Are “Multigrain” Foods More Healthful?

The label “multigrain” on products ranging from bread to chips makes them seem more healthful. But in fact it can be misleading. Learn how to avoid getting duped.


I buy multigrain cereals and multigrain breads because I think that they have more nutrients and more fiber.

I think multigrains are better for us because again there’s just a variety of grains in there. We’re not use getting our food from one source.

A growing array of foods, from crackers to cereal proudly proclaim themselves to be multigrain. We’re supposed to eat more whole grains, so you’d think these foods would be better for us. But it turns out that multigrain label often deserves to be taken with a grain of salt.

In their natural state, grains consist of three parts: bran, germ and endosperm.

When grains are refined to make white bread or regular pasta, for example, the bran and germ are stripped away and nutrients are lost.

But whole grain foods such as whole wheat bread and brown rice retain all parts of the grain, along with the nutrients.

Studies have linked whole grains to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer, so it’s important to include them in your diet.

The problem with multigrain foods is that they’re not necessarily whole grain. The name only indicates that the food is made from several grains, which may be refined.

Similarly, labels such as 9 grain or 12 grain or “made with” whole grain are no guarantee that a food is 100% whole grain.

The same goes if it’s brown or involves wheat somehow.

Also, don’t be fooled by the word “enriched.” This just means that some nutrients have been added back to flour that’s refined. Overall, it’s still less nutritious than whole grain.

To be sure a food is truly whole grain, check the ingredients. The first one listed should contain the word “whole.”

Another indicator on some whole grain products is the “100% whole grain” stamp from the whole grains council.

Remember that foods like cookies and chips that are whole grain are still junk, so don’t take the whole grain label as an excuse to overindulge. Whether a food is healthful depends on its overall nutritional makeup, not an individual ingredient such as whole grain. And that’s the whole truth.

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