HEALTH What’s to gain from whole grains?

By the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council

Bread has always been an integral part of the Australian diet and a versatile vehicle for a range of nutrients, with many of us enjoying bread on a daily basis. But as the evidence continues to grow, it’s become clear that the quality of the bread we eat plays an important part in contributing towards our good health. Specifically, swapping refined choices for more whole grain options can be beneficial, as they’re packed full of nutrients essential for good health.

But just why are whole grains so important? Whole grains contain more than 26 nutrients and phytonutrients – bioactive substances which play a role in disease protection. Due to their high nutrient content, whole grain and high fibre foods have been found to offer the greatest protection against diet related diseases of all food groups – even more so than fruit and vegetables1. What’s more, for every 16 gram per day increase in whole grain intake, we see a risk reduction of 9% for cardiovascular disease, 5% for cancer and 7% for total mortality2,3.

So how much whole grain should we be eating? The Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) recommends that Australian adults enjoy 48 grams of whole grain every day, as part of a balanced diet. This means enjoying grain foods such as bread, breakfast cereals, rice and pasta, 3-4 times a day, choosing whole grain options at least half the time.

Despite the many benefits of whole grains, the 2017 GLNC Consumption Study revealed that most Australians are falling short on their whole grain consumption by half – eating just 26 grams a day4. But meeting the target is easier than you think and can be as simple as choosing porridge oats for breakfast, a whole grain sandwich at lunch and adding brown rice to a stir fry at dinner. To see just how easy it is, take a look at GLNCs handy whole grain guide here.

So make the swap to whole grains today and reap the benefits!

Find out more about whole grains on GLNCs website.

References:

  1. Fardet A, Boirie Y. Associations between food and beverage groups and major diet-related chronic diseases: an exhaustive review of pooled/meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Nutrition reviews. 2014:n/a-n/a.
  2. Zong G, Gao A, Hu FB, Sun Q. Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Circulation. 2016;133(24):2370-80.
  3. Ma X, Tang WG, Yang Y, Zhang QL, Zheng JL, Xiang YB. Association between whole grain intake and all-cause mortality: a meta-analysis of cohort studies. Oncotarget. 2016.
  4. Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. 2017. GLNC Consumption & Attitudes Study. Unpublished.
  5. Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council. 2017. Australian Bread Audit.