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Providing evidence to support the development of whole grain dietary recommendations in the United Kingdom

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



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Observational evidence suggests that increased whole grain (WG) intake reduces the risks of many non-communicable diseases, such as CVD, type 2 diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. More recently, studies have shown that WG intake lowers all-cause and cause-specific mortality. Much of the reported evidence on risk reduction is from US and Scandinavian populations, where there are tangible WG dietary recommendations. At present there is no quantity-specific WG dietary recommendation in the UK, instead we are advised to choose WG or higher fibre versions. Despite recognition of WG as an important component of a healthy diet, monitoring of WG intake in the UK has been poor, with the latest intake assessment from data collected in 2000–2001 for adults and in 1997 for children. To update this information we examined WG intake in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey rolling programme 2008–2011 after developing our database of WG food composition, a key resource in determining WG intake accurately. The results showed median WG intakes remain low in both adults and children and below that of countries with quantity-specific guidance. We also found a reduction in C-reactive protein concentrations and leucocyte counts with increased WG intake, although no association with other markers of cardio-metabolic health. The recent recommendations by the UK Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to increase dietary fibre intake will require a greater emphasis on consuming more WG. Specific recommendations on WG intake in the UK are warranted as is the development of public health policy to promote consumption of these important foods.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mann KD, Pearce MS, Seal CJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Year: 2017

Volume: 76

Issue: 3

Pages: 369-377

Print publication date: 01/08/2017

Online publication date: 21/10/2016

Acceptance date: 05/09/2016

Date deposited: 24/10/2016

ISSN (print): 0029-6651

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2719

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0029665116000793


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