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US children and adults don’t eat enough whole grains and dietary fibre a day, a recent study shows.
Marla Reicks who led the study at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and her colleagues found that the recommended three or more servings of whole grains each day provided for the most daily fibre intake.
“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 fibre,” Reicks wrote.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services recommends that at least half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, i.e. a minimum of three one-ounce servings per day. Fibre recommendations vary by age: young kids need 19 to 25 grams of fibre a day, while older kids, teens and adults between 21 to 38 grams per day.
Reicks and her colleagues followed whole grain and dietary fibre intakes among Americans, using a large national nutrition and health survey covering data from 9,042 people.
They found that 39 percent of children and teens and 42 percent of adults consumed no whole grains at all, and only 3 percent of children and teens, and about 8 percent of adults ate at least the recommended three servings per day.
As for fibre, the researchers found that the highest fibre intakes were among those who ate the most whole grains, i.e. 24.5 grams per day for kids, and 28 grams per day for adults. Children who ate the recommended amount of whole grains were 59 times more likely to be in the top third of fibre consumers, whereas adults who met the whole grain recommendations were 76 times more likely to get the most fibre from food.
The most popular sources of whole grains are breakfast cereal, breads and rolls, oatmeal and popcorn, as well as in fruits, vegetables and beans.
Previous studies have tied whole grain intake to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease among adults, better gut health, and lower weights.