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Aussies not hitting the grain

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Many Australians are consuming just half the grain-based fibre they need for good health

Swapping refined grains for whole grains can help reduce risk of chronic disease, say researchers who have conducted the first study of its kind into grain consumption.

Researchers presented the results of their study at the Dietitians Association of Australia’s National Conference.
University of Wollongong researchers compiled a database of nearly 2,000 foods containing cereal fibre and used this to track the amount Australians currently consume. Cereal fibre is the fibre that comes from plants such as wheat, barley, rice and oats.
Eden Barrett, lead researcher and Accredited Practising Dietitian commented on the findings. “Our research showed that adults are consuming an average of just 6.4g cereal fibre a day – the equivalent of only two serves of high fibre grain foods. This equates to just half of what many adults need to maintain good health.
“Additionally, those consuming the least fibre were getting the little they ate from processed grain foods, including white bread and crumbed or battered dishes – all low-fibre options which can contain as little as a third of the cereal fibre of healthier whole grain foods.”
Ms Barrett notes the importance of consuming quality grains, with whole grains offering more cereal fibre and additional nutritional benefits compared to refined grains. “Cereal fibre offers key benefits different to that of other types of fibre, including protection against heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.”
Despite recent consumer trends to minimise or eliminate carbohydrates, encouragingly, the research also found that few people actively avoid grains, with data showing that Australians are getting the majority of their fibre from breakfast cereals and breads.