original self.

A refined grain is a type of refined carbohydrate

What is an Enriched Grain?

Most refined grains become enriched. Enrichment adds back fewer than a half dozen of the many missing nutrients. And does so in proportions different than they existed before.

This means that certain B vitamins and iron become restored after processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains.

The chart below compares whole wheat flour to refined wheat flour and enriched wheat flour. You can see the vast difference in essential nutrients (whole grain council.org).


Whole Grain Council

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