NORTH -- A series of six South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control community nutrition classes are being held at North Branch Library.

The remaining classes are scheduled for Nov. 16, Dec. 21 and Jan. 25. All classes are held on Thursdays at the North Branch Library, and the public is invited to attend.

The Oct. 26 class was conducted by SC-DHEC nutritionist Jessica Morrison and focused on the benefits of whole grains in the diet. Morrison said whole grains contain the entire grain kernel (bran, germ and endosperm) while refined grains contain only the endosperm. She noted that fiber is important for several reasons including prevention of bowel disorders, energy for daily activities, weight management, prevention of constipation and reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, inflammatory disease, high cholesterol and obesity.

Morrison said fiber should be consumed at the rate of six ounces per day and at least half of the fiber consumed should be from whole grains. Fiber consists of two subgroups, soluble and insoluble, she noted. Soluble fiber is fermented in the colon as gases and active byproducts while insoluble fiber is not metabolized by the body but absorbs water as it moves through the digestive tract, Morrison said. She gave examples of each type of fiber and offered information sheets and cooking tips for whole grains such as buckwheat, amaranth, barley, bulgur and quincoa.

At the close of the session, Morrison and library patrons Rosa Mack, Da’Janique Leysath and Joseph Veliz prepared whole wheat French toast with strawberries, vanilla yogurt and chocolate.

The next class will be held from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 16, at the North Branch Library.

For more information, call the library at 803-247-5880.