Why Refined Grains Are Bad For You And What You Can Have Instead

Wheat, especially in its refined form, is by far one of the most predominant ingredients of our diet. It is used to make bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, cereals, pies, and many other treats. And if you were to give up refined grains, you wouldn’t know what else to eat as almost all grain products have been refined in some way or the other. But steering clear of refined grain products can benefit your health to a great extent as refined grains have almost no nutritional value whatsoever.1

Why Refined Grains Are Harmful

There are numerous reasons why you should avoid refined grains products. They contain excessive starch and gluten and are devoid of any natural fiber. Plus when grains are processed, about 25 different chemicals are added to them, including bleaching chemicals, preservatives, and artificial coloring and flavorings.

In order to keep white bread soft and fluffy, additives like mono- and diglycerides are added to them. The effects of consuming these additives are not yet known, but it is sure that they are not beneficial to your body in any way. Some of the chemicals used as dough conditioners are almost similar to the anti-freeze mix that is used for automobile radiators. One such chemical is polyexy ethylene monostearate, and the workers who work in factories in which this chemical is made are known to develop skin rashes from the fumes. If the fumes affect people in such a way, just imagine what consuming the chemicals can do to your body.2


Since these products are also nutritionally imbalanced, they can also contribute to a number of degenerative diseases. For example, the phosphorus-calcium imbalance in refined grain products can result in the leaching of calcium from the bones, which result in tooth decay and brittle bones especially in the elderly.3

Besides flour, refined grain products also contain other ingredients like salt, sugar, skim milk, yeast, sulfate, chloride, bromate chemicals, enzyme activators, and many other food additives. When all of these ingredients are eaten together, it can cause a cascade of toxic reactions in your body. And scientists are yet to conduct a thorough research on such effects.


Gluten-Free, Whole-Grain Alternatives You Can Consume

Instead of having refined grains, you should try getting your daily carbohydrate intake from other natural, non-refined sources. Some gluten-free whole grains you can try are the following.


Oats: Oats is a type of cereal grain that is inherently gluten-free, but it may get contaminated with wheat during growing and processing. For this reason, you should ask your doctor to recommend a good brand of oats that is good for your health. Since oats are rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber and protein and are low in unsaturated fat and cholesterol, it makes a very good breakfast option.4

Buckwheat: Despite the name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is completely gluten-free. It is a plant which has grain-like seeds that are rich in complex carbohydrates. It has a high concentration of all the essential amino acids and other minerals like iron and zinc.5


Corn: Corn is a cereal grain that is a staple food of many cultures throughout the world. It is low in calories and sugar and high in protein and fiber. Most of the time you tend to have corn in its cereal form or as popcorn. A syrup made from corn, known as high-fructose corn syrup, is also added to many soft drinks. If you want to derive the health benefits of corn, you should try to have it in its most natural form as much as possible.6

Millet: Millet is a whole grain that is a primary ingredient of birdseed, but it can be eaten by humans on a regular basis too. It is high in fiber and completely gluten-free, and it makes a great breakfast porridge dish.7


Rice:  Everyone is familiar with rice as it is a staple food in many cultures throughout the world. Since it is gluten-free, it is a great option for those who are gluten sensitive or intolerant. You can try having brown rice instead of the polished white ones as it is much healthier because of its complex carbohydrate and fiber content.8

Quinoa: Quinoa is a grain crop that is harvested mainly for its edible seeds. After the harvest, the outer, bitter seed coats are removed so that you get versatile seeds that can be used in many types of dishes, just like rice. It is gluten-free and is high in protein, dietary fiber, and minerals.9