‘Grain chain’ aims to protect 6 servings at Guidelines meeting

by Jeff Gelski
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WASHINGTON — A 3-minute presentation will look to influence dietary guidelines for grain-based foods. A “grain chain,” which includes groups in the grain-based foods industry, has prepared the presentation for the Jan. 13-14 meeting of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said Lee Sanders, senior vice-president of government relations and public affairs for the Washington-based American Bakers Association.

“You can’t say as much as you want to say in 3 minutes,” she said. “There are so many positive things to say about grains.”

The “grain chain” presentation will seek to protect the recommendation of six servings of grain per day from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Ms. Sanders said.

She added the presentation also will need to let the committee know why baked foods are linked to sodium consumption.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 stated, “Some sodium-containing foods are high in sodium, but the problem of excess sodium intake also is due to frequent consumption of foods that contain lower amounts of sodium, such as yeast breads (which contribute 7% of the sodium in the U.S. diet).”

Nobody from the 2010 guidelines advisory committee is on the current advisory committee, Ms. Sanders said. Thus, the presentation will need to educate the committee that people consume a lot of sodium from baked foods because they eat a lot of baked foods, not because each single baked food item has a high percentage of sodium.

The grain chain involves the following groups: the A.B.A., the Grain Foods Foundation, the Wheat Foods Council, the National Pasta Association, the North American Millers’ Association, the USA Rice Federation, the Grains for Health Foundation, AIB International and the Independent Bakers Association.

Ms. Sanders said it is hoped Joanne Slavin will give the 3-minute presentation. A registered dietitian and a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Slavin was a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

The recommendations from the current committee will serve as a basis for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015. The advisory committee first met in June. Judging from that meeting, the committee may come up with a broader scope of recommendations than past committees, Ms. Sanders said. The committee may investigate the differences between biotech, organic and traditional food products, she said. Committee members may look at health care and how a proper diet may serve as a preventive way to avoid health problems. Specific diets, such as gluten-free diets, also may be investigated.

The grain chain plans to submit comments after the second meeting in January.

The second meeting, originally scheduled for October, was postponed because of the government shutdown. The postponed October meeting may bring about changes in the timeline for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Ms. Sanders said. The current schedule has the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture jointly publishing and releasing the guidelines in the fall of 2015.
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