In order to help people make healthier choices, FDA has redefined whole-grain foods definition, so that people would know which foods are whole-grain foods and which are only claimed to be so.

To fall into the whole-grain category, a product must contain the three principal parts of the fruit of the grain: the starchy inner endosperm, the germ at the heart of the kernel, and the fiber-filled outer bran shell. Only such products represent a real sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.

White flour would not fall into the whole-grain foods category because it was over-processed and stripped of its health benefits. True representatives of the whole-grain foods are barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, millet, rice, rye, oats, sorghum, wheat and wild rice.

Many of the products have been ground, cracked, or flaked but still kept the three important components. However, there are products from which the bran and germ have been removed, which led to loss of fiber, vitamins, and minerals in these products.

Some of the foods that once belonged to the whole-grain category have been excluded by the new definition. These foods are: soybeans, sunflower seeds, arrowroot.

Health department recommends that three servings of whole grains daily cuts down the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.