Upping consumers’ intake of whole grains is a key feature of the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, jointly published by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture.

The report recommends that Americans consume at least half of all their total grain intake as whole grains, to be achieved by replacing refined grain intake with whole grain.

Less than 5% of Americans consume the minimum recommended amount of whole grains, which for many is about 3oz equivalents (85g) – for example, 3oz of bread per day – according to the guidelines published this week. There are different whole grain recommendations based on age and sex – for more info click here.

On average, Americans eat less than one 1oz (28.3g) of whole grain per day.

The report claimed that “moderate evidence” showed that adults who eat more whole grains, particularly those higher in dietary fibre, have a lower body weight compared to adults who eat fewer whole grains.

It also recommended that the consumption of refined grain products that are also high in solid fat and/or added sugar, such as cakes, cookies and donuts, should be reduced. The report said that, on average, Americans consume 6.3oz-equivalents (178.6g) of refined grains per day. The report recommended reducing this to 3oz-equivalents (85g) per day.

“Major sources of refined grains in the diets of Americans are yeast breads (26% of total refined grain intake); pizza (11%); grain-based desserts (10%); and tortillas, burritos, and tacos (8%),” according to the report.

The Whole Grains Council has said that while the overall recommendation for whole grain consumption remains the same as in 2005, there is a bigger emphasis on switching to healthier eating in the new guidelines, by for example swapping refined grain for whole grain. 

>>The wholegrain truth