- A panel of leading nutrition experts from the U.S. and Europe recommends developing a standard definition of a whole grain food. It would require at least 8 grams of whole grain per 30 gram serving, according to a newly published paper in the March issue of "Advances in Nutrition."
- While the definitions of whole grain is straight-forward, a consistent definition for what constitutes a whole grain food has not been developed and adopted for use by the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the European Commission.
- In 2010, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Technical Committee called for a definition of whole grain food that could be applied to dietary recommendations. They also asked for a plan for consistent product labeling and messaging that would eliminate consumer confusion about what exactly constitutes a whole grain food.
The panel, convened by Cereal Partners Worldwide and General Mills Bell Institute of Health & Nutrition, consisted of a multi-disciplinary roster of researchers, educators, policy makers, and food and nutrition scientists. One of the participants, Joanne Slavin, Ph.D., R.D., Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota observed, "A whole grain food definition would help researchers to quantify the amount and types of whole grains that are linked to health and provide consumers much-needed information to make choices to help them meet the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommendations for whole grain intake."
General Mills already touts many of its cereals as good sources of whole grain. If the whole grain food definition merits a special label to attract consumer attention in the manner of non-GMO and gluten-free labels, we'll likely see them appearing soon on boxes of Cheerios.