WASHINGTON — Grains are foundational to a healthy diet and cutting intake of whole or enriched grains poses a threat to nutritional health, said Angela Ginn-Meadow, a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and registered nurse at Sinai Hospital-Lifebridge Health Center in Baltimore.
Ms. Ginn-Meadow offered perspectives on the importance of grain in pre-recorded comments to be presented Sept. 12 and 13 on behalf of the Grain Foods Foundation at a public meeting of the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Open to the public via livestream, the meeting is the third of the DGAC.
Encouraging the committee to “get back to basics,” she said the benefits of “eating staple grains” ought to be highlighted. She noted that “asking “disadvantaged populations to reduce or replace refined grains may further jeopardize their nutrition security.
A member of the GFF scientific advisory committee since 2017, Ms. Ginn-Meadow’s comments to the DGAC committee, which were limited to two minutes, follow:
I’m Angela Ginn-Meadow - a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and registered nurse at Sinai Hospital-Lifebridge Health Center in inner-city Baltimore.
I can tell you from my first-hand experience with patients: health equity and access to healthy food are CRITICAL to diet-related disease prevention and management. Asking disadvantaged populations to reduce or replace refined grains may further jeopardize their nutrition security.
The following five points address the science and application of grain foods and what I have found to be helpful in my patients’ lived experiences:
- Grain foods are foundational household staples in building healthy eating patterns and achieving nutrient adequacy for all. In fact, almost 40% of US dietary fiber intake comes from refined grain foods.
- Reducing or eliminating intake of whole, refined, or enriched grain foods could exacerbate nutrient deficiencies, particularly fiber, folate, and iron among vulnerable populations such as adolescent girls and women of childbearing age. Enriched grains are the largest contributor of folic acid in the American diet.
- Research continues to show that grain foods are not associated with an increased risk of overweight or obesity and refined grains are not associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Refined grain staples like bread and cereals are grouped with indulgences like cakes and cookies in dietary pattern research and modeling; yet, they should be separated to avoid confounding and risk of unintended consequences.
- Grain foods have a rich culinary history and are prominently featured within many cultural foodways, with a variety of affordable and nutrient-dense options that fit DGA recommendations.