April 29, 2007

White Whole Wheat?

So for about a billion health reasons we all know we should be ditching the refined white flour and eating lots of whole grains instead.

You try to choose your battles: Whole grain muffins? Sure. Whole grain croissants? No f*cking way. (Not that you should be eating croissants all that often, but when you do, you should damn well enjoy them).

If you've been to the grocery store lately, you may noticed that there are lots of new products proudly boasting: "Now, made with Whole Grain!"

So you think, Great! I can have my favorite bread/cereal/cracker/toasterwaffle/whatever without loading up on a bunch of nasty refined flour!

But usually it's a big fat lie. "Made with whole grain" just means they threw a little bit in there. Scummy product marketers are trying to trick you, hoping you won't check the actual ingredients. Often, "wheat flour" is the first ingredient, which sounds kind of grainy but is really just another way of saying "white flour."

So in a world of devious marketeers trying to get you to eat fake whole grains, it would be easy to mistake "white whole wheat" for one of these impostors. But it actually is a whole grain--it's just milled from white winter wheat berries instead of red spring wheat berries. White whole wheat is still really good for you like regular whole wheat. But it tastes a lot milder and lighter.

Of course, products can still use winter wheat and then throw in a bunch of other crap that's bad for you. So you still have to check the labels. But in itself, "winter wheat" or "white whole wheat" is not a bad thing.

On the rare occasions when Crabby bakes, she often uses it. In some recipes, it tastes almost the same as white; in others, it tastes a little "browner," but not as brown as whole wheat. You have to experiment. The King Arthur brand is good.

So what do the rest of you do about the whole grain thing? Don't give a sh*t? Vow to eat more and then don't bother? Or do you have some favorite tricks for getting more in your diet?


  1. Having been raised on Wonder Bread PB&J it was very hard to make the switch to whole grain. I usually make sandwiches that contain meats (ham,turkey) with those breads but I can't make the switch when it comes to my beloved Skippy and Smuckers. I was thrilled to see the whole white wheat at my grocery - I know it seems silly, but just the fact that it looks like white bread makes a lot of difference, and I liked the taste, too.

  2. For the past year or so I've gotten into eating oatmeal every morning with a little sugar. I've grown to love it and sometimes eat it for a snack.
    Here's a site listing the great benefits oatmeal has:
    oatmeal benefits

    This is their list:
    1. Insoluble fiber's cancer-fighting properties are due to the fact that it attacks certain bile acids, reducing their toxicity.

    2. Soluble fiber may reduce LDL cholesterol without lowering HDL cholesterol. LDL is bad; HDL is good.

    3. Soluble fiber slows down the digestion of starch. This may be beneficial to diabetics because, when you slow down the digestion of starch, you avoid the sharp rises in your blood sugar level that usually occur following a meal.

    4. It has been found that those who eat more oats are less likely to develop heart disease, a disease that is currently widespread in the United States.

    5. The phytochemicals in oat may also have cancer-fighting properties.

    6. Oats are a good source of many nutrients including vitamin E, zinc, selenium, copper, iron, manganese and magnesium. Oats are also a good source of protein.

  3. Just wanted to add that, because of this and the fact that I don't eat a lot of sandwiches, I don't worry too much about breads.

  4. Crabby! See you at Snark all the time. LOVE the name. My kids are on a gluten free diet. Call me Cranky McBaking Again! The diet is a huge help with their autism - eliminates gut pain, GI issues and tons of behaviors. I'll be back - what do we do with no Snark for a WEEK!?


  5. I saw your comments on That's Fit and wanted to see Cranky Fitness. Very cute site! Lots of great info. I can't eat wheat or oatmeal for that matter. But, I think that white whole wheat is a great bridge product to whole wheat. I think that it helps get people used to the idea of eating whole grains. Before I was diagnosed with celiac, I only ate whole wheat, and can't stand the white(chemically) stuff!

  6. I don't think this 'white whole wheat' has got to NZ yet. Unless it has and I haven't seen it thinking it's a regular white bread. I shall peruse the bread shelves more thoroughly next time I'm at the supermarket and come home laden with healthy bread choices.

    (And cream filled apple donuts!)

    (Little ones, Crabby, honestly!)

  7. I've never been a fan of white bread unless it's toasted. Too mushy for me.

    I have to say, though, I haven't read labels on breads at the store very closely. Thanks for the reminder that I really ought to do so!

  8. I don't eat a lot of grains, but when I do, they're usually of the less refined variety. I eat oatmeal made with rolled oats, not the instant kind. My favorite granola bars are made with rolled oats and brown rice.

    I almost never eat bread, but when I do, I have to buy it from the bakery. Regular packaged bread, even whole grain bread, has a chemical taste to me because I've been eating stuff without preservatives for so long. You can really taste the difference after awhile!

  9. yanno I eat what I eat...tired of them taking perfectly good crispy creme donuts and putting wheat in them...
    Thanks for commenting on my blog!
    I heart crabs (they are like little pets I don't have to feed on the dock)

  10. Besides the fact that I eat everything in sight when I visit my parents (like ice cream, apple pie, pizza, you name it), I only buy whole grain pasta and whole wheat bread. I also eat oatmeal for breakfast (okay confession - I've got three containers in my cupboard that have sat there for two months).

  11. Wow, I abandon my computer for a few hours on a sunday afternoon, and all these cool people show up! So excuse my brevity, because there's pizza in the oven, but it's such a pleasure to come home to post full of great comments.

    Dawno: I agree totally--PB&J: need white, or at least white-looking bread.

    Oatmeal lover--thanks so much for the visit! I know oatmeal is really good for you, and I can eat it in cookies, but I just can't get into hot cereal for breakfast. Wish I could 'cause you're right, it's really healthy. But fortunately I don't have any allergies (except to an honest day's work) so I can eat lots of other whole-grainy things.

    Kim--thanks so much for stopping by! You have a great blog, and I'd encourage others who want to know more about life with autistic kids to pay a visit. And no Miss Snark for a week is indeed a hardship, but yanno, it's good for us to get out a bit and "see other people." So many of her commenters (commentators?) are talented writers.

    And hi, Samantha! I'm pleased to see that all my Thatsfit trolling has led to a new visitor! (I think I just made some reference to Rush Limbaugh having his head up his ass, so don't know how long I'll last there). I'm looking forward to checking out your site too. Thanks so much for stopping by!

    Dawn, Thomma Lyn, and BunnyGirl: OK, between cream filled apple donuts, mushy white bread, and rolled oats, wanna guess which one of you made me want to skip dinner entirely and head straight form the nearest bakery?

    Orion: you too, damn it. I'm a sucker for a Krispy Kremes. (Do they actually make them with whole wheat? A bizarre, yet curiously intriguing notion...)

    And for those of you who caught Miss Snark raving about a book called Lottery? Go check out Orion's blog. This be she. I'll be back there before long, as soon as the comments section calms down a bit.

  12. Michael,
    Sorry, your post came in as I was commenting on the others.

    Don't worry: it's a well known fact that food consumed at a close relative's house only counts as .6457% as bad for you as if you ate it at your own home.

    Okay perhaps I made that up, but just go with me on that.

  13. If I could eat wheat I'd probably try this white wheat, but it all seems like marketing rather than health.
    White flour bread, which I admit I miss, is nutritionally useless.
    I eat Spelt at home and find it works well in baking though I have to add some fake gluten like guar gum to it.

    Ingredients lists must be read very carefully. I've lost track of how many multi-grain breads contain wheat, white flour, whole wheat, wheat bran, wheat germ, triticale (A wheat-rye hybrid. Do you remember the Tribbles episode on Star Trek? They gorged themselves on "quadro-triticale" which is going to be invented here in Canada in a few hundred years. This adds nothing to the discussion. I just like mentioning Star Trek.) and a minor percentage of a millet, rye, maybe oats, flax, but not an important amount of anything.
    I am annoyed and disgusted by what we pretend is food here. Billions starve while we strip off nutrients in the name of fluffy baking.
    Sigh. I could go on. Whole grain is good. I make my own granola.

  14. Leah,
    Any comment that can work wheat-rye hybrid and Tribbles into the same sentence has got to win some sort of prize. I'm just hoping some day a Trekkie curious about whole grains poses the right query on google--I'll be number one!

  15. Crabby and Leah, that day is here. A trekkie curious about whole grains (and unable to eat gluten) did a Google search for quadrotriticale gluten. I figured, naturally, that I couldn't eat quadrotriticale, even if I had some. Indeed, everyone agrees that it will contain gluten when it is invented.

    You were hit #10, as it happens. Hit #1 was the Connecticut Celiac Support Site, whose mascot is the tribble: http://www.connceliac.org/Mascot.html.


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