More Americans Eating Whole Grains, Health Benefits Key

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are following the Dietary Guidelines' advice to "make at least half your grains whole,” with about nine of ten people eating whole grains for the health benefits, according to a new survey from Oldways' Whole Grains Council. 

A dietary pattern high in whole grains and other plant foods links to reduced risk of cancer, as well as other chronic diseases. Whole grains contain numerous compounds studied for their cancer-preventive properties; and research shows foods containing fiber reduce the risk of colon cancer.

The 2015 Whole Grains Consumer Insights Survey found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) have increased whole grain consumption "some" or "a lot" in the last 5 years. Almost one-third of respondents reported nearly always choosing whole grains. Another 32 percent choose whole grains about half the time. Yet although grains like quinoa and other ancient grains are rising in popularity, many of them remain unknown. Fewer than one in five people have heard of spelt, farro, amaranth or teff.

Full infographic on survey findings available on Whole Grains Council

Other highlights of the survey include:

  • Breakfast remains the biggest eating occasion for whole grains, followed by dinner and then lunch. On average, 37 percent of daily whole grains are consumed at breakfast, 27 percent at dinner, 22 percent at lunch and just 14 percent as snacks.
  • People eat nearly 30 percent more whole grain breakfast cereals (hot or cold) than refined.
  • Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) of those who consume whole grains do so for the health benefits.
  • Forty percent (40%) choose whole grains because they enjoy the taste.
  • Cost was named as the leading barrier to eating more whole grains (39%).

Top Five Favorite Whole Grain Foods

  1. Whole Wheat Bread (31%)
  2. Oatmeal (27%)
  3. Popcorn (15%)
  4. Whole Grain Cold Cereal (15%)
  5. Whole Grain Pasta (8%)

Source: Oldways’ Whole Grains Council (WGC). August 31, 2015. News release and infographic at the Whole Grains Council: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/newsroom/press-releases

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    Published on September 2, 2015

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