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Low whole grain intake in the UK: results from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008–11

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kay Mann, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Emeritus Professor Chris SealORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Increased whole grain intake has been shown to reduce the risk of many non-communicable diseases. Countries including the USA, Canada, Denmark and Australia have specific dietary guidelines on whole grain intake but others, including the UK, do not. Data from 1986/87 and 2000/01 have shown that whole grain intake is low and declining in British adults. The aim of the present study was to describe whole grain intakes in the most current dietary assessment of UK households using data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008–11. In the present study, 4 d diet diaries were completed by 3073 individuals between 2008 and 2011, along with details of socio-economic status (SES). The median daily whole grain intake, calculated for each individual on a dry weight basis, was 20 g/d for adults and 13 g/d for children/teenagers. The corresponding energy-adjusted whole grain intake was 27 g/10 MJ per d for adults and 20 g/10 MJ per d for children/teenagers. Whole grain intake (absolute and energy-adjusted) increased with age, but was lowest in teenagers (13–17 years) and younger adults up to the age of 34 years. Of the total study population, 18 % of adults and 15 % of children/teenagers did not consume any whole-grain foods. Individuals from lower SES groups had a significantly lower whole grain intake than those from more advantaged classifications. The whole grain intake in the UK, although higher than in 2000/01, remains low and below that in the US and Danish recommendations in all age classes. Favourable pricing with increased availability of whole-grain foods and education may help to increase whole grain intake in countries without whole-grain recommendations. Teenagers and younger adults may need targeting to help increase whole grain consumption.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mann KD, Pearce MS, McKevith B, Thielecke F, Seal CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2015

Volume: 113

Issue: 10

Pages: 1643-1651

Print publication date: 28/05/2015

Online publication date: 23/04/2015

Acceptance date: 21/01/2015

Date deposited: 24/08/2015

ISSN (print): 0007-1145

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2662

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0007114515000422

PubMed id: 25893512


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