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Perspective: A definition for whole-grain food products - Recommendations from the Healthgrain Forum

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Chris SealORCiD



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Society for Nutrition, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


© 2017 American Society for Nutrition. Whole grains are a key component of a healthy diet, and enabling consumers to easily choose foods with a high whole-grain content is an important step for better prevention of chronic disease. Several definitions exist for whole-grain foods, yet these do not account for the diversity of food products that contain cereals. With the goal of creating a relatively simple whole-grain food definition that aligns with whole-grain intake recommendations and can be applied across all product categories, the Healthgrain Forum, a not-for-profit consortium of academics and industry working with cereal foods, established a working group to gather input from academics and industry to develop guidance on labeling the whole-grain content of foods. The Healthgrain Forum recommends that a food may be labeled as "whole grain" if it contains ≥30% whole-grain ingredients in the overall product and contains more whole grain than refined grain ingredients, both on a dry-weight basis. For the purposes of calculation, added bran and germ are not considered refined-grain ingredients. Additional recommendations are also made on labeling whole-grain content in mixed-cereal foods, such as pizza and ready meals, and a need to meet healthy nutrition criteria. This definition allows easy comparison across product categories because it is based on dry weight and strongly encourages a move from generic whole-grain labels to reporting the actual percentage of whole grain in a product. Although this definition is for guidance only, we hope that it will encourage more countries to adopt regulation around the labeling of whole grains and stimulate greater awareness and consumption of whole grains in the general population.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ross AB, van der Kamp J-W, King R, Le K-A, Mejborn H, Seal CJ, Thielecke F, on behalf of the Healthgrain Forum

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Advances in Nutrition

Year: 2017

Volume: 8

Issue: 4

Pages: 525-531

Print publication date: 01/07/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 03/08/2017

ISSN (print): 2161-8313

ISSN (electronic): 2156-5376

Publisher: American Society for Nutrition


DOI: 10.3945/an.116.014001


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