ABA-led coalition emphasises importance of enriched grains for healthy foetal development

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Getting enough fibre is essential during pregnancy. Pic: GettyImages/Gajus
Getting enough fibre is essential during pregnancy. Pic: GettyImages/Gajus

Related tags: whole grains, American bakers association, foetal development, Fibre, refined grains, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Dietary guidelines advisory committee, Folic acid fortification, Pregnancy

The Grain Chain – a farm to table coalition of stakeholders in the grain industry, chaired by the American Bakers Association (ABA) – has provided its recommendations on the nutritional benefits of grain-based products to the advisory committee in charge of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs).

The DGAs are the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy​ and education guidelines.

Dr Bruce Young OBGYN – speaking on behalf of the Grain Chain – highlighted the importance of iron-fortified grain foods in meeting the increased iron demand during pregnancy.

Dr Bruce Young

 “Besides pregnancy, all grains, enriched refined and whole, are valuable contributors to our health." - ​Dr Bruce Young

He noted there is little information available about the role of whole grains versus refined grains in affecting the outcomes of pregnancy and the potential influence on childhood obesity.

Major obstetrical outcomes in study conducted by Dr Young were unrelated to the proportion of whole grains versus refined grains consumed, however, another of his studies showed pregnant women who consumed mostly whole grains gained weight appropriately by IOM guidelines.

“We emphasise the importance of eating folic acid fortified foods, such as enriched breads, cereals, enriched pasta, milled rice and tortillas before conception occurs, to prevent neural tube defects,”​  Dr Bruce Young told the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).

“… The critical period is in the early weeks of pregnancy, often before the patient knows that she is pregnant, so folic acid enriched foods should be part of the daily diet. Fibre is even more important in pregnancy, clinically and with effects on the microbiota.”

However, he emphasised that besides pregnancy, all grains, enriched refined and whole, are valuable contributors to the overall health of all Americans. Grain foods are a significant contributor to dietary fibre and almost one-quarter of dietary fibre comes from enriched grain foods.

“To help combat the obesity epidemic, Americans need clear dietary guidance based on strong evidence from randomised controlled studies,”​ added Dr Young.

The Grain Chain's membership includes the American Bakers Association (chair), American Institute of Baking, Cereal and Grains Association, Grain Foods Foundation, Independent Bakers Association, National Pasta Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, North American Millers Association, Retail Bakers of America, Wheat Foods Council, and USA Rice Federation.

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