November is National Bread Month a great time to remember the goodness of grain products. Bread is truly the staff of life, commented American Bakers Association (ABA) President and CEO Robb MacKie. As we kick off the holiday season, its not surprising that bread and grain foods are among peoples favorites for festive meals. The good news is that when you serve grain foods, you are also serving good nutrition.
MacKie pointed to recent research showing that people who eat a high percentage of carbohydrates tend to be slimmer than those who do not. The study, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, found that:
- Consuming a low-carbohydrate diet is associated with greater likelihood of being overweight or obese among healthy adults.
- Individuals who fell into the top quartile in terms of carbohydrate intake had lower BMIs than those whose diets were lower in carbohydrates.
- Carbohydrate intake is inversely associated with a risk of overweight and obesity.
This reflects what other research has found, as well as the advice of nutrition experts, including the US Department of Agricultures Dietary Guidelines for Americans, noted MacKie. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans eat six servings of grain foods daily at least three servings of whole grains (such as whole wheat, barley, oatmeal, brown rice or wild rice) and the remaining servings from enriched grains (such as white bread, pasta, crackers, pretzels, cereal).
There is a lot of confusion among consumers about enriched grains, observed ABA Senior Vice President Government Relations and Public Affairs Lee Sanders. The bottom line is that enriched grains are a healthy, convenient, affordable way to obtain essential nutrients that fuel our bodys needs and may prevent serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. She added that enriched grains are particularly important for women of childbearing age since they contribute twice as much folic acid as whole grains. Since 1998 when the Food and Drug Administration mandated that enriched grains be fortified with folic acid, there has been a 25-35 percent decrease in neural tube birth defects in the U.S. This is a wonderful success story, she stressed.
Bakers are also working hard to encourage demand for whole grain products by expanding the number and variety of innovative, nutritional, affordable and good tasting products available to American consumers on supermarket shelves. One such success story, said Sanders, is the whole-grain white bread introduced in 2005 in response to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommendation to increase consumption of whole grains.
When talking about the benefits of bread and grain foods, there is another component that shouldnt be overlooked, said MacKie, and that is taste. Grain foods not only are smart nutritional choices, they are also just plain delicious. During National Bread Month and throughout the holiday season, consumers can look forward to enjoying their favorite breads and baked goods as part of a balanced diet and healthy, active lifestyle.
For more information about nutrition and grain foods, including recipes, consumers are invited to visit the website of the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), at www.gowiththegrain.org. GFF is a joint venture of members of the milling, baking and allied industries, dedicated to advancing the public understands of the beneficial role grain-based foods play in the human diet.
The American Bakers Association (ABA) is the Washington D.C.-based voice of the
wholesale baking industry. Since 1897, ABA has represented the interests of bakers before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state legislatures & international regulatory authorities. ABA advocates on behalf of over 200 companies both baking companies and their suppliers. ABA members produce bread, rolls, crackers, bagels, sweet goods, tortillas and many other wholesome, nutritious, baked products for Americas families. The baking industry generates more than $70 billion in economic activity annually and employs close to half a million highly skilled people.
Source: The American Bakers Association