Sense and Nonsense of Whole Grains

Wholegrain products like quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and spelt are hot topics these days. One moment, they’re super healthy, the next, they fatten us. What is the real deal? I discuss it with Viviana Van Dyck.

06-02-2017 -  by Kevin Van der Straeten

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Wholegrain products like quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and spelt are hot topics these days. One moment, they’re super healthy, the next, they fatten us. What is the real deal? I discuss it with Viviana Van Dyck.


Hi Viviane.




Welcome back to our studio.


Thank you.


Today, we’re going to talk about wholegrains.




But why wholegrains?


Because they’re uttermost important. Why are they so important? They contain complex carbohydrates.


And that means?


That means slow sugars.




Yes, in human language. So when you chew on them very well, you taste their sweet taste. But it’s not a sweet taste as aggressive like sugar, for instance. It’s rather a very slow, mild sweet taste. And that sweetness of wholegrains enters into your bloodstream very slowly and very sustainable. So you experience a very level blood sugar level. So that means you won’t be tempted to eat chocolate or sweets.


So no high peaks.

Yes. And also, you enjoy a very stable level of energy. So you won’t be tired or you won’t be excessive No, it’s a very energy level. Yes? - Yes. A very balanced energy level. So I think that’s very important in our society today. - Yes. Another reason why we, why I love wholegrains so much is because they also contain lots of fiber. Fiber is the main food of the bacteria in our gut and also, fiber helps to make a very good bowel movement. So that the body gets cleansed very easily. And wholegrains also contain the vitamin B family.


And why is that important?


For your brain function.




Yes. So for instance, very practical, if you need to stay calm in a very stressful situation, wholegrains are your best friend. Or when you have to think clearly and very structured, again, wholegrains are your best friend. So I don’t see why we should leave them out of our diets.


But why is then that many people think you get fat by eating wholegrains?


Well, maybe not wholegrains. They think you get fat because of carbohydrates. And of course, if you eat grains in the form of bread, it can be that it makes you make more body. And on the other hand, when people eat a low carb or no carb diet, they experience weight loss. And why is that? Because first of all, they stop eating the bread and they stop eating the quick sugars. But second of all, you don’t give your body the fuel it needs. Now, you should try that with your car. You should try not giving your car the fuel it needs. What does it do?


I won’t get far, I think.


No, but your body does. So even when you don’t give your body the fuel it needs, what will it start to do? It will start to grab from everywhere, the deposits or the extras that you kept. And it will start to digest it and it will start to use that as your fuel. And what you see, your body is shrinking. Now, of course you can do that for a short period of time, just to, I don’t know, get rid of extra kilos. But if you keep on doing that for months and years and years, it’s not a very healthy diet. It’s not a very healthy thing to do. Now, if you eat wholegrains, it will not make you more fat. If you eat, of course, the wrong carbohydrates like the quick sugars, the chocolate pie, the candy, like all those sugared drinks; something bad will happen. But not if you eat the complex carbohydrates from the wholegrains. I promise you.


And when we’re talking about wholegrains, can you give some examples?


Sure. You have rice in all kinds of flavors and colors and shapes. There’s round, there’s long, there’s brown, there’s black, there’s jasmine, there’s basmati, there’s… And then you have millets. It’s small and it looks yellow and it’s very good for your spleen, for your blood sugar level. It’s very good to make something like mashed potatoes without the mash potatoes in it. You have barley, very good for the liver and the gall bladder. You have buckwheat, quinoa, but actually those two are more like seeds instead of wholegrains. You have oats, you have wheat. Not very digestible for a lot of people anymore. You have spelt, you have kamut, you have teff. You can go on forever.


And what do you do with it? You cook it?


Yes, you cook it.




You wash it first.




A lot of people don’t know that and then they say, oh, it doesn’t taste like anything. But you have to wash it first and then lots of dust gets out of it. And then you wash it, you cook it in water and then, you can eat it like that, plain. And as soon as I’ve got my rice cooked and I eat it, I feel the happiest person in the world. But of course, if you’re used to more sugary stuff and more fancy food, then you can also use those wholegrains as a base for your risotto, soup, salad, croquettes, for your something in the oven. You can use it in multiple ways. So it’s never a dull moment with wholegrains.


And it then comes in place where we normally eat potatoes or something like that?


For instance, yes. Potatoes have a whole different effect on the body than wholegrains have. Potatoes make you blow up, whereas wholegrains make you more centered.




And more compact.


Okay. I think that I know what I will cook this evening.


I think so too, Kevin.


Thank you Viviane for coming over.


It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.