Defining whole-grain foods - Does it change estimations of intakes and associations with CVD risk factors: An Australian and Swedish perspective

Publication Name

British Journal of Nutrition


Historically, there are inconsistencies in the calculation of whole-grain intake, particularly through use of highly variable whole-grain food definitions. The current study aimed to determine the impact of using a whole-grain food definition on whole-grain intake estimation in Australian and Swedish national cohorts and investigate impacts on apparent associations with CVD risk factors. This utilised the Australian National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey 2011-2012, the Swedish Riksmaten adults 2010-2011 and relevant food composition databases. Whole-grain intakes and associations with CVD risk factors were determined based on consumption of foods complying with the Healthgrain definition (≥30 % whole grain (dry weight), more whole than refined grain and meeting accepted standards for 'healthy foods' based on local regulations) and compared with absolute whole-grain intake. Compliance of whole-grain containing foods with the Healthgrain definition was low in both Sweden (twenty-nine of 155 foods) and Australia (214 of 609 foods). Significant mean differences of up to 24·6 g/10 MJ per d of whole-grain intake were highlighted using Swedish data. Despite these large differences, application of a whole-grain food definition altered very few associations with CVD risk factors, specifically, changes with body weight and blood glucose associations in Australian adults where a whole-grain food definition was applied, and some anthropometric measures in Swedish data where a high percentage of whole-grain content was included. Use of whole-grain food definitions appears to have limited impact on measuring whole-grain health benefits but may have greater relevance in public health messaging.

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