Whole grain consumption may be linked to fiber intake

February 5, 2014

A study published in Nutrition Research shows that most American children and adults are getting less than the recommended amounts of whole grains and dietary fiber. In addition, the study shows that those who consume the most whole grains had the highest intake of fiber.

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that at least half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, or three 1-oz servings per day. Fiber recommendations vary by age. Young kids need 19–25 g of fiber each day while older kids, teens, and adults need 21–38 g/day.

The researchers compared whole grain and dietary fiber intakes among 9,042 Americans, ages two and up, using the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009–10. They found that 39% of children and teens and 42% of adults consumed no whole grains at all. Only 3% of children and teens and about 8% of adults ate at least the recommended three servings per day.

In addition, the researchers found that the people who ate the most whole grains had the highest fiber intakes: 24.5 g/day for kids and 28 g/day for adults. Children who ate the recommended amount of whole grains were 59 times more likely to be in the top third of fiber consumers, compared to those who ate no whole grains. Adults who met the whole grain recommendations were 76 times more likely to get the most fiber. Major sources of whole grains for study participants included breakfast cereal, breads and rolls, oatmeal, and popcorn.