Public health risk - Americans do not eat enough bread: study finds

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

US researchers are now suggesting that Americans should include more grains foods like bread and rolls in their daily diets. Pic: ©iStock/Mfotophile
US researchers are now suggesting that Americans should include more grains foods like bread and rolls in their daily diets. Pic: ©iStock/Mfotophile

Related tags Grain foods Nutrition Us

US scientists suggest Americans increase their consumption of grains foods such as bread, rolls, tortillas and ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereals to make up their shortfall in nutrients.

The study, published this month in the journal Nutrients, concluded Americans do not include enough grain foods in their daily diet. ​ 

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) recommends a 6oz daily serving of grains in a 2000-calorie diet, with half of the serving consisting of whole grains.

However, the research project, funded by Grain Foods Foundation in Washington, DC, found less than 5% of the US population consume that amount, with the average American eating less than 1oz of whole grains per day.

Eat your nutrients

This small quantity of grain foods means Americans are not getting enough of the critical nutrients they need to maintain health.

Grain foods provide 20% of dietary fiber, folate and iron, and more than 10% of calcium, magnesium and vitamin A to the diet.

Specifically, bread, rolls, tortillas and RTE cereals are meaningful contributors of dietary fiber, thiamin, folate, iron, zinc and niacin to the American diet. 

Everything in moderation

“So, there is no need to eliminate these from your diet,”​ said study co-author Yanni Papanikolaou, adding these items should in fact be included in a healthy diet plan that adheres to recommendations to limit calories, saturated fat, sodium and added sugar intake.

Bread, rolls and tortillas contribute less than 9% of sodium, 4% of total fat and 3% of saturated fat, while providing more than 10% of dietary fiber, folate and iron in adults.

Similarly, RTE cereals provide minimal daily contributions of energy (less than 3%), sodium (less than 2%), total sugar (less than 3%), total fat (less than 1%) and saturated fat (less than 1%), but meaningful contributions of folate, iron, magnesium, thiamin, vitamin B12, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, niacin and zinc relative to the daily contribution of energy (calories).

Good for kids, too

According to the study’s authors Papanikolaou and Victor Fulgoni, the data aligned with a study published earlier this year in the same journal regarding grain foods for US children and adolescents​ in that bread, rolls, tortillas and RTE cereals could contribute the necessary nutrients for that age group, too.

The study examined data from more than 10,000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys collected between 2009 and 2012 from US adults over the age of 19 years.

Researchers looked at the consumption of all grains and various sub-categories, such as bread, rolls, tortillas, RTE cereals, cooked grains, quick breads and sweet bakery products.

The researchers were especially interested in how grains contributed to under-consumed nutrients, including fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron.


Grain Foods Are Contributors of Nutrient Density for American Adults and Help Close Nutrient Recommendation Gaps: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2012

Authors: Yanni Papanikolaou and Victor L. Fulgoni III

Nutrients 2017, 9, 873.

Published: 14 August 2017

Related topics Ingredients R&D Bread Health

Related news

Show more