The Whole (Grain) Story

A grain of wheat.

We hear so much about this “whole grain” this; “whole grain” that. So, today, out of an abundance of curiosity, I looked up what it means.

Every grain begins life as a whole grain. In the fields, in its habitat, it exists as a whole grain, which is, in essence, the entire seed of a plant. But the industry calls it a “kernel.”

This whole grain is made up of three key edible parts, wrapped by an inedible husk that protects it from pestilence, heat, and water.

The “bran” is the fibrous outer skin of the kernel, which makes up about 14 percent of its weight. The middle layer, the carbohydrate-rich “endosperm,” makes up the bulk—83 percent—of this little morsel. The innermost bit, the “germ”—contributing a mere 2 percent—is what sprouts into a new plant.

A whole grain contains all three parts of the kernel. When it’s refined in the flour mill, it’s stripped of the bran and the germ, leaving only the endosperm, which is then ground into a fine white powder called flour. When these two components are removed, much is lost. The whole grain is scrubbed off about 25 percent of its protein well as a sizable portion of 17 of its essential nutrients.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, a “whole grain” food product must have all three parts of a kernel. The Whole Grains Council has “stamps” to mark products on the content of their whole grains.

If a product bears the “100% stamp,” then all its grain ingredients are whole grain. If a product bears the “50%+ stamp,” then  half of its grain ingredients are whole grain. If a product bears the third stamp, then it has some whole grains.


Foreign, Science

A Void In The Heart Of The Great Pyramid

The oblong cavern, above the Grand Gallery (a long inclined passageway that leads to the King’s Chamber.)

There’s a hidden “void” inside the Great Pyramid of Giza, “a space 100 feet long, similar to the Statue of Liberty from her heel to her head.”

A team of researchers got a picture of what’s deep inside the stone structure, employing a technique from the field of particle physics. Standing in the Queen’s chamber, they sent a beam of muons—heavier siblings of electrons that can penetrate rocks.

As the muons pass through matter, they lose energy and decay. So, if they detected a small quantity of muons, it’d mean they were passing through matter. But if they detected a lot of muons, it’d suggest they were traveling through empty space or less dense material.

When they analyzed their data, they found an unexpected excess of muons. They don’t know if it’s a chamber, a tunnel, or an enormous gallery, but its steep incline makes it unlikely that it was room of some sort.

h/t: NYT