Often I have read that whole grains are healthy.
So, what is a whole grain and what is a non-whole grain?

The Pasta I have says "Durum wheat" as the ingredient. What should I understand by that?

2 Answers 2


Graphics and quoted text from: Whole Grains Council

Grains, by definition, have 3 major parts: the germ, the endosperm, and the bran.


Whole grains are those that have all of the parts of the natural seed, or kernel (not including an exterior husk that is generally inedible).

To be called "Whole Grain" the product must still have all of the bran, endosperm and germ that it had when it was in the field, although it can milled, ground, cracked, natural, whatever...as long as it still has all of its parts.

If a food label states that the package contains whole grain, the "whole grain" part of the food inside the package is required to have the same proportions of bran, germ, and endosperm as the harvested kernel does before it is processed.

Refining normally removes the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm. Without the bran and germ, about 25% of a grain’s protein is lost, along with at least seventeen key nutrients. Processors add back some vitamins and minerals to enrich refined grains, so refined products still contribute valuable nutrients.

This graphic shows what's lost when wheat is refined, and what's added back when it's "enriched":


Durum is just a variety of wheat. Unless it specifically says "whole wheat" or "whole grain", you can assume that it is refined.

  • 5
    You just had to use diagrams didn't you? ಠ_ಠ Jan 26, 2015 at 15:27
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    @ElendilTheTall As soon as I saw that you had posted an answer, I knew you were going to say that :)
    – Jolenealaska
    Jan 26, 2015 at 15:30
  • 2
    You're supposed to be asleep! Jan 26, 2015 at 15:33
  • 1
    I think she won d00d.
    – GdD
    Jan 26, 2015 at 16:41
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    It must be right. It's from the future. Copyright 20004
    – Brad
    Jan 26, 2015 at 21:25

Whole grain refers to any grain where the whole grain is used - that is, the germ (the reproductive part of the seed), the endosperm (the 'flesh' of the grain) and the bran (the skin).

Non whole grain usually means the bran has been removed.

This is really a whole other question, but 'durum wheat' is merely the variety of wheat used to make the pasta.

  • This is really a whole other question, but 'durum wheat' is merely the variety of wheat used to make the pasta. But how would i know whether it is whole wheat or not? If it not whole wheat then what is it? Jan 26, 2015 at 14:57
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    @TheIndependentAquarius: It will say whole grain, if it's whole grain. At least here in the US, if it doesn't say whole grain, you can assume that it is not.
    – Jolenealaska
    Jan 26, 2015 at 15:05

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