This is probably a real basic question with a very easy answer but I'm feeling a little slow in the brain today.
I'm drifting away from "processed" grains such as whole wheat pasta and bread (still good for you, not questioning that but not MWL) but this morning, it dawned on me that the sprouted breads (etc.) that I've been eating have been "processed" to a degree. Would these be considered the same as the whole wheat breads or completely acceptable in the view of intact whole grains?
This is a really good question as there is much misunderstanding.
By the strictest definition of the word, "anything" we do to a food, is a process. My concern is with any process that may have an effect on either nutrient density or calorie density.
When you sprout a grain, it is still, IMHO, an intact whole grain, weighing in around 500 calories per pound. It would have absorbed a similar amount of water as if it were cooked.
If you were to then eat it at this time, or mix it together with some other ingredients (a few vegetables, lemon juice etc) and make a sprouted grain salad, it would still be an intact whole grain and around the same nutrient and calorie density.
In my opinion, this would be the best way to consume it
However, when the sprouted grain is made into a bread, even home made sprouted bread, or Ezekiel bread, it has undergone more processing (ie, grinding, baking, etc). In addition, by the time the bread is done being made, it has lost most of it moisture content and become higher in calorie density. The nutrient density of the intact sprouted whole grain would be about the same as the intact whole grain or intact sprouted whole grain, but the calorie density would be much higher.
When a sprouted grain is ground up to make bread, because it is much more moist then the dry whole grain, it never gets ground into a "flour." That is why many of these breads advertise themselves as "flourless."
While many beleive there is some benefit to the sprouted grains, and the products made from them in regard to other whole wheat breads, the calorie density is the same, around 1200 calories per pound. So, in that regard, they are about equal.
Typical 1 oz slice of whole grain bread = 80 calories
Typical 1 oz slice of Ezeikiel sprouted bread = 80 calories
Calorie density is virtually identical.
So, what does this all mean?
IMHO, whole grain breads and sprouted whole grain breads are not intact whole grains (as the grains have been ground up) nor as beneficial to people with weight issues as consuming the whole wheat berry or sprouted wheat berry in its intact (unground) form.
Jeff Novick, MS, RD