ABA, as part of the grains industry coalition known informally as the “Grain Chain,” strongly endorsed maintaining the 2010 Dietary Guidelines (DGs) grain recommendation that Americans consume six servings daily with half of all grains as whole grains. The strong statement of support for the current DGs was made in formal written comments submitted this week to Health & Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Click here to view comments.
The comments provided important background for the DGAC on the U.S. government’s decision in 1941 to mandate enrichment of grain foods with essential B vitamins and iron. As a result of this enrichment policy, the crippling diseases pellagra and beriberi were eliminated from the U.S. population.
The group also stressed the importance of folic acid fortification of enriched grains. Since mandated in 1998 by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the incidence of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the U.S. has decreased 36 percent. In light of this accomplishment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2011 named the fortification of folic acid to enriched grains as one of the top 10 health achievements in the first decade of the 21st century.
Turning to the subject of whole grains, the Grain Chain comments pointed out that since Americans still fall far short of the current recommendation to eat three daily servings, the recommendation’s goal is still valid and vital. Furthermore, the group stated, the science does not show any benefit to higher daily intake.
The comments also included information on the role of grains as important sources of several “nutrients of concern” as identified by the DGAC:
Vitamin D Yeast. In 2012, FDA increased the amount allowed in baked goods U.S.ing vitamin D yeast, which, when combined with calcium (also optional), will allow enriched bread to make a health claim for the reduction of osteoporosis.
- Fiber. Nutritionists have been trying to increase fiber intake among Americans and whole grain foods contain a wide range of fiber.
- Iron. Many fortified cereals deliver at least 25 percent of the recommended Daily Value (DV) and one slice of enriched bread delivers 6 percent.
- Sodium. The Grain Chain shared new research concluding that 2,645-4,945 mg of sodium per day, a range within which most Americans fall, results in more favorable health outcomes than the CDC’s current recommendation.
Click here to view research document outlining the crucial role of grains in the diet.
Should the DGAC need additional information or resources on topics related to grains, the Grain Chain provided a list of industry experts member organizations could provide.
Looking ahead to the 2020 DGAs, the group referenced ongoing grain industry efforts in the area of sustainability, and also pointed to an important new area of emerging science, the microbiome.
The 2015 DGAC will be holding public meetings in July and September 2014, with its final report anticipated before the end of the year. HHS and U.S.DA will use the report as the basis for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, to be published in fall 2015.