Whole-grain intakes among young people in the UK are significantly lower than recommended levels according to a study from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Human Nutrition Research. This study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, is the first report into the amount of whole grain consumed by young people (aged 4 – 18). This is particularly important given the increasing awareness that childhood diet determines long term health. Although there are no formal recommendations for whole-grain intake in the UK, the US government recommends three 16 gram servings per day. The average intake of whole-grain in this study was just seven grams per day, 27 per cent of the group consumed no whole-grain at all! People who eat more whole-grain foods have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Whole-grain foods usually contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals than their refined counterparts which may account for the observed health benefits. Choosing brown rice and whole-grain varieties of pasta, bread and breakfast cereals is a simple step to better health that can be achieved by all.
Thane CW, Jones AR, Stephen AM, Seal CJ, Jebb SA. 2005. Whole-grain intake of British young people aged 4-18 years. The British Journal of Nutrition. 94 (5) 825-831.