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Americans Should Increase Whole Grain Consumption

Update Date: Feb 05, 2014 03:21 PM EST

In recent years, countries throughout the world have created numerous programs and initiatives to promote healthy eating. People who eat better foods, such as whole grains and vegetables, are less likely to develop health conditions that cost the healthcare systems millions per year. Despite these programs, getting people to change up their diets is difficult. According to a new study, researchers reported that Americans need to start consuming more whole grains.

"Most people do not consume whole grains in amounts that can be most beneficial, also many people, even health professionals, are confused about the relationship between whole grain and fiber," Marla Reicks told Reuters Health.

Based on previous studies, researchers have reported that people who eat more whole grains tend to eat more fiber as well. Higher fiber intake has been tied to reducing one's risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and other health conditions. For this study, Reicks worked with researchers affiliated with General Mills, which is a large food company. General Mills funded the research, which was conducted at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. The researchers examined the whole grain consumption rates for Americans aged two and up.

The researchers had data on 9,042 people who participated in a large national nutrition and health survey that was conducted in 2009 and 2010. The team calculated that 39 percent of children and teenagers did not consume any whole grains at all. For adults, that percentage increased to 42. The researchers reported that only three percent of children and eight percent of adults ate at least the recommended three servings of whole grains per day.

The team discovered that those who reported the highest levels of whole grains consumption also had higher levels of fiber intake. The researchers reported that children who consumed the recommended amount of whole grains were 59 times more likely to be categorized as top consumers of fiber. For adults, those who ate whole grains were 76 times more likely to be eating more fiber as well.

"The study reinforces the preponderance of scientific evidence and supports the recommendations set forth by many dietary guidelines advisory committees within the U.S. and throughout the globe," Roger Clemens from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, commented. Clemens was not a part of the study.

The findings were published in Nutrition Research.

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