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  • Writer's picture Bowie Matteson

The Difference Between Whole Grain and Processed Grain

If you've gotten a chance to see my new video on the nutritional nature of diabetes, you are now aware of the significance of fortified foods in American cuisine.

It's worth taking a second look at the composition of wheat in both it's natural form and its processed form.


Whole grains, including whole wheat, are grains that have all three parts of the grain intact: the bran, germ, and endosperm. The bran is the outer layer of the grain and contains fiber, antioxidants, and B vitamins. The germ is the inner layer of the grain and contains vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. The endosperm is the middle layer of the grain and contains carbohydrates and protein.

Whole grains are a good source of nutrients and have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer. They are also a good source of fiber, which helps to promote digestive health and can help to lower cholesterol levels.

On the other hand, processed grains, such as white flour, have had the bran and germ removed. This means that they are missing many of the nutrients found in whole grains, including fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

White flour is often used in place of whole wheat flour because it is cheaper to produce and has a longer shelf life. It is also finer and softer, which makes it easier to work with in baking and gives baked goods a lighter texture. However, the processing of grains to create white flour also removes much of the nutritional value.


So with a softer, finer white flour in circulation, food scientists noted the nutrient deficiencies that resulted from processed grains.

Their answer? Enriching the white grains with added vitamins and minerals.

Enriched minerals are minerals that have been added back to a processed food product after they were removed during processing. These minerals may include iron, zinc, and B vitamins, which are often removed during the refining process. Enriched minerals are added back to the product in order to increase its nutrient content and make it more nutritionally similar to the whole grain.

The body absorbs enriched minerals in a similar way to naturally occurring minerals. However, in line with the adage "as nature intended" , the body absorbs naturally occurring minerals more efficiently. This is because naturally occurring minerals are found in a more bioavailable form, which means that they are more easily absorbed and used by the body.

For example, iron found in whole grains is often in the form of ferritin, which is more bioavailable than the iron found in enriched grains. Ferritin is a protein that helps to store iron in the body and makes it more easily available for use. On the other hand, the iron found in enriched grains may be in the form of iron sulfate or iron oxide (reduced iron, ferrous sulfate etc), which are less bioavailable forms of iron.

It's also worth noting that whole grains contain other nutrients that may enhance the absorption of minerals. For example, the fiber found in whole grains can help to bind minerals and make them more available for absorption. Additionally, the B vitamins found in whole grains can help the body to use minerals more efficiently.

On paper, it may read the same. But the body keeps the score, and it is screaming foul. The "enriched" nature of our food supply has turned sour and is wreaking havoc in the age of inflammation.

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