Better health with more whole grain consumption
In addition to better weight control, whole grains provide powerful health benefits. Whole grains are loaded with nutrients, and studies consistently show that whole grain consumption is associated with reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
A 2013 meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Epidemiology showed that consumption of three one-ounce servings of whole grains per day reduced risk of type 2 diabetes by 32%. Interestingly, there was no additional benefit of consuming more servings of whole grains.
It is important to note that this meta-analysis found absolutely no relationship between refined grain intake and type 2 diabetes risk, even at intakes of up to seven servings per day!
Why is this important? Despite the fact that 71% of American consumers believe they consume enough whole grains, the truth is that Americans don’t consume nearly enough whole grains to enjoy their well-documented health benefits.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys indicate that children consume an average of only 0.52 one-ounce servings per day, and adults average only 0.71 one-ounce servings per day. These intakes are way below the recommended minimum intakes of three 1-ounce servings per day.
What counts as a serving?
- One slice of whole grain bread
- A very small 100% whole grain muffin
- One cup of whole grain ready-to-eat cereal or uncooked whole grain pasta
- ½ cup cooked whole grain pasta, cereal (such as oatmeal), or cooked brown rice
Achieving goals for whole grain intake would not require drastic changes in eating behavior, but some simple modifications in the ways Americans currently consume grain foods. For more information and ideas for enjoying whole grains, visit choosemyplate.gov.