Grain Foods Fill Critical Nutrient Gap: Study
Although a study published this month in the journal Nutrients found that American adults’ consumption of grain is actually quite low, one of its authors, together with the Washington, D.C.-based Grain Foods Foundation, cautions that, since grains supply critical nutrients needed to maintain health, consumers shouldn’t cut all grains out of their diets in a misguided attempt to control carbohydrate intake.
According to the study’s findings:
- All grain foods contributed fewer 15 percent of all calories in the total diet, while delivering more than 20 percent of three nutrients consumers don’t get enough of– dietary fiber, folate and iron – and more than 10 percent of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A.
- Collectively, all grain foods are nutrient-rich and sources for several shortfall nutrients and nutrients of public-health concern, among them dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron.
- Breads, rolls, tortillas and ready-to-eat cereals are significant contributors of dietary fiber, thiamin, folate, iron, zinc and niacin to American adults’ diets.
“These data show that grain foods are the foods we love that love us back – finally, we can enjoy bread again,” said Yanni Papanikolaou, co-author of the study with Victor L. Fulgoni, and VP of Paris, Ontario-based scientific consulting firm Nutritional Strategies Inc. “The nutrient contribution of all whole and refined grain food products, including breads, rolls and tortillas, and ready-to-eat cereals, can play a key role in helping American adults meet recommendations for under-consumed nutrients and nutrients of public-health concern.”
Added Papanikolaou: “We all know that The Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming half of our grains as whole grains, but refined, enriched grains, including breads, rolls, [and] cooked and ready-to-eat cereals also can provide meaningful contributions to the diet of all Americans. So there is no need to eliminate these from your diet.”
The findings from the recent study of adults align with results found from data from the same authors published earlier this year in Nutrients for children and adolescents. That study found that for American kids ages 2-18, all grain products contributed only 14 percent of calories a day to their diet, but that grain foods were significant contributors of nutrient density to their diets in all of the age groups examined. According to the earlier study, breads, rolls, tortillas and ready-to-eat cereals provided such key nutrients as dietary fiber, thiamin, folate, iron, zinc and niacin to U.S. children and adolescents.