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Authors

  1. Jones, Julie Miller PhD, CNS, LN
  2. Coletta, Frances A. PhD, RD

Abstract

Recommendations for whole grains feature prominently in MyPyramid,1Healthy People 2010,2 and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (6th edition).3 In fact, Healthy People 2010 has the following recommendation: Increase the proportion of persons aged 2 years and older who consume at least 6 daily servings of grain products, with at least 3 being whole grains. The Dietary Guidelines materials4 recommend that Americans substitute servings of whole grain foods for processed grain foods because their unique nutrient package benefits overall health and lessens chronic degenerative disease risk. The substitution of whole grain for refined grains has multiple benefits, but there is one drawback-folate. Folate fortification of grain products is required by law only for refined flour products, not for whole grain products. Few whole grain products are voluntarily fortified with folic acid. Although whole grain products supply more naturally occurring folate, it is a small amount and is less bio available than folic acid.

 

New survey findings, reviewed in this article, suggest that Americans hear and are acting on the whole grain message. In particular, they are consuming more whole grain bread. While eating more whole grain bread and grain products is likely to confer health benefits, could it also have unintended health consequences, namely, a reversal of recent gains in folate status?