Often when we speak to the benefits of whole grains, we are speaking to the benefit of the actual whole grain, not necessarily the products made from it. Most forms of refining and processing diminish the nutritional value of the grains. This is especially true when it comes to wheat products. In order to extend shelf-life, it is common to exclude or limit the germ portion of the grain. In Canada, to carry a label of whole wheat, only 30% of the germ must be present. In cases like this, even the most dedicated label readers cannot be sure of the nutritional value of the wheat products they choose.
So, what is the solution? Given that Health Canada indicated that it has no intention of revisiting the labelling issue, you will have to choose wisely. If you are looking for the benefits of whole grains, try them in their whole state. And don't be afraid to explore grains and cereals beyond wheat. Quinoa, spelt, amaranth, millet and whole grain rice are all options. Further, if you are looking for a processed product like bread, choose a sprouted grain product - you'll generally find these in the refrigerated or freezer section in your supermarket. They are delicious, nutritious and generally free of preservatives and artificial ingredients.