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Proc Nutr Soc. 2017 Aug;76(3):369-377. doi: 10.1017/S0029665116000793. Epub 2016 Oct 21.

Providing evidence to support the development of whole grain dietary recommendations in the United Kingdom.

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Human Nutrition Research Centre, Newcastle University,Newcastle upon Tyne,UK.
Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University,Newcastle upon Tyne,UK.


Observational evidence suggests that increased whole grain (WG) intake reduces the risks of many non-communicable diseases, such as CVD, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. More recently, studies have shown that WG intake lowers all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Much of the reported evidence on risk reduction is from US and Scandinavian populations, where there are tangible WG dietary recommendations. At present there is no quantity-specific WG dietary recommendation in the UK, instead we are advised to choose WG or higher fibre versions. Despite recognition of WG as an important component of a healthy diet, monitoring of WG intake in the UK has been poor, with the latest intake assessment from data collected in 2000-2001 for adults and in 1997 for children. To update this information we examined WG intake in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008-2011 after developing our database of WG food composition, a key resource in determining WG intake accurately. The results showed median WG intakes remain low in both adults and children and below that of countries with quantity-specific guidance. We also found a reduction in C-reactive protein concentrations and leucocyte counts with increased WG intake, although no association with other markers of cardio-metabolic health. The recent recommendations by the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to increase dietary fibre intake will require a greater emphasis on consuming more WG. Specific recommendations on WG intake in the UK are warranted as is the development of public health policy to promote consumption of these important foods.


WG whole grain W-G whole-grain; Dietary guidelines; UK population; Whole grains

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