“The American Bakers Association (ABA) greatly appreciates Dr. Glenn Gaesser’s balanced testimony on behalf of the Grain Chain Coalition,” said Lee Sanders, ABA Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Public Affairs. Dr. Gaesser, PhD, a Professor and Director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center at Arizona State University, testified on the recently released Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).
“The Committee’s coupling of enriched grains with refined grains, and the recommendation for reduced consumption of refined grains adversely impacts the notable health benefits of fortified enriched grains for women and infant health,” said ABA President & CEO Robb MacKie. “Dr. Gaesser rightly pointed out the flaws in the DGAC’s approach to grains.”
Dr. Gaesser highlighted the important health gains due to folic acid fortification of flour in his testimony. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated folic acid fortification of enriched grains in 1998, there has been a 36 percent decrease in the incidence of American infants born with neural tube defects including spinal bifida and anencephaly. A success that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called one of the top ten health achievements of the decade.
Dr. Gaesser also highlighted the important contribution of other vital, under-consumed nutrients that grain foods provide including B vitamins, fiber, and iron. Grains like bread, rolls, buns, pasta, and cereal contribute 44 percent of all fiber to the American diet.
“While ABA agrees the DGAC’s call for to make half your grains whole, it is important for HHS and USDA to clearly inform the public of the health benefits provided by both enriched and whole grain foods, which the DGAC has unfortunately misrepresented in its report,” added MacKie.
ABA is a leading member of the Grain Chain, a group of grain based food organizations including: American Bakers Association, American Institute of Baking, Grain Foods Foundation, Grains for Health Foundation, Independent Bakers Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Pasta Association, North American Millers’ Association, Retail Bakers of America, USA Rice Federation, and the Wheat Foods Council.