All grains begin their lives as whole grains, but with food processing some will lose that title. The important thing is learning how to tell the difference, as marketers will try to trick you into thinking their food is healthier by claiming to be a whole grain when it is really an imposter.
First, what defines a whole grain?
Grains are made up of 3 parts; the bran, the germ, and the endosperm.
Bran: contains antioxidants, B-vitamins, and fiber.
Germ: contains B-vitamins, protein, minerals, and healthy fats.
Endosperm: contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins, and small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Whole grains contain all three parts, meaning you get all of the above nutritional content when you consume whole grains.
Refined grains lose the bran and the germ during the refining process, removing the majority of the nutrients contained in the original whole grain.
It is for this reason that it is so important to distinguish between whole grains and refined grains.
See the chart on this page to be better equipped to spot the imposters and ensure that you are eating nutritious whole grains, as opposed to processed refined grains.