Check out this article from the Globe and Mail, thanks to Wency Leung for the interview.
Archive for the 'Grains' Category
I had a question about gluten, is it bad for you? I know wheat is a major source for gluten, so is 100% whole wheat bread non-digestible because of gluten? Should I be switching to sprouted grain bread which is advertised as gluten free? How much gluten is allowed in a typical diet?Monday, January 31st, 2011
Gluten is not bad for you, gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in wheat, rye, oats and barley. It causes trouble for people with Celiac disease who are unable to digest gluten and therefore must avoid these foods to manage their disease. For the average person, gluten free foods are not healthier. I see many products advertised as gluten free and this can be confusing for consumers. Even my friend’s boyfriend bought a gluten free cake mix once and he doesn’t have Celiac disease! If you can tolerate regular wheat, rye, oats and barley – eat them! Sprouted grain bread is not actually gluten free, it is made without flour but it still uses wheat. On Silver Hills breads for example, you will see it on the ingredient list as “Organic whole sprouted wheat”. Sprouted grain bread is an excellent source of fiber though and a true whole grain, it’s definitely worth a try – just not for the reasons you asked about. There is no recommended amount of gluten in the diet. Canada’s Food Guide recommends making half of your food choices whole grain, so choosing a 100% whole wheat bread (as long as it is made with whole grain whole wheat flour) or sprouted grain bread will both help you meet this guideline.
I’m starting to eat more quinoa but am confused as to what to eat with it to make a balanced meal. I have read that it is a complete protein, is related to spinach and seeds, but Canada’s Food Guide lists it as a grain. Do I need to add a protein to it? Thank you!Thursday, January 27th, 2011
Great news that you are eating more of a true whole grain: quinoa. You are right it does supply protein. In fact, plant sources of protein are no longer classified as complete or incomplete. As per Dietitians of Canada in 2003:
“Research indicates that an assortment of plant foods eaten over the course of a day can provide all essential amino acids …in healthy adults; thus complementary proteins do not need to be consumed at the same meal.”
I would still recommend having quinoa with a something from the Meat and Alternatives food group (from Canada’s Food Guide) and then add a vegetable or fruit. This is because although quinoa has protein it doesn’t have as much as the food in the Meat and Alternatives group. For example, ¾ of a cup of tofu has about 20 grams of protein while ¾ of a cup of quinoa has only 5 grams of protein.
I’ve recently discovered brown basmati rice. How does it differ from Brown Rice and White Basmati rice?Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
Canada’s Food Guide recommends we make half of our grain choices whole grain and choosing brown rice is a great way to do this. Brown rice has more fiber than wild or white rice.
Per 125ml or ½ cup, brown rice has 1.8g of fiber, wild rice has 1.5g and white rice has only 0.3g of fiber.
The Canadian Nutrient File Database (where you can look up the specific nutritional information for food items) does not list basmati or brown basmati rice. I would say brown rice and brown basmati are likely very similar with more fiber than their white counterparts. In addition, other key B vitamins remain intact with brown rice and are lost in white rice. Check out more information on benefits of brown rice here.
Wow, I just answered a question on paneer (Indian Cheese) and now basmati rice. I’m frequently on an Indian food kick, looks like some of you have joined me. Has anyone tried my curried butternut squash and bean soup recipe? I’d love your comments.
I don’t often promote products but I feel a strong need to tell you about President’s Choice(PC) Thins Bagels. Cinnamon raisin bagels are one of my favourites but often times regular bagels are too doughy and an appropriate portion is only half the bagel. Well, PC has come out with a great product. Check it out and try it for yourself. I know the rasin cinnamon flavour is not made with whole grain but they also have a 4 seed version with a little more fiber. And having the whole bagel is comparable to 2 slices of bread so the portion size is perfect! Last week I couldn’t wait to eat breakfast every morning, I have to do another Superstore run to stock up.
I was wondering how healthy granola bars are? Specifically Nutri-Grain bars and Nature Valley, are they actually nutritious?Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Firstly I will say that as per Canada’s Food Guide, “Another important step towards better health and healthy body weight is limiting foods high in calories, fat, sugar or salt such as cookies and granola bars…”
The problem with granola bars is they sound healthier than they are. Have a look at the ingredient list. One of my key recommendations is if there are ingredients you cannot pronounce it is a good idea to put the product back. Although Nutri-Grain bars are “made with whole grain oats” they only have about 1 gram of fiber per bar. That is not a lot considering we need 25-35grams of fiber a day. Also their “real fruit filling” is mostly sugar as well as the second ingredient in the crust.
With Nature’s Valley products, there are many of types of bars but most of them too are not a good source of fiber (only 1-2grams per bar) and are packed with a lot of sugar and ingredients you cannot pronounce.
I’d recommend making your own granola bars, try the Booster Bar recipe I posted a while back. Or if you are looking for a quick portable snack, I recommend trail mix. Make your own with your favorite, plain nuts and seeds. Try trail mix with a piece of fruit for a snack instead of a commercial granola bar.
Is Dempster’s Smart bread, or Wonder bread Invisibles healthy? How do they maintain the “white-ness” of a bread while having more vitamins and what not in comparison to other bread?Tuesday, June 8th, 2010
Good question! The label makes it sound like “Smart” bread has ALL the goodness of whole grain when it actually is only about half of nutrients such as magnesium, zinc and selenium that are found in Dempsters 100% whole grain wheat bread. The fiber in these products comes partly from oat fiber rather than bran which is in true whole grain products. I would rate these products as better than white bread, that’s how they are marketed to you BUT they are not better than a whole grain whole wheat bread. Canada’s Food Guide recommends making half of our grain choices whole grain. Make sure you look at the ingredient list when choosing breads, the first ingredient should be whole grain wheat flour or whole grain rye flour. In the case of Dempsters Smart Bread, the first ingredient is “enriched wheat flour”. See another question on whole grains here: http://blogs.sfu.ca/services/thedish/?p=453
Nutrition Question: Are bagels a healthy choice for breakfast? They are high in calories, sugar and carbs.Friday, May 1st, 2009
Bagels can absolutely be a part of a healthy breakfast. Choosing a whole grain bagel is important in order to get a boost of fiber. And what you eat it with is also important. Make sure there is a source of protein, maybe peanut butter or a boiled egg and have some fresh fruit or a glass of milk to round out the meal.
Bagels tend to get a bad reputation because of their size, keep in mind ½ of a small bagel counts as a serving from the Grains group from Canada’s Food Guide. That is not to say that you should only eat half, just make sure your servings from the grains group add up to your recommended amount at the end of the day. For adult females this is 6-7 servings per day and for adult males it is 8.
Look for bagels that provide at least 2 or more grams of fiber per bagel, and ones that are small to medium sized. Don’t be too concerned with the calorie or carbohydrate content – we need that energy especially when being active.
Nutrition Question: I have oatmeal with milk for my breakfast everyday so I have to heat the milk. I am just wondering if boiling the milk results in loss of calcium?Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Not at all, boiled or heated milk still has all it’s calcium. Oatmeal and milk, a fantastic start to the day! Try adding nuts (sliced almonds, chopped walnuts) and fruit (sliced banana, raisins, unsweetened applesauce) and you will have covered all 4 food groups from Canada’s Food Guide.
Nutrition Question: On a nutrition label, if it says 30g carbohydrates, and say 3 of those is sugars or even fibre does that mean the other 27 is starch i.e. complex carbs or the good stuff?Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Yes, only some labels will include the starch but the numbers should all add up.
And to add some background to your question….all carbohydrate is broken down into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs.
Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on how fast your body digests and absorbs the sugar. Simple carbohydrates can be from naturally occurring sugars (such as honey and molasses, as well as those found in vegetables, fruit and milk) or refined sugars such as syrups, jams, jelly, table sugar and those in soft drinks and candies. Complex carbohydrates or starches are found in rice, bread, pasta, legumes and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
I hope you are not spending too much time doing math with nutrition facts labels. Keep in mind some sugars are naturally occurring and not necessarily “bad”. You need a balance of simple and complex carbohydrate choices to meet your nutrient needs. Canada’s Food Guide is a great reference to ensure you are choosing quality carbohydrate.