Watch what you wheat

Brandon Hahn May 30, 2013 Nutrition Articles

Turn on the tv, read an article, or talk to a friend. If the topic is food the focus is wheat. People are starting to switch to wheat everything. Manufacturers have seen this as a goldmine by adding wheat alternatives to whatever they can. Why is there such a craze? Is it really a better option?

A breakdown of wheat
A grain of wheat consists of the stem and the wheat kernel. The stem does not serve a purpose in processing. The processed portion of wheat is the kernel. (Note: wheat is actually a hybrid plant. Wheat was created by mainly crossbreeding triticum monococcum and spelt.)
The kernel consists of three main parts:
Endosperm – This makes up the majority of the kernel (roughly 83 percent). This is the source of white flour. It also contains the majority of carbs as well as an abundance of nutrients.
Bran – This makes up roughly 14 percent of the kernel. Bran is included in wheat flour as well as being sold simply as wheat bran. It mainly contains B-vitamins along with other trace minerals.
Germ – This makes up around 3 percent of the kernel. The germ is usually separated in the milling process due to fat content. It is still included in wheat flour, and it does have an abundance of B-vitamins.

The benefits of wheat
Wheat along with other grains serve a major purpose in our diet. Grains contain a healthy amount of fiber to promote healthy digestion. Grains also contain phytates which are thought to help prevent certain forms of cancer. Phytates tend to bind to toxins to aid in the prevention of other diseases, like Parkinson’s disease.

Wheat contains gluten which is wheats’ major protein source. Wheat can also help prevent metabolic syndrome (Note: The forms of wheat must be whole wheat low on the glycemic index and high in fiber). Wheat also contains many other nutrients, such as betaine. Betaine can help lessen chronic inflammation. Wheat also contains an abundance of B-vitamins, iron, and magnesium.

Wheat is known to help protect the heart. The grains contain a natural source of fiber which helps lower blood pressure. It can also help lower cholesterol. A whole grain bowl of cereal can lower heart failure by up to 30 percent.

The misunderstanding of wheat
Wheat does have plenty of benefits, but it is the type that matters. These days wheat comes in all different types. As any hybrid plant, researchers have found ways to alter the plant to cater to manufacturer’s needs. The major concern with wheat is the gluten content. This has been a known issue for those with Coeliac disease (i.e. gluten intolerance).

The instance of Coeliac disease has been on the rise over the past decade. This may be due to alterations in wheat and continued hybridization. Wheat is currently under the process of moving from a plant to a GMO (genetically modified organism) pending government approval. Manufacturers of wheat need it to conform to their needs. These changes are supposed to help make food taste better.

These changes should bring about more consumer awareness. The rise of gluten intolerance in people is not just a group of hypochondriacs (Note: gluten intolerance is a rising epidemic, especially since it often goes undiagnosed). The changes to wheat bring about other possibilities due to genetic modifications. Always be aware of the changes around you. People have a reason to only promote the benefits and not the side effects. Be sure to read articles and research the topics discussed within the article.

Do not be afraid because of this article, just be aware. Always look for wheat in its’ whole grain form. Other forms that include a bleaching and refining process strip nutrients. When products are enhanced it is more likely due to natural nutrients being stripped during processing. Wheat does tout its’ benefits, but be sure that it is unaltered, 100 percent, whole wheat.

About The Author

Brandon has been in the fitness industry for over seven years and has trained over 1,000 clients. He has competed in several bodybuilding competitions and continues to improve his physique with hardwork and dedication. With a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science, Brandon has the knowledge and skills to get you on the fast track to fitness.