DEAR DR. BLONZ: I choose high-fiber breads for sandwiches. I have learned from experience that just because the bread is brown and the label says it's wheat or multigrain, it isn't necessarily made from whole grains. I bought a product labeled "stone-ground wheat" bread, but found it was white bread with unbleached enriched wheat flour at the top of the ingredient list. There were other grains listed, along with "natural" coloring. Is this permitted? -- P.A., San Francisco
DEAR P.A.: Wheat bread is made with wheat flour, which can be white, whole-grain or a combination. A 100% whole-grain wheat bread will show "100% whole wheat" as the first item on the ingredients list, and there should be no other flours listed unless they are also described as "100% whole-grain."
The phrase "stone ground" is not indicative of the whole-grain character of the bread. While a bit misleading to have bread that's not whole-grain made to appear as though it is, such products are legal so long as they do not claim to be 100% whole-grain. Color can be confusing, as there are whole-wheat breads made from an albino whole-wheat grain; these will be lighter in color but provide the fiber and other assets of the whole grain. The lesson here is to always check the ingredients list and Nutrition Facts panel before you buy.
DEAR DR. BLONZ: Weight charts tend to ask for a body-frame size to determine ideal weight. I want to get some "before" measurements before starting an exercise program. What determines body-frame size? -- N.N., Nashville
DEAR N.N.: It's great to get a handle on your starting point before you begin an exercise program. Aside from a dispassionate evaluation in front of a mirror and a frank assessment of how your clothes fit, there are a couple of ways to calculate frame size.
Frame size can be calculated using the ratio of body height to the wrist's circumference measured in inches. The wrist measurement is at the crease -- the area between the wrist bone and the bottom of the hand. For women, a ratio of 11 or above represents a small frame, 10.1 to 10.9 is a medium frame, and 10 or lower is a large frame. For men, 10.4 or above represents a small frame, 9.6 to 10.3 is a medium frame, and 9.5 or lower is a large frame.
A less precise but more convenient method is to try to touch your thumb and index finger around the wrist crease. Assuming you have fingers of average length, if they do not touch, you have a large frame; if they meet, you have a medium frame, and if they overlap, you have a small frame.
When considering body size, body mass index (BMI) may be better -- this measure relies on height and weight. Check the National Institutes of Health page on BMI at b.link/naa5r4. All such measures are based on averages from large populations; they might not work for all body shapes, but they can serve as a baseline measure to track progress as you start your exercise program.
Send questions to: "On Nutrition," Ed Blonz, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO, 64106. Send email inquiries to email@example.com. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.