Why ‘whole grain’ is not always healthy.
Current standards for classifying foods as ‘whole grain’ are inconsistent and, in some cases, misleading, according to a new study in Public Health Nutrition by Harvard School of Public Health researchers. One of the most widely used industry standards, the Whole Grain Stamp, actually identified grain products that were higher in both added refined sugars and calories than products without the Stamp. ‘Given the significant prevalence of refined grains, starches, and sugars in modern diets, identifying a unified criterion to identify higher quality carbohydrates is a key priority in public health,’ said first author Rebecca Mozaffarian. However, no single standard exists for defining any product as a ‘whole grain’.
For this study, Mozaffarian and colleagues assessed five different (US) industry and government guidelines for whole grain products:
- The Whole Grain Stamp, a packaging symbol for products containing at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving (created by the Whole Grain Council, a non-governmental organization supported by industry dues)
- Any whole grain as the first listed ingredient (recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate and the Food and Drug Administration's Consumer Health Information guide)
- Any whole grain as the first ingredient without added sugars in the first three ingredients (also recommended by USDA’s MyPlate)
- The word ‘whole’ before any grain anywhere in the ingredient list (recommended by USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010)
- The ‘10:1 ratio,’ a ratio of total carbohydrate to fiber of less than 10 to 1, which is approximately the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber in whole wheat flour (recommended by the American Heart Association’s 2020 Goals)
cookingmattersaustralia – Getting kids cooking and eating healthily.
In 2009 the Hunter Illawarra Kids Challenge Using Parent Support (HIKCUPS ) program, a parent-centred dietary modification and physical activity program for overweight and obese children and their families was merged with an after school cooking club already being run at a NSW Priority Action School in the Hunter/Central Coast region, Australia. This led to the creation of the Back to Basics Healthy Lifestyle Program – an evidence-based, family focused, healthy lifestyle program with an after-school cooking club for children that aims to:
- Increase children’s and their families dietary intake of fruit and vegetables
- Increase children’s and their families awareness and familiarity of healthy eating, with a particular focus on fruits and vegetables
- Increase children’s skills and confidence in selecting, preparing and cooking fruits and vegetables
- Increase environmental support for easier access to fruits and vegetables for children and their families
- Increase children’s self efficacy (belief in their abilities).