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Friday, August 5, 2011

Are you getting enough whole grains?


     I actually like a commercial on TV. It is the General Mills commercial advertising that all General Mills cereals are whole grain. In my nutrition class, I teach that an easy way to get some whole grains into their diet and the diet of children is to eat a cereal for breakfast that is whole grain. If they have children, an easy way to choose a breakfast cereal is to look for the "G" because ALL General Mills cereals are whole grain.
     Many people in American aren't eating any whole grains and many others eat far less than the 3 recommended servings of whole grains. Kristin Harris, Ph.D., the senior nutritionist at General Mills, noted "60% of Americans feel like they are getting enough whole grains, but 95% are not." (Environmental Nutrition Newsletter, May 2011). A General Mills study found that only 5% of Americans are getting the recommended 3 daily servings of whole grains. Maybe because only 55% of Americans know how to identify whole grains.
So why whole grains? What is so important about them anyway? Whole grains are power houses of nutrition providing many trace minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and vitamins.
  • Eating whole grains lowers your risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease.
  • Eating whole grains lowers your risk of stroke.
  • Eating whole grains lowers your risk of obesity.
  • Eating whole grains lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Eating whole grains lowers your risk of colorectal cancer.
How do you know if a food is whole grain? Look for the word WHOLE in the ingredient list, e.g. whole wheat flour, whole corn.
If you aren't getting enough whole grains in your diet now, or you need to add more whole grains, at least start your day with a whole grain cereal. Easy to do by choosing a General Mills cereal or other whole grain cereal like oatmeal or shredded wheat.

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