Guest Blog: Dr. Sharifi Weighs in on Grain Necessity

I know today is usually a featured food, but I like this piece by Dr. Sharifi on Grains instead! Don’t forget at the end to check some of our posts from last month from our own Week with Wheat:

Q: Isn’t a healthy human diet difficult or impossible to achieve without cereal grains because they are nutrient-rich foods and the best source of fiber?

A: The USDA’s My Pyramid/My Plate encourages us to replace refined grains– white bread, white flour, white rice, and degermed corn meal with whole grains because refined grains have been stripped of fiber, vitamins, and minerals; and we assume that whole grains are nutrient-rich foods packed with vitamin sand minerals. This just isn’t so! When whole grains are compared to other foods, such as fresh fruit, veggies, lean meats, and seafood (on a calorie-by-calorie basis) and examine the 13 nutrients most lacking in the U.S. diet, we can rank them from highest to lowest nutrient-dense food:

  • Vegetables       81
  • Seafoods          65
  • Lean Meats     50
  •  Fruits              48
  • Whole Grains  44
  • Whole Milk     44
  • Nuts/Seeds    38

Fresh veggies are by far the most nutrient-rich food, followed by seafood, lean meats and fruits.

   So, the inclusion of either refined or whole grains in our diets lowers its overall vitamin and mineral content whenever these foods displace fresh fruit, veggies, lean meat and seafood. How about fiber? Almost everyone including the USDA assumes that whole grains are good sources of fiber, so if you eliminate whole grains from your diet, how in the world will you ever get enough fiber? If you compare the total fiber (grams) in a 1,00 calorie serving of;

  • Refined cereals            6
  • Whole-grain cereal     24
  • Fresh Fruit                  41
  • Non-starchy Veggies 185

   Although whole grains have four times more fiber than refined grains do, they are lightweights when compared to either fresh fruits or veggies. Furthermore, the insoluble fiber found in every whole grain except oats, does not have a blood cholesterol-lowering effect as does the soluble fiber present in fresh fruits and vegetables.


Susan Sharifi, M.D/M.S. in Nutritional Science

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One Response to Guest Blog: Dr. Sharifi Weighs in on Grain Necessity

  1. Pingback: Oh My Diet! « I was just thinking…….

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