Navigating the bread aisle can make you wish you had your own personal dietitian tucked into your back pocket.
Some loaves are so dark and grainy with oats scattered across their tops, you just know they're good for you. Others touted as "whole grain" are a non-descript beige, while still others claim to be wheat but look and taste like white bread.
They've got impressive sounding names such as health nut, oat nut, and double fiber. Others are multigrain, 7-grain, even 15-grain. Then there's white wheat, light wheat, and honey wheat.
How can you tell which breads are truly whole grain? And why should you care?
The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans say that at least half the grains we eat should be whole grains. Compared to their white counterparts, whole grain products have more fiber, antioxidants, disease-preventing phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals.
Consuming more of these nutrients translates to reduced cholesterol levels, improved blood sugar and insulin control, better gastrointestinal health, and even better weight control.
For starters, it's important to be aware that whole grains aren't limited to just whole "wheat." Other nutrient-dense whole grains that you might find include oats, buckwheat, barley, millet, spelt, and rye.
These grains may be listed as just the grain itself, such as "oats" or "oatmeal," or they may be identified with the words "whole" or "stone ground whole," such as "whole wheat" or "stone ground whole wheat."
These whole grains have three main components: the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran is the outer skin, containing antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber. The germ contains many B vitamins, some protein, minerals, and healthy fats. The endosperm has mostly starchy carbohydrates and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
When grains are refined, the bran and the germ are removed, and many of the key nutrients are lost. Some vitamins and minerals are added back, resulting in an enriched, refined grain.
This is where food makers get sneaky, trying to make refined grains appear healthier than they really are. You'll see ingredient names such as wheat flour, enriched wheat flour, unbleached untreated wheat flour, organic wheat flour, unbromated wheat flour, or cultured wheat flour. But as wholesome as some of these may sound, none is whole wheat flour. And the same applies across the board for all grains, not just wheat flour.
Front-of-package claims don't make it any easier to narrow down your options. One brand's Whole Grain White bread has the words "made with" in fine print, ahead of the words "whole grain white." A quick scan of the ingredient list reveals that the first ingredient is enriched wheat flour, and whole wheat flour is third down the list.
The term "multigrain" simply means "more than one grain." It doesn't necessarily mean more than one whole grain. And unless these are whole grains, it doesn't really matter how many grains are crammed into a loaf of bread. Check the side panel to see if the various grains listed are whole grains. If the first ingredient listed is an enriched grain, chances are greater that the product is not made of primarily whole grains.
Be aware that a high fiber content doesn't guarantee that a bread is whole grain. Many "light wheat" or "light white" breads consist of mostly enriched wheat flour, with fiber added back in, often in the form of soy fiber or inulin (also known as chicory root).
Whole grain breads may have small amounts of added sugars such as honey, molasses, cane juice, or raisin juice. If the nutrition facts label shows less than three grams of sugar per slice, don't sweat it -- the added sugar content is relatively insignificant.
Once you've established that the breads you like are truly whole grains, be sure that their calorie ranges can fit into your diet.
Breads can range from 40 to 160 calories per slice, with most 100-percent whole grain breads starting at 50 calories per slice. (My preference is Nature's Own 100-Percent Whole Wheat.) For the calorie-conscious, these lighter, fluffier breads are your better bets, particularly if you're going to be using two slices.
If grainy, seedy breads are your preference, you can use just one slice of a denser 100- to 120-calorie bread. (My favorite is Pepperidge Farm's Whole Grain 15 Grain.) And since these slices tend to be larger than the lower-calorie breads, even a sandwich made with just one slice may be satisfying enough for some.
If calories aren't a concern, there's no reason to limit your portions of whole grains, regardless of calorie content. But you may want to keep that a secret from your perpetually dieting, calorie-counting friends.
Take-home message: If a bread is labeled as 100-percent whole grain, then it is. But if it's just labeled as "whole grain," "wheat," or "multigrain," there's no guarantee. Turn the loaves over, read the ingredient lists, and experiment until you find a whole-grain bread whose taste you enjoy.
Noodles is basically a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are essential for a our body. But excess carbohydrates will be converted by our body into sugar which if not utilized will deposit as fat in our body. But if Noodles are eaten in proper portions it is not harmful. Secondly you should consider with what ingredients the noodles are made up of. These days you get high quality multigrain and or whole wheat noodles. Even the famous Maggi Noodles sells "Atta Noodles" which are made of wheat. If you consume too much maida or white flour noodles then it may not be a very healthy option. Thirdly you should always make your noodles healthy, by combing protein and essentials fats along with the carbohydrates. This can be done by adding protein rich eggs, chicken or meat and lots of vegetables like carrots, beans, peas,mushrooms etc according to your taste and likeness. For oil use good heart healthy oils like Olive Oil, Sesame oil instead of butter. All these put together will make a healthy, tasty and sumptuous meal.