Researchers looked at grain food consumption and compared nutrient intakes and health metrics against those who don't regularly eat grains. Grain-based foods, both in whole and enriched forms, contribute vital nutrients— including fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin D and folic acid. These nutrients are shortfalls for many Americans and in this study were found to be lacking even further for those who avoid grains. Therefore, eliminating grain foods (whole or enriched) can have negative effects on diet quality.
"What's especially unique about this work is it fortifies the importance of variety as well as individualized meal plans," said study author Yanni Papanikolaou, MPH, vice president, Nutritional Strategies. "We didn't see benefits from just a single grain-based pattern, we saw positives from a variety of patterns of grain intake, confirming the important benefits of both whole and enriched grains."
Additionally, researchers found that adults who get most of their grains from pasta, cooked cereals and rice weigh nearly seven pounds less and on average have a one-inch smaller waist circumference than those who don't regularly eat grains.
Additional findings from the observational research included:
- People who consumed certain grains had greater intake of fiber, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D than people who consumed no main grain foods.
- Adults who consumed a grain pattern predominantly consisting of yeast breads and rolls had lower total sugar intake when compared to those adults who eat almost no grains.
- Adults who consumed a grain pattern largely made up of cereals, pasta/cooked cereals/rice and mixed grains had a better overall diet quality compared to adults who consumed no main grain foods.
- Adults who consumed a grain pattern largely consisting of cereals, pasta/cooked cereals/rice and mixed grains consumed less saturated fats and sugars than people who consumed no main grain foods.
- Grains provide vital nutrients for women of childbearing age, specifically iron and folate.
The study used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005–2010, which consisted of over 14,000 U.S. adults > (greater than or equal to) 19 years old.
For more information: GrainFoodsFoundation.org