Whole Grains and Health

Nutrition & Food Science

ISSN: 0034-6659

Article publication date: 23 May 2008



Marquart, L., Jacobs, D.R., McIntosh, G.H., Poutanen, K. and Reicks, M. (2008), "Whole Grains and Health", Nutrition & Food Science, Vol. 38 No. 3, pp. 296-296. https://doi.org/10.1108/nfs.2008.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Research on whole grains show that they have a number of benefits and people who consume them are usually at a lower risk of

  • cardiovascular disease;

  • type 2 diabetes; and

  • obesity.

In the USA three servings of whole grains per day are recommended. Foods that commonly contain whole grains include brown rice, breads, breakfast cereals, and pastas.

Oats and barley include beta glucan, which has an effect on moderating blood cholesterol levels and hence reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Beta glucan also has an effect on moderating carbohydrate digestion and hence blood sugar levels which assists in the control of diabetes.

People who consume diets rich in whole grains seem to have a lower incidence of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Whole grains provide extra B vitamins, vitamin E and fibre. Fibre is protective against bowel disorders and vitamin E acts as a protective antioxidant. Whole grains also contain a higher level of protective phytochemicals.

Despite these benefits, intakes in the UK remain low.

The UK food and grocery industry has developed an agreed definition and recommended level of inclusion for whole grains in foods.

IGD's Working Group on nutrition recommends that packaged goods claiming the presence of whole grain should contain at least 8 g of whole grain per serving.

IGD's Working Group defines whole grains as having to include the entire germ, endosperm and bran. Temporary separation of these parts during processing is acceptable, provided the proportions are the same or virtually the same as the original grain.

Recombined bran, germ and endosperm from different cereals, for example wheat plus oats, does not qualify as whole grain, and making this claim is misleading to consumers, the report says.

This book on whole grains and health can be extremely useful for anyone involved in this area especially those who are producing or making wholegrain products.

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