Grain foods both whole grain and refined make an important contribution to the nutrient intakes of Australians. However, their role in a healthy diet goes beyond merely the provision of nutrients. There is now strong and growing evidence that regular consumption of grain foods, specifically whole grain, play an important role in disease protection.
Epidemiological studies in the US, UK and Europe consistently report that consumption of wholegrain foods reduces overall disease risk and all-cause mortality. For example, the ARIC study in the US, which followed more than 15,000 individuals for 11 years, found those consuming the most whole grains (three serves a day) had a 23% reduction in mortality compared to those consuming an average of 0.1 serves a day.
According to the review of the scientific evidence that underpins the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines, eating 3 serves* of whole grain foods a day is linked to a 20-30% reduction in risk of total mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers – comparable to that observed for 5-6 serves of fruit and vegetables.
*One serve is equivalent to one slice of bread.
For more information on grains and health check these links: