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I'm not very good with this nutrition stuff. Can anyone explain the whole whole grain thing to me? I work with a woman who won't eat plain pasta or white bread but if its whole wheat or whole grain she seems to have no problem with it. Whats the deal?

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I'm not a nutritionist (even though I like to play one on the Internet), but my understanding is two things. One, whole grains have less processing done to them, so less 'stuff' is added to them. Secondly, whole grains are a more complex carbohydrate, and therefore better fuel for the long run.
You might want to ask her why. See what answer she gives you.
And anyone else who knows anything about nutrition, please correct me if I'm wrong.
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That's a pretty good explanation. Generally as a rule, the less processing (closer to the natural state) done to anything the higher the nutrient content, hence the preference of raw, whole veggies to cooked or juiced veggies, although either are better alternatives to junk food.

Here is a slightly more scientific version: the complex carbs in whole grains replenish the glycogen used by working your muscles during exercise and are far superior to the simple sugars found in candy, sodas, white sugar and flour. Carbs, as you probably know, are readily broken down into glucose, which is the body's main energy source. Glucose can either be used immediately, (which is why we take gels and Gatorade during longer workouts) or be stored in the liver and the muscles as glycogen. During exercise, glycogen is converted back into glucose and can then be used as fuel, muscle glycogen in the muscle fibers, or the glycogen from the liver, which gets released into your bloodstream to maintain blood sugar levels. This is one reason it is suggested that you carbo load before a marathon, to fill up the glycogen stores so there is enough there to release when you need it, and often why people bonk during a long race--they run out and if they don't replenish along the way, by the time the gel or whatever does hit their system it is too late to be of use.

Cheryl, you should definitely read my "bible": Endurance Sports Nutrition, by Suzanne Girard Eberle. Good info both from a nutrient and physiology POV but in layman's terms. Great source of info!!!
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Thanks for the help! I'll look up that book, Genie!
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