WASHINGTON — Marking National Bread month in November, the American Bakers Association is placing particular emphasis on the health benefits of grain-based foods.
"As we kick off the holiday season, it’s not surprising that bread and grain foods are among people’s favorites for festive meals," said Robb MacKie, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. "The good news is that when you serve grain foods, you are also serving good nutrition."
Mr. MacKie backed up his view with a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in which subjects who ate a high percentage of carbohydrates in their diet tended to be slimmer than those who do not. Similarly, the study found that a low-carbohydrate diet was associated with being overweight or obese.
"This reflects what other research has found as well as the advice of nutrition experts, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans," Mr. MacKie said.
Lee Sanders, A.B.A. senior vice-president for government relations and public affairs, acknowledged that "there is a lot of confusion among consumers about enriched grains."
"The bottom line is that enriched grains are a healthy, convenient, affordable way to obtain essential nutrients that fuel our body’s needs and may prevent serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers," she said.
Ms. Sanders further noted that baking companies are "working hard to encourage demand for whole grain products." The industry is expanding the number and variety of "innovative, nutritional, affordable and good tasting products available to consumers on supermarket shelves," she said.
Ms. Sanders cited as a particular success the new bread varieties baked with a blend of whole wheat and enriched flour.