Current consumption of whole grain
A number of surveys show that the consumption of whole grain increases with the age of the consumer and that men consume more whole grain than women, maybe because of a greater overall food intake.
The income and level of education are positively associated with whole grain consumption in the USA and the UK. On the contrary, in Finland the highest intakes of rye bread were found in lower socio-economic groups.
In the USA and UK whole grain consumers were less likely to smoke, tended to be regular exercisers and consumed more fruits and vegetables. These results indicate an association of whole grain consumption with other positive lifestyle traits.
Whole grain consumption in the UK
Whole grain consumption in the USA
- People over the age of 65 years consume a weekly average of less than five servings.
- Adults in the age group of 16 to 64 years eat a weekly average of only 2.5 servings.
- Adults between 16 to 24 years have only one serving per week.
- Alarming is that approximately one-third of the British adults and 27% of the children fail to consume any whole grain foods at all.
- In other words 95% of the British adults and 94% of the children do not eat the recommended daily amount of 3 servings.
Whole grain consumption of the Scandinavians
- It is estimated that the average whole grain intake in the USA is less than one serving per day.
- Americans consume only an average of 14 to 15 g fibre per day instead of the recommended 25 to 30 grams.
Reasons why whole grain consumption may be low
- Scandinavians tend to eat more whole grain compared to the USA and UK.
- The consumption of whole grain foods in Norway was reported to be four times that reported for the USA.
- In Finland mainly rye bread is eaten.
Increasing variety and availability of acceptable whole grain foods will certainly lead to greater consumption levels.
- Sadly, few people are aware of the health benefits of whole grain foods.
- Consumers have difficulties in identifying whole grain foods.
- Consumers express limited knowledge about the preparation and cooking of whole grain foods.
- Whole grain breads are often described as dry and bitter. Whole grain foods in general are sometimes said to be bland and dry in taste.
- Unfortunately whole grain varieties of bread, pasta and rice tend to be more expensive. This deters low-income and vulnerable groups from buying whole grain products.
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