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Are whole grains part of a healthy future?

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New global research on whole grains suggests that Australia is doing better than many countries for whole grain consumption, but it appears we still have a long way to go to meet the amount of whole grain needed for good health, according to the Grains and Legumes Council. 

Three serves of whole grain a day are recommended for a lower risk of chronic disease and better health outcomes, but in Australia, just one in three people meets this target. Whilst Australia is doing much better than the UK - where just 17% of people meet targets and the US where only 8% eat enough whole grain - we’re still not doing nearly as well as countries like Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Residents in these countries typically consume twice as much whole grain as the average Australian and are likely to experience fewer instances of chronic disease as a result.

Currently, the Australian New Zealand Food Standards Code doesn’t regulate the use of whole grain content claims on different foods. So products making whole grain claims can contain differing amounts of whole grain, some breads for example may vary from 6 grams of whole grain per serve right up to 60 grams per serve.

To ensure consumers are receiving consistent information on whole grain content, the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) launched the Code of Practice for Whole Grain Ingredient Content Claims (the Code) back in 2013. The Code sets guidance for the minimum amount of whole grain a food must contain in order to make a whole grain content claim on pack, such as ‘contains whole grain’, ‘high in whole grain’ or ‘very high in whole grain’. As such, when a product carries one of these claims, consumers can rest assured that they’re getting enough whole grain to make a positive impact on their health.

Rebecca Williams, Nutrition and Code Manager of the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council says “In a recent assessment of whole grain foods on shelf we found most breakfast cereals labelled as whole grain were in fact very high in whole grain. So people can be confident they are making a good choice.”

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