Food therapist explains: How to read food labels and eat right


As many of us strive towards eating healthy and nutritious, we often are confused about what constitutes whole grains, and whether what we are consuming is actually healthy or not. While buying groceries, we often tend to overlook labels. That’s where we are going wrong, mentioned food therapist Dr Ria Banerjee Ankola.

Taking to Instagram, Dr Ria mentioned, “When they (food labels) say wheat, it mostly means maida, when they say whole wheat, it means the whole grain.”

She also shared a chart on how we can best read food labels.

Whole grains

When it says

100 per cent whole grain
whole grain
whole wheat
whole (other grain)
stoneground whole (grain)
Graham flour
whole grain white bread

It means

The bread does not have any refined white flour. It could be made from several different grains. It is made by grinding the wheat grain, including the bran and germ.

Whole grain white bread: Bread made from white wheat, which is a different variety from the red wheat that is used in most whole wheat bread. However, if the bread does not say that it is 100 per cent whole grain white, it can be made partially with refined flours.

Some whole grain

When it says

12-bran, seven wheat, nine-grain
wheat flour
durum wheat
organic flour
stoned wheat

It means

These mostly contain refined flours. The number of grain varieties does not really matter (wheat, oat, rye, etc).

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No whole grains

When it says

Enriched wheat flour
Unbleached wheat flour
Wheat flour
Degerminated (or cornflour)

It means

All these are terms for refined flour made by grinding grains that do not contain the bran or germ. If it says “enriched” on the label, B vitamins, and may be vitamin D, iron and calcium are added.

So, what should you be having?

“It’s always a better choice to buy and eat food made with 100 per cent whole grain than some per cent of whole-grain and some with processed one. It does matter to your health,” added Dr Ria.

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