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Are Sprouted Grains Really Better for You?

Products made with sprouted grains are a hot new trend. What can sprouted grains do for you that regular grains can't? Nutrition Diva takes a closer look.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
September 16, 2015
Episode #349

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Are Sprouted Grains More Digestible?

Some of the starches, proteins, and fats in grains get broken down into smaller constituents during the sprouting process—so there’s a little bit less work for your digestive system to do. In that sense, sprouted grains could be considered more digestible.

On the other hand, the main benefit of dietary fiber is precisely that it is indigestible. That means it passes through our system without contributing calories to our diet, helps to remove waste from the body, and also provides nourishment for the host of beneficial bacteria that reside in our guts.  

See also: Benefits of Fiber

And while sprouting wouldn’t make a gluten-containing grain gluten free, the enzymatic action does break down some of the gluten, which might make sprouted grains a bit less problematic for people bothered by gluten.

See also: The Latest on Gluten-Free Diets

Are Sprouted Grains Better for Your Blood Sugar?

One of the more interesting new developments in sprouted grain research is the discovery that sprouting a grain might lower its glycemic impact, meaning that it wouldn’t cause as steep or high rise in blood sugar. This seems a bit paradoxical because, as I just mentioned, sprouting breaks down starches and fiber, which you’d think would have the opposite effect.

But when researchers compared the effect of breads made from whole-grain flour, sprouted whole grain flour, regular white flour and sourdough made from white flour, they found that the sprouted grain had the lowest glycemic impact.

See also: What Are the Health Benefits of Sourdough?

This small study suggests that products made with sprouted grains might be better for blood sugar management than their whole grain counterparts. However, keep in mind eating more or larger portions of bread or pasta because it’s made with sprouted grains will very quickly cancel out this advantage.

See also: When Is White Bread Better Than Whole Wheat?

Should You Include Sprouted Grains in your Diet?

Absolutely! If you enjoy the taste or texture of sprouted grains and products made from them, they are a great way to enjoy whole grains. But, just like other grain-based foods, I suggest eating even sprouted grains in moderation.

See also: What Does Moderation Mean, Exactly?

If you have questions or comments about sprouted grains, post them below or on the Nutrition Diva Facebook page. To find out more about the 30 Day Easy Way Nutrition Upgrade, visit Nutritionovereasy.com

References

Hefni M, Witthöft CM. Enhancement of the folate content in Egyptian pita bread. Food Nutr Res. 2012;56.

Hung PV, Maeda T, et al. Effects of germination on nutritional composition of waxy wheat. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Feb;92(3):667-72. 

Koehler P, Hartmann G, et al. Changes of folates, dietary fiber, and proteins in wheat as affected by germination. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Jun 13;55(12):4678-83.

Mahgoub SE, Elhag SA Effect of milling, soaking, malting, heat-treatment and fermentation on phytate level of four Sudanese sorghum cultivars. Food Chemistry 1998 Jan; 61 (1–2): 77–80.

Mofidi A, Ferraro ZM, at el. The acute impact of ingestion of sourdough and whole-grain breads on blood glucose, insulin, and incretins in overweight and obese men. J Nutr Metab. 2012;2012:184710.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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