Research suggests eating grains does not contribute to excess weight

New research challenges the long-standing belief that grains contribute to excess weight, and suggests they are more beneficial than Australians think – for our BMI, our waistlines and our fibre intakes.

An analysis of national ABS data of 9,3411 Australian adults found that eating core grain foods was not linked to the size of your waistline. This is despite 42 per cent of Australians reporting that they limit grain foods to assist with weight loss.

The analysis of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey commissioned by the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) will be unveiled today at an industry Grains for Health Forum in Sydney, hosted by GLNC.

The data reveals that people who eat six or more serves of core grain foods each day, including bread and pasta, have a similar waistline and Body Mass Index (BMI) as people who restrict their intake of grain foods.

Six serves of core grain foods a day, which is the recommendation for Australian adults aged 19 to 50 years, is as easy as a bowl of high fibre breakfast cereal in the morning, a wholemeal sandwich for lunch and a stir-fry with rice for dinner.

Chris Cashman, GLNC Nutrition Program Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian, said core grain foods are increasingly being viewed as non-essential due to misconceptions that they make people overweight and have minimum nutritional value.

“Grains don’t deserve the bad rap they often get as a result of fad diet trends,” Mr Cashman said.

“In fact, a recent comprehensive audit of all grains on the shelf has confirmed that the vast majority (95 per cent) of white and wholemeal breads are low in sugar – less than 5g per 100g, which equals about one teaspoon; while 81 per cent of loaf breads are a source of plant-based protein and 88 per cent of breakfast cereals are a source of fibre.”

The 2015-2016 Product Audit4, commissioned by GLNC, involved a systematic analysis of 1,890 grain foods, including bread (253 loaves), breakfast cereals (420), as well as pasta, noodles and rice.