Why Eat Bread? TM

Eating grain foods, like bread, plays an important role in your diet by providing many nutrients, such as dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals, that are vital for the health and maintenance of our bodies.1 The USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends eating 6 servings of grain foods each day, with half of them being from whole grain sources. To get the most nutrients and benefits, both whole grains and enriched grains should be a part of your balanced diet.
  

 

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, protein provides 4 calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram.2

 

Whole Grains

Whole Grains Defined:

100% Whole Grains, including wheat, rye, oats and other grains, contain all parts of the kernel:

When all parts of the kernel are ground together, the result is 100% whole grain flour.10,11,12

 

You can determine if a product is whole grain by looking at the ingredient legend. Look for “whole” or “100% whole” before the name of the grain or flour to determine if the product is whole grain.
 

Many popular-selling wheat, rye, oat and multi-grain breads contain enriched white flour, bleached white flour, enriched wheat flour or unbleached wheat flour that are NOT whole grains. Descriptive words, such as multi-grain or stone-ground, do not necessarily mean that the product is whole grain.11 Always check the ingredient listing to be sure. If the words “whole grain” do not appear at the beginning of the list of ingredients but somewhere later in the list, the product is made with some whole grains, but may also contain refined grains.

 

 

Whole Grain Council Stamp
Another way to identify products containing whole grains is to look for the Whole Grain Stamp to find out the number of grams of whole grain in a serving. There are two types of Whole Grain Stamps found on product packaging:

 

Whole Grains Give You Phytochemicals & Antioxidants:

 

Many antioxidants in whole grains are the same or similar to those contained in fruits and vegetables, but many are unique.17

 

 

 

Whole Grain Health Benefits:

Heart Health

All the nutrients in whole grains work together to provide health benefits and may reduce the risk of heart disease and cancers, as discussed below.

Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

 

Not all whole grain products qualify to make this claim. To qualify, a product must contain all portions of the grain kernel, contain at least 51% whole grain by weight per reference amount customarily consumed (50g for bread and buns), and meet specified levels for fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, fiber, and sodium.11

 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.23

 

 

General Heart Health Tips

 

Fiber

Fiber Defined

Fiber is made up of the material composing the walls of the cells of whole grains, fruits and vegetables that is resistant to being broken down and digested.14,15

 

Fiber Health Benefits

The FDA has definitions for foods that contain an “Excellent Source” or a “Good Source” of fiber:

 

Recommended Amounts of Fiber

According to the USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the adequate intake (AI) for fiber is 14g per 1,000 caloriess, or about 25g per day for women and 38g per day for men.12

The chart below summarizes the AI of fiber by age and gender: 

Fiber Recommendations by Age & Sex Daily Fiber Recommendation
Children ages 1-3 years old 19 grams
Children ages 4-8 years old 25 grams
Young boys ages 9-13 years old 31 grams
Young girls ages 9-13 years old 26 grams
Teenage boys ages 14-18 years old 38 grams
Teenage girls ages 14-18 years old 26 grams
Young and adult men ages 14-50 years old 38 grams
Young and adult women ages 14-50 years old 25 grams
Men ages 50 years and older 30 grams
Women ages 50 years and older 21 grams

Chart adapted from: Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes: Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC, National Academies Press, 2002 22

 

 

Enriched Grains

While the USDA Dietary Guidelines recommends 3 servings of whole grain foods per day, the other 3 servings can be either whole grains or enriched grains. Since 1998 enriched grains, like white bread, have been fortified with folic acid and other nutrients (such as B vitamins and iron) and may contain more of these nutrients when compared to whole grain foods that have not been fortified.7,26,27   Enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid in the American diet.3

 

For many generations, eating white bread was considered a sign of status and peasants ate wheat bread. Around 150 B.C., upper-class Romans insisted on the more exclusive and expensive white breads, while darker whole wheat and bran breads were for the general public. This attitude persisted well into the 20th century in Europe and North America.47

 

B Vitamins

Folic Acid

 

Folic Acid and Neural Tube Defects

Most whole grain foods are not fortified with folic acid or other vitamins and minerals, so this is one benefit to also consuming refined enriched grain products.11

 

Iron

 

How Much Grain Food To Eat 

The amount of grains you need to eat depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity. Recommended daily amounts are listed in the chart. Most Americans consume enough grains, but few are whole grains. At least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains.

    Daily Recommendation*
Daily Minimum Amount
of Whole Grains
Children

2-3 years old

4-8 years old

3 ounce equivalents

5 ounce equivalents

1 1/2 ounce equivalents

2 1/2 ounce equivalents

Girls

9-13 years old

14-18 years old

5 ounce equivalents

6 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

Boys

9-13 years old

14-18 years old

6 ounce equivalents

8 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

4 ounce equivalents

Women

19-30 years old

31-50 years old

51+ years old

6 ounce equivalents

6 ounce equivalents

5 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

Men

19-30 years old

31-50 years old

51+ years old

8 ounce equivalents

7 ounce equivalents

6 ounce equivalents

4 ounce equivalents

3 1/2 ounce equivalents

3 ounce equivalents

*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.
Chart Source: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/grains_amount_table.html. 
Last modified June 4, 2011

 

 

Fun Facts About Bread

 

Website Links

Lewis Bakeries: www.lewisbakeries.net

Healthy Life: www.healthylifebread.com

Hartford Farms: www.hartfordfarms.com

Bunny: www.bunnybread.net

Chief Kahai: www.chiefkahai.com

Grains for Your Brain: www.grainsforyourbrain.org

 

References

  1. “USDA. “Why is it important to eat grains, especially whole grains?” www.ChooseMyPlate.gov. Last modified: June 21, 2011.
  2. McKinley Health Center. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Macronutrients: The Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat”. http://www.mckinley.illinois.edu/Handouts/macronutrients.htm. 3/26/2008.
  3. Grain Foods Foundation. “Nutrition Info: Overview”. www.gowiththegrain.org/nutrition.
  4. Center for Disease Control. “Carbohydrates”. www.cdc.gov. Last reviewed & updated 10/4/2011.
  5. Medline Plus: U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. “Carbohydrates”. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002469.htm. Updated 6/14/2011.
  6. Kids Health from Nemours. “Learning About Carbohydrates”. http://kidshealth.org/kid/nutrition/food/carb.html. Reviewed September 2011 by Mary L. Gavin, MD.
  7. Kids Health from Nemours. “Carbohydrates, Sugar, and Your Child”. http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/healthy_eating/sugar.html#cat20738. Reviewed June 2011 by Mary L. Gavin, MD.
  8. American Society for Nutrition: “Putting the Whole Grain Puzzle Together: Health Benefits Associated with Whole Grains – Summary of American Society for Nutrition 2010 Satellite Symposium” By: Satya S. Jonnalagadda, Lisa Harnack, Rui Hai Liu, Nicola McKeown, Chris Seal, Simin Liu, and George C. Fahey – The Journal of Nutrition, First published online March 30, 2011 http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/files/ASNsummary2010.pdf
  9. Neal Okarter & Rui Hai Liu (2010): Health Benefits of Whole Grain Phytochemicals, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50:3, 193-208. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10408390802248734.
  10. American Cancer Society. “Shopping List: Basic Ingredients for a Healthy Kitchen” http://www.cancer.org/Healthy/EatHealthyGetActive/EatHealthy/shopping-list-basic-ingredients-for-a-healthy-kitchen Last Revised: 05/16/2011
  11. International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC). “Whole Grains Fact Sheet” 10/15/2009 http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Whole_Grains_Fact_Sheet
  12. U.S. Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. December 2010 http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2010.asp
  13. American Heart Association. “Know Your Fats” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Know-Your-fats_UCM_305628_Article.jsp
  14. American Dietetic Association. “Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber” – Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008;108:1716-1731 http://www.eatright.org/WorkArea//DownloadAsset.aspx?id=8442
  15. Cornell University. Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors. “Whole Grains, Fiber, And Breast Cancer Risk: Fact Sheet #36” Prepared by: Barbour Warren, PhD and Carol Devine, PhD. June 2000. http://envirocancer.cornell.edu/Factsheet/diet/fs36.grain.cfm
  16. American Cancer Society. “Phytochemicals” Last revised 11/28/2008 www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/phytochemicals
  17. American College of Nutrition. “Antioxidant Content of Whole Grain Breakfast Cereals, Fruits and Vegetables” By: Harold E. Miller, PhD, Fred Rigelhof, Leonard Marquart, PhD, RD, Aruna Prakash, PhD, and Mitch Kanter, PhD. – Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 19, No. 3, 312S-319S (2000) http://www.jacn.org/content/19/suppl_3/312S.full
  18. American Heart Association. “Monounsaturated Fats” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Monounsaturated-Fats_UCM_301460_Article.jsp
  19. International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC). “Functional Foods Fact Sheet: Antioxidants” 10/15/2009 http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Functional_Foods_Fact_Sheet_Antioxidants
  20. Joe Vinson, National Meeting of the American Chemical Society: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/newsroom/blog/2009/08/antioxidants-abound-in-whole-grains
  21. American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, November 2004 http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-studies-on-whole-grains?page=3&field_grain_value_many_to_one=All&field_disease_condition_value_many_to_one=diet%20quality%20%2F%20nutrients
  22. International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC). “Fiber Fact Sheet” 11/24/2008 http://www.foodinsight.org/Resources/Detail.aspx?topic=Fiber_Fact_Sheet
  23. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Heart Disease Fact Sheet” Last updated and reviewed April 29, 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_heart_disease.htm
  24. American Dietetic Association. “Boost Your Health with Fiber” 9/20/2011 http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442465065
  25. American Heart Association. “Answers From the Experts” http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Diabetes/DiabetesToolsResources/Answers-from-the-Experts_UCM_313915_Article.jsp
  26. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Low folate status is associated with impaired cognitive function and dementia in the Sacramento Area Latino Study on Aging.” Vol. 82, No. 6, 1346-1352, December 2005. http://www.ajcn.org/content/82/6/1346.long.
  27. Harvard School of Public Health. The Nutrition Source. “Three of the B Vitamins: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12.” http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamin-b/index.html.
  28. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “B-Vitamins and Folate.” www.eatright.org.
  29. American Cancer Society. “Vitamin B Complex.” http://www.cancer.org/Treatment/TreatmentsandSideEffects/ComplementaryandAlternativeMedicine/HerbsVitaminsandMinerals/vitamin-b-complex. Last reviewed & revised 5/13/2010.
  30. Kids Health from Nemours. “Vitamins”. http://kidshealth.org/kid/nutrition/food/vitamin.html. Reviewed January 2011 by Mary L. Gavin, MD.
  31. University of Maryland Medical Center. “Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)”. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-b2-000334.htm. Last reviewed: 6/12/2011.
  32. University of Maryland Medical Center. “Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)”. http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/vitamin-b1-000333.htm. Last reviewed: 6/26/2011.
  33. MedlinePlus: U.S. National Library of Medicine & National Institutes of Health. “Thiamin”. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002401.htm. Updated 2/15/2011.
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