A new review, published online before inclusion in a full issue of Nutrition Reviews, looks at published studies focusing on the relationship between refined grain intake and disease risk. The 135 studies for review were published between 2000 and 2010. The summarized study results found that a moderate consumption of refined grains, about half of total grain intake, was not associated with increased risk of negative health outcomes. However, at an increased intake, refined grains are linked to a increased risk of certain types of cancer.
It is important to note that the results do not extend to refined grains that are high in added fats, sugar, or sodium.
This finding is nothing particularly new. Dietitians and health advocates have been saying for years to make at least half of your grain intake from whole grains. This review is more “fuel for the fire”, confirming the fact that if you increase your intake of refined grains to more than half of your total grain intake, your risk for negative health outcomes increases. For more information about refined and whole grains, take a glance at the USDA’s Choose MyPlate website. They have easily understood information about the benefits of whole grains as well as tips for how to include more whole grains in your daily intake.
The food industry is changing, including more whole grains into products that were previously only refined grains. Things like whole grain cereals, brown rice, and whole wheat pasta are more abundant and easier to include in menus. Some customers and residents are also coming around to the idea, being open to trying new foods or ingredients in recipes that are whole grain.
How do you include whole grain into your recipes and menus? For example, in some recipes, such as casseroles or soups, brown rice can be easily substituted for white rice without a distinct change in flavor or texture. Do you sense that customers and staff are more open minded to the idea of whole grains vs the refined grains they may have grown up with?