Breads & Other Whole Grains

The body's main source of energy is carbohydrates. One of the main sources in our diet of carbohydrates is whole grains such as bread, cereal, pastas, and crackers. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains and fruits. Simple carbohydrates are found in more refined or processed foods, like white bread, white rice, and fruit juice. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, help our bodies to feel full, and help maintain an appropriate blood sugar level. Simple carbohydrates are digested more quickly and do not provide the same effects as complex carbohydrates. An excess of simple carbohydrates in our diet has been linked with an increase risk of type II diabetes.

Whole-grain products and enriched products like bread, rice, pasta, and breakfast cereals contain iron, B vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Many breakfast cereals and pastas are also enriched with 100% of the folic acid your body needs every day. Folic acid has been shown to help prevent serious birth defects called neural tube defects. Eating breakfast cereals and other enriched grain products that contain folic acid is important before and during pregnancy. Pregnant women should eat 6 to 11 servings of whole grain or enriched breads and/or cereals every day.

One serving of bread or cereal = 1 slice bread, 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta, or 1 cup ready-to-eat (boxed) cereal.