Whole-grain vs Whole-meal: What’s the Difference?

The comparisons between whole-grain and whole-meal foods have been in existence from the very beginning. Although the general effects when eating the two are different, the foods that they are found in are mostly the same. Whole-grain and whole-meal foods are found in rice, bread and pasta. Both are significantly important parts of your diet as they provide you with carbohydrates which your body then uses to break down glucose to provide you with energy.

In this article, we shall explore the unique differences between whole-grain and whole-meal foods, so that we can have a better understanding of the two!

What is Whole-grain?

Whole-grain foods are made from the entire grain of wheat, hence the term whole-grain. Therefore, a wholegrain will use the entire seed of the plant or grain kernel whereas a whole-meal only uses a portion of the grain. Whole-grain products include barley, brown rice, and whole oats. There are many health benefits about whole-grain! They include:

  • High in fibre
  • High in protein
  • A form of Carbohydrate
  • Omega 3-fatty acids
  • B Vitamins
  • Minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and others

Whole-grains are not refined grains. Whitegrains products however are. Whitegrains use only the endosperm of the plant. This section of the plant contains less protein, fibre and vitamins and is therefore not the healthier choice. 

What is Whole-meal?

Whole-meal is given its name because their products have been ground to a form of flour. For example, whole-meal bread is made from whole-grains that have been milled to a fine texture. This flour is not necessarily bad as it contains all the same vitamins and minerals. The only difference however is that whole-grains in its raw form contains more fibre and has a lower GI.

What Should We Eat More of?

Generally, both whole-grains and whole-meal products are healthy. Between the two, you will find more significant benefits in consuming whole-grain products. The main issue however, is not between either of the two, but instead, refined grains. Refined grains are found in food such as white rice and white bread. These products hold far less nutritional value in comparison to even whole-meal foods.

Therefore, if you’re looking to adopt a healthy and high nutritional value diet, try switching out refined grains to whole-grains/whole-meal foods!

Swap Out Refined Grains

In order to make this change, start small and get used to the taste and texture of whole-grain or whole-meal foods. Refined grains are generally more readily available, however we have to be cautious of how much and to what frequency we consume it as it can be unhealthy if not moderated.

One method of slowly making the change to whole-grain/whole-meal is to mix brown rice (whole-grain/whole-meal) with white rice (Refined grain) and as the days go by, you will get used to the flavour of brown rice. From there, slowly increase the portion of brown rice and reduce the portion of white rice until you are ready to eat a completely brown rice diet! 

Whole-grains and whole-meals are both generally healthy food! The difference between the two are their nutritional values and the parts of the plants that are used! If you’re looking to be in your best possible, opt for a whole-grain diet!