Is Wheat Germ a Whole Grain?
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Is Wheat Germ a Whole Grain?

Does consuming wheat germ count toward your whole grain dietary needs? Check out our dietitian's advice for eating the wheat berry's nutritious germ.
Question: "Does wheat germ count as a whole grain?"

Answer: Surprise -- it doesn't.

"To be a whole grain, the food must also retain the plant's bran and endosperm, not just the germ," explains Milton Stokes, RD, chief dietitian at St. Barnabas Hospital and Nursing Home in New York City and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. But that doesn't mean you should stop eating it. The wheat berry's germ happens to be a concentrated source of vitamins and minerals, such as folic acid, vitamin E, and magnesium, says Lisa Young, RD, PhD, author of The Portion Teller (Doubleday Books, 2005). It also provides two grams of protein and one gram of fiber per tablespoon.

Eat Well: Sprinkle it on cereal or yogurt, or add it to baked goods and casseroles to lend a nutty flavor.

Originally published in Fitness magazine, April 2006.