Enriched grains get mixed review in IFIC survey

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2016 Food and Health Survey lumped enriched grains in with refined grains, which marked a distinction from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

For the first time the annual IFIC survey asked people whether they were trying to consume or avoid enriched/refined grains. While 21% said they were trying to limit or avoid the grains, 20% said they were trying to consume the grains. College graduates were more likely to say they were trying to limit or avoid enriched/refined grains.

When asked whether their opinion of enriched/refined grains had changed in the past year, 11% said they thought the grains were more healthful and 19% said they thought the grains were less healthful.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans drew a distinction between refined grains and enriched grains in the following passage: “Most refined grains are enriched, a process that adds back iron and four B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid). Because of this process, the term ‘enriched grains’ is often used to describe these refined grains.” The Dietary Guidelines also said people who eat refined grains should choose enriched grains.

Whole grains and fiber again drew favorable responses in the IFIC survey as 60% said they were trying to consume fiber, up from 55% in 2015, and 59% said they were trying to consume whole grains, up from 56%. Whole grains, however, lost its top ranking to protein, which saw 64% of respondents say they were trying to consume in 2016, up from 54% in 2015.

People age 50-80, people with higher incomes, women and people in better health were more likely to say they were trying to consume fiber. People age 50-80, college graduates, people with higher incomes, women and people in better health were more likely to say they were trying to consume whole grains.

Greenwald & Associates conducted the IFIC survey of 1,003 Americans aged 18 to 80 from March 17-24.
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