Whole foods and foods rich in fiber are not the same, remarks Laura González, Nestlé’s Head of Nutrition and Health, in the microphones of “El Bisturí”, in addition to revealing what is the recommended daily dose of this type of food product
Whole grains are those, such as wheat, rice or corn, that maintain the outer layer of the grain that includes the bran and the germ and that are rich in polyunsaturated oils, fiber, group D vitamins and minerals such as selenium or zinc. But those derived from bread and pasta are also called whole foods.
As a general rule, “the germ is usually removed from the flours because it is rich in saturated oils that rancid or oxidize quite easily, which increases the risk that the flour acquires strange flavors or spoils”, explains Laura González.
Some breads are made up of various types of flours, including rye, with a darker color, which gives them a whole grain appearance without being whole, since they do not contain any type of complete flour.
“The same can happen with seed breads that, although they are rich in fiber, it is not guaranteed that the flour that has been used is whole, although it can contain cereals, usually wheat,” adds the nutritionist.
Difference between foods rich in fiber and whole
“Food that is rich in fiber is made from refined flours, without the bran, or the germ, in addition to adding the bran of a cereal”, this expert clarifies.
However, “the use of the whole term is not regulated, so we can find breads that claim to have whole grains, or where their main component is not whole wheat flour but they are rich sources of fiber, thanks to the fact that adding their ingredients adds up to 3 100 grams, which represents 6% for the legal denomination rich in fiber ”, he clarifies.
How to distinguish it?
“The first thing is to check the list of ingredients that the first food is whole wheat flour or semolina, and not get carried away by the term rich in fiber,” says Laura González.
However, you should not give up foods rich in fiber as they are beneficial and necessary for health, but you must pay special attention to the nutritional profile of the food.
“It is necessary to find out, because some of the processed foods refer to the term rich in fiber or integral, but their contribution of saturated fats or sugars do not make their usual consumption recommended,” says the head of Nestlé.
An example of this are the whole wheat croissants or cookies, which despite being made with whole wheat flour contain a high degree of saturated fat. These foods should not count toward the high-fiber food recommendations.
What are the number of recommended servings?
It is advisable to take between four and six servings of foods rich in carbohydrates and that at least half of them are whole.
Whole grains have a higher concentration of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
In fact, the benefits of fiber derive from the combined effects of its fermentation in the large intestine and the substances generated in this process, in addition to other physical properties related to the absorption of water or retention of substances.
With two or three servings of whole wheat bread, for example at breakfast, lunch and dinner, half of the recommended servings of cereals per day are covered.
Some of the advantages of raising fiber consumption to the recommended levels is for example “the increase in the feeling of satiety and the reduction of the probability of contact with toxic or potentially toxic substances, which pass into the bloodstream, and the ability to regulate the intestinal flora ”give fiber a leading role in the prevention of obesity and chronic diseases.