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What are whole grains? (The grain, the whole grain, and nothing but the grain)


Did you know that almost three quarters of Australians are not eating enough whole grains1? Not only that, but on average we’re eating less than half the recommended amount.


That’s a tad worrying when you consider that large scientific studies have shown eating whole grains as part of a healthy and varied diet can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases2 . Not only that, they also have a positive impact on your gut health! Whole grains contain grain fibre which acts as a food source, feeding the good guys in your belly, known as your gut bacteria, helping them thrive!


If you want to get a little more scientific, these little guys go by the name of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus – try saying that five times fast – who spend their days working hard to ensure your health is top notch from the inside, out.


So, what are whole grain foods?


Well, it’s literally is the whole grain, so nothing has been removed. They contain all three parts of the grain kernel. Processing normally removes parts of the kernel, known as the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, you are missing out on most of the fibre and also some of the other essential vitamins.



According to the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council, adults are recommended to eat 48 grams of whole grains every day. So if you’re not getting enough, try to replace at least half of your current grain consumption with whole grain varieties such as wholemeal pasta, wholemeal bread or whole grain breakfast flakes or granola.


If you’re unsure whether a food delivers the whole grain goods, just remember to check the percentage of whole grain listed in the ingredients list – the higher the percentage, the better whole grain content.


When you’re doing your next grocery shop, be sure to look out for words like ‘whole’, ‘wholemeal’, ‘mixed grain’, ‘cracked’, ‘flaked’ or ‘kibbled’ and you’re sure to find a cereal-sly healthy choice!


Want to get to know your gut a little better?


Take our Good Gut Quiz and get to know your gut a little better by answering 10 fun and simple questions.



  1. Galea et al. Public Health Nutr. 2017:1-7
  2. Aune et al. BMJ. 2016;353