Want more tips and tricks for reaching your health goals? Join Lark!

Take our 2-minute survey to find out if you’re eligible to join Lark which includes a smart scale and the chance to earn a Fitbit®.
Start now
*Terms and conditions apply
Close icon
< Back to Resource Center
< Back to Member Blog

Welcome to Badges: Grain

February 22, 2020
Welcome to Badges: Grain - Lark Health

Are you at risk of prediabetes?

Lark can help lower your risk for Type 2 Diabetes through healthy habit formation, and data tracking.
Height: 5 ft 4 in
4' 0"
7' 0"
Weight: 160 lbs
90 lbs
500 lbs
Risk Level
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

What is good about grains?

Whole Grains

The main nutrient in grains is starch, which is a type of carbohydrate and a source of calories. Grains and grain products are an easy source of energy or fuel for your body, as your body can digest and use many of them fairly quickly.

Whole grains are linked to a variety of health benefits [1]. People who eat more whole grains are more likely to maintain a healthy body weight and less likely to have mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancer, or inflammatory conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis. Type 2 diabetes and diverticulosis are also less likely among people who regularly eat whole grains.

Grains are also sources of essential nutrients. Whole grains can be natural sources of some B vitamins, iron, copper, and potassium, as well as dietary fiber. These nutrients are mostly in the parts of the grain kernel called the bran and the germ. 

Refined grains have been stripped of the nutrient-rich bran and germ, leaving only the starchy endosperm, but they contain essential nutrients. By law, grains such as rice and flour, which is used to make products such as bread, are fortified with vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin), folic acid, and iron. 

Why do "grains" not count as a Lark superfood?

Sugar-Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

The Lark app gives out green badges for whole grains, but not for refined grains. That is because while both are high in carbs and calories, whole grains are linked to many health benefits, while refined grain consumption does not appear to be as beneficial. When you earn badges, you will see them appear in your lark chat.

Those same starches that serve as an easy source of energy also serve as an easy source of extra calories if you eat too much. Any time you eat more calories than you need, the extra gets stored as body fat. Whether it is a plate of pasta, bag of pretzels, or box of cereal, having too much leads to weight gain.

Another drawback of refined grains is their glycemic index, or effect on your blood sugar. Refined grains tend to lead to fast and high spikes in blood sugar, which is extra problematic in prediabetes and diabetes. In addition, sharp spikes can lead to sharp drops, which can leave you feeling tired and hungry, or even be dangerous if you have diabetes.

Grains and grain products

Is Oatmeal Gluten-Free?

Grains are everywhere. They are in the form of grains, flour and products containing flour, and processed products. These are some sources of grains.

  • Oats*,** and oatmeal*,**
  • White and whole-wheat* flour
  • White and whole-wheat* sliced bread, pita, bagels, English muffins, tortillas
  • Refined and whole-grain* breakfast cereal
  • White and brown* rice and products such as rice cakes and puffed rice
  • Buckwheat*,** noodles
  • White and whole-wheat* and buckwheat*,** pasta
  • Teff,*,** barley,* amaranth,*,** bulgur,*,** quinoa,*,** farro*
  • Crackers, pretzels, popcorn*,**

*whole grain

** gluten-free grain

Tips for getting the most from your grains

Whole-grain pasta
  • Serving sizes are key. A serving is about 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of cooked grain or pasta, or 1 ounce of pretzels or crackers.
  • Eating non-starchy vegetables, a source of lean protein, and/or some healthy fat with your grain can keep the glycemic index down.
  • Along with fruit, beans, and starchy vegetables, grains count towards a standard goal of 1 to 3 servings of carbs per meal.
  • Most grains have refined versions and whole-grain versions, which are usually a better choice.
  • "Gluten-free" just means that the product does not have gluten, and it does not say anything about whether it is "healthy," since it does not mean that the product is whole-grain or low in sugar or fat. 
  • Not all whole-grain products are as healthy as you might assume. Most flavored oatmeal packets and whole-grain cereals have sugar in them,
  • "Made with whole grain" is a different claim than "100% whole grain" and can mean there is only a tiny amount of whole grain in the product. The best way to tell is to look at the list of ingredients to see if a whole grain is listed first.
  • To increase iron absorption from fortified grains, eat them with a source of vitamin C, such as broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, or onion.

About Lark

Lark helps you eat better, move more, stress less, and improve your overall wellness. Lark’s digital coach is available 24/7 on your smartphone to give you personalized tips, recommendations, and motivation to lose weight and prevent chronic conditions like diabetes.

Read more

Get healthier with Lark & earn a Fitbit®

Lose weight, get more active, and eat better.
take 1-minute survey

Similar posts

Diabetes and Rice: Does Rice Contain Sugar? - Lark HealthDiabetes and Rice: Does Rice Contain Sugar? - Lark Health

Diabetes and Rice | Can I Eat Rice With Diabetes?

When you have diabetes, what you eat is a large part of maintaining blood sugar levels. Is rice safe for diabetes? It depends on what kind!

Learn more
5 Easy, Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Ideas - Lark Health5 Easy, Diabetes-Friendly Breakfast Ideas - Lark Health

5 Easy, Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Prediabetes

A healthy prediabetic breakfast can stabilize blood sugar and improve insulin action for hours, and it need not take hours to prepare.

Learn more
9 Healthy Fast Food Breakfast Options for Diabetes - Lark Health9 Healthy Fast Food Breakfast Options for Diabetes - Lark Health

9 Tips For A Healthy Fast Food Breakfast for Diabetes

Eating fast food can be hard to avoid. Here are some tips for a healthy fast food breakfast for diabetes to keep blood sugar stable.

Learn more