There are a variety of different processes which are used to transform grains into foods. The process determines the texture, cook time, digestion time, and whether the grain remains whole or not.

Brown rice is the best rice! Or is it?

There seems to be a lot of confusion within the fitness industry as to which grains are the healthiest, and which grains to avoid (white rice?!). However, if you love the taste of faster-digesting grains, do not fear! A great idea would be to mix in protein (such as high protein Greek yogurt), a source of fibre (such as wheat germ), or fat (such as nuts or seeds) to slow digestion and boost satiety.

Whole grains offer many benefits, however, refined grains come with benefits too.

Whole GrainsRefined Grains
Rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (anti-inflammatory + immunity boosting)May be fortified with vitamins, fibre, and protein
May reduce risk for diabetes, cancer, and heart diseaseEasier to digest
Protects against inflammationCan be easier or quicker to prepare
SatisfyingAre more palatable for some people – and that is okay
Improve digestion and overall gut healthMay be an important part of food culture, i.e., pasta in Italy, baguettes in France, white rice in Japan

If you love refined bread, sourdough offers a good alternative to 100 percent whole wheat bread.

If you enjoy cereal in the morning, pick a cereal with 3-5 grams of fibre, 5 grams of protein and fewer than 10 grams of sugar per serving.

If blood sugar is a problem, go for whole grains rich in protein and fibre. Consume refined grains that are high in protein, fibre, and/or fat.

If you have gastrointestinal issues (such as IBS) choose mostly whole grains, however, use lower fibre refined grained to soothe flare ups.

If you dislike the texture of whole grain products, try products fortified with pea protein, lentils, soy and other fibre or protein rich ingredients.

If you are recovering from a stomach bug, using refined grains such as white rice or toast can help settle your stomach.

If you are trying to lose fat, consume whole grains most of the time, as they will help you feel full longer.

If you are trying to put on muscle, allow some room for refined grains, especially if you are struggling to eat enough to gain weight.

If most of what you eat is highly refined, make small improvements such as having popcorn instead of refined snack chips.

If most of what you eat is a whole food (80-90%), there’s probably room in your diet for refined grains if you enjoy them.

Yours in good health,
Coach Allan