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What Does "Whole Grain" Mean?


Updated November 25, 2008

Question: What Does "Whole Grain" Mean?
Answer: Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel (the bran, germ, and endosperm) and are very nutritious. Examples of gluten-free whole grains that are commonly available include whole cornmeal, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa.

Refined grains have been processed in a mill to remove the bran and germ. This processing gives the grain a finer texture and improves its shelf life, but it also removes fiber, iron, and vitamins. In other words, refined grains have less fiber and are less nutritious than whole grains. Most gluten-free flours are refined, as is white rice.


United States Department of Agriculture

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