What makes something a multigrain product? The word multigrain sounds like it is describing something that has lots of healthy grains in it. Let’s examine what is really in multigrain products. More importantly, let’s see what is not in multigrain products.
Refined grains are what are in multigrain products. When grains are put through the refining process many of the nutritional benefits are stripped away. The final product after refining is mostly endosperm. During the process most of the germ and bran of the grains are removed. Unfortunately most of the nutrients are in that germ and bran.
You might be thinking that manufacturers can just add back in what the refining process strips away. Oddly, that does not work with grain products. The benefit from eating whole grains comes partly from the fact that they are all-in-one. When you separately consume the fiber and nutrients you do not get the same health benefits as you do when you get them in whole grains.
All Multigrains are not Created Equal
There are some multigrain products that are made from whole grains. However, seeing the word multigrain on the front of a package means that you need to flip it over and read the nutritional label to know whether it actually contains whole grains.
A product can say it is multigrain even if it was made from mostly refined white grain with a small amount of whole grains in it. Often multigrain products will say they used stone-ground wheat to make you think the product is a healthy source of whole grain. Stone-ground has nothing to do with whether or not there is whole grain in the product.
Read the Nutrition Labels
As you are reading the nutrition label keep in mind that ingredients are listed in order of content amount. So the closer to the front of the list an ingredient is, the more there is of it in the product.
Another tip is to look for the word “whole” in front of the grain that is listed. However, the easiest way to know if your multigrain product contains whole grains is to look for the Whole Grain Council Stamp.
Never assume that a product “looks” like it has whole grain in it. This is because manufacturers routinely add food coloring and/or molasses to make products look more like the products that have whole grain in them.
The Nutrients That Should Be There
Healthy grain products will give you a good source of fiber. Fiber is essential to having a healthy digestive system. Most multigrain products have had the bran (where the fiber is found) removed during the refining process.
The germ part of whole grain is where energy producing B vitamins and essential acids reside. Again, the refining process pulls those vitamins and fatty acids out of the healthy whole grain.
The endosperm is all that is left after the refining process. There are little to no vitamins and nutrients in that.