The food guide suggests that individuals between 19-50 years of age consume between 6 and 8 servings of grains products daily. Considering ½ a bagel is one serving, readers could presumably eat up to 4 bagels daily while staying within the limits of the Canadian Food Guide! The food guide also recommends to eat a variety of grains, and to choose whole grain products over refined white products, which is good advice. The food guide also encourages whole grain products over refined white products and suggests choosing grain products low in fat, sugar, and salt.
My Advice – Grain Products
Unfortunately, whole grain products such as bread and pasta actually have a higher glycemic index than refined products. The jury is out on whether whole grain products are indeed a more healthy option than refined grain products, which is why I like to advise against consuming processed grain products on a daily basis. I encourage patients to limit their entire carbohydrate consumption to no more than 25% of their daily intake. Non-refined grains such as bulgur, quinoa and brown rice are much better options than processed grain products like pasta and bread, as they are higher in essential nutrients and gentler on blood sugar and metabolism. So to reiterate, instead of counting grain servings daily, take a look at carbohydrate consumption which includes your starchy vegetables and grains, and stay away from processed grains as often as possible, regardless of whether they are made with whole grain or refined flours.
A Note on Gluten Free products
Although many people feel better on a gluten-free diet, it’s hard to know if gluten itself is the culprit. The fact that wheat products generally wreak havoc on blood sugar may explain some of the effects of going “gluten-free”. A smaller subset of the population that suffers from either celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, likely benefits more than most when switching to a gluten-free diet. Be wary of calorically dense, gluten free imitation products, as they are generally higher in calories and sugar and are in no way healthier options unless the person in question truly has celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. If you decide to go gluten-free, fill the gap with healthier grain alternative like brown rice, quinoa, or root vegetables.
Next in the series- Meat and Meat Alternatives
Have a great day,
Dr. Kaleigh Anstett