It's true: Whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and constipation. But don't believe every whole-grain claim you see. Unless you're buying the grain whole and unprocessed (think: brown rice or steel-cut oats), opt for bread, cereal, crackers, and other products that are made with 100 percent whole grain. Keep in mind that packages won't identify flours as refined. If the label does not say "100 percent," check the ingredient list for refined culprits like bleached or unbleached enriched wheat flour, semolina or durum flour, and rice flour. And don't be fooled by packages that brag about being "excellent" or "good" sources of whole grains (they often contain far more refined flour). Same goes for "multigrain," "whole-grain blend," and "made with whole grain." The bottom line? The first ingredient should be 100 percent whole grain (see list below).

Ingredients to look for:

  • 100 percent whole wheat
  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Bulgur wheat
  • Cracked wheat
  • Oatmeal
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Whole rye

Ingredients to avoid:

  • Bleached or unbleached enriched wheat flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Rice flour
  • Semolina or durum flour
  • Wheat flour
  • White rice