Everyone is always looking for ways to eat and be healthier. One option many food producers have been moving towards: whole grains.
Whole grain foods such as breads, crackers, cookies, and cereal bars eaten as part of a healthy diet, may help lower risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes. To claim your baked good as a whole grain product it must deliver the same proportion of bran, germ and endosperm as that of the original grain.1
Whole grains are defined by the FDA as comprising the intact, ground, cracked or flaked fruit of the grain. The FDA provides guidance to food manufacturers to assist in labeling their products as whole grain foods.
Products containing whole grains have the following health benefits:
Whole grains are high in nutrients and fiber
Incorporating whole grain foods into your diet provides fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein and antioxidants. One slice (26 grams) of multigrain bread contains the following:2
- Fiber: 8% DV (Daily Value)
- Manganese: 5% DV
- Phosphorous: 6% DV
- Selenium: 12% DV
- Magnesium: 28% DV
- Copper: 4% DV
- Zinc: 3% DV
- Iron: 4% DV
This food is low in Saturated Fat, and low in Cholesterol; it is also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Selenium, and a good source of Manganese.2
Whole grains lower your risk of heart disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Research has shown that replacing refined grains with whole grain may lower the risk of heart disease. In a study of 7,068 cases and 316,491 participants, the risk of heart disease decreased as whole grain consumption increased.3 In fact, a slightly steeper reduction in risk was observed when participants consumed up to three servings a day or more of whole grains. There was a clear dose-response relation, and there were further reductions in risk when consuming up to 210 g/day of whole grains.3
Subtypes of whole grains including whole grain bread, whole grain breakfast cereals, and added bran were inversely associated with coronary heart disease, but no association was observed for germ, refined grains, white bread, refined grain breakfast cereals, total rice, or total grains.3
Whole grains lower your risk of Type-2 Diabetes (T2D)
Type-2 diabetes is characterized by elevated glucose levels due to cellular resistance to insulin, and the progressive inability to compensate for the insulin resistance with insulin secretion.4 In the United States, 10% of the population has T2D. Weight management and increased exercise can positively lower the risk of type two diabetes. Diet is another important factor for those with T2D with emphasis on consuming whole grains, vegetables, fruits and coffee.
While genetics may play a role in T2D, diet and lifestyle are also factors. Schulze et al. reported a reduced risk of 0.78 (95% CI 0.62-0.97) for incident of T2D in association to whole grain bread intake of >80.2 grams per day.4 Several randomized trials observed improved glucose markers and insulin sensitivity with whole grain consumption.4
Whole grain intake can be modified relatively easily by replacing refined grains and could have a large effect on the burden of chronic disease if adopted in the general population.3 Sources of whole grains are wheat, rice, corn, oats, rye, barley, millet, buckwheat and bulgur. Transitioning your product line to incorporate whole grains could be a healthy alternative for consumers seeking a replacement for refined baked goods.
- Jonnalagadda, Satya S., Lisa Harnack, Rui Hai Liu, Nicola McKeown, Chris Seal, Simin Liu, and George C. Fahey. “Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together: Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains—Summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium 1 2 3.” The Journal of Nutrition 141.5 (2011): 1011S-1022S.
- “Bread, Multi-Grain (includes Whole-grain) Nutrition Facts & Calories.” Nutrition Data Know What You Eat. www.nutritiondata.self.com/facts/baked-products/4846/2. Accessed 05 Apr. 2017.
- Aune, Dagfinn, NaNa Keum, Edward Giovannucci, Lars T. Fadnes, Paolo Boffetta, Darren C. Greenwood, Serena Tonstad, Lars J. Vatten, Elio Riboli, and Teresa Norat. “Whole Grain Consumption and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, and All Cause and Cause Specific Mortality: Systematic Review and Dose-response Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies.” BMJ. British Medical Journal Publishing Group, 14 June 2016. www.bmj.com/content/353/bmj.i2716. Accessed 05 Apr. 2017.
- Xi, Pan, and Rui Hai Liu. “Whole food approach for type 2 diabetes prevention.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 60.8 (2016): 1819-1836.