Everywhere you go today people are advertising and promoting a healthy lifestyle. “Made with Whole Wheat,” “Made with Soy” and “Real Grains” are just some of the catch phrases you can spot when walking down the aisles of your local supermarket.
Even before the USDA released the new grain-excessive food pyramid, grains were becoming a trendy food — so it’s no wonder food companies are using it as more of an exaggerated marketing strategy instead of a healthy diet solution (just like the whole vegetarian craze).While all these labels may make certain foods seem better for you, some are definitely more nutritious than others.
Here’s a breakdown:
Mama said, “Eat Your Wheaties!”
Whole wheat products provide high overall nutritional value, adding protein, iron, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your diet. Whole-wheat is basically wheat whose grains still have bran and germ.
In most cultures, wheat has been the main grain source even before technology proved that about 60 percent of our daily calories come from carbohydrates (like grains). Grains are easy crops to produce in mass amounts and are much easier to handle than livestock. When you consume whole grains, like wheat, you are giving yourself a high fiber diet, which makes a meal more rich and filling. Refined grains (i.e. rice and all-purpose flour) have their bran and germ removed from the grain. These grains have vitamins and minerals put back into them after milling, but are not as good for you as whole grains.
While whole wheat provides you with more fiber, oats are packed with more protein. Next to wheat, oats are very popular grains that are found in many breads and cereals. Oats have the best amino acid balance of all the cereal grains, which contribute to protein intake and metabolism.
The best way to add oats into your diet is to buy oat bran, which is high in soluble fiber. Oat bran is also very easy to incorporate into your diet. It can be used raw, mixed into milkshakes or added into different ingredients of yummy foods like granola bars, pancakes or even cookies. This way food becomes healthier without compromising the taste!
Not So Safe in Soy People are replacing meat with protein substitutions, like tofu, thinking that they’re doing their body good by removing the toxins and pesticides in meat. In reality, when you look elsewhere to replace the nutrients in meat, you may end up hurting your body rather than helping it. When soy first originated, it was solely meant for animals, not humans. Soy is loaded with natural chemicals such as phytoestrogen, melamine and MSG toxins that make it just as dangerous as chemically enhanced meat and chicken. Some of the major harms of soy as a primary food source include:
- Soy phytoestrogens, a naturally occurring compound found in plants that act as an estrogen in the body, that may upset endocrine function and have the ability to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Loaded with trypsin inhibitors: it inhibits the natural process of digesting protein.
- Loaded with goitrogen: a substance that impairs thyroid function. Low thyroid function is associated with difficulties in menopause.
- Natural phytic acid impairs your body’s ability to absorb minerals.
- Soy protein isolate and soy textured vegetable protein: usually produced in a mass fashion that uses acid washes in large aluminum tanks. As a result, these soy products have over 100 percent more aluminum than milk-based proteins. Large amounts of MSG toxins are added as well, which have been proven to kill brain cells.
- The soy in tofu is usually genetically modified and has one of the highest levels of contaminations by pesticides than any other food.
Not to fret; there are a few safe soys to choose from. These soys are known as fermented organic soys, such as miso, nato and tempeh. Fermented organic safe soy removes the phytic acid found naturally in soybeans, tofu, soymilk, textured soy protein and un-textured soy protein.
Alternatives to soy that are helpful to vegans, vegetarians and anyone just wanting more protein intake are whole foods such as brown rice, lentils, corn, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. They may be the most nutritional choice you can make to improve your diet.
Health conscious? Twitter Us!
By Erin Moore