Cereals & Grains Association
Log In

02 Features
Cereal Foods World, Vol. 63, No. 3
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/CFW-63-3-0103
Print To PDF
Health Benefits and Recommendations for Daily Whole Grain Intake
Chris J. Seal1,2 and Frank Thielecke3

1 Human Nutrition Research Centre, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences,
Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, U.K.
2 Corresponding author. Tel: +44-191-2087650; E-mail: chris.seal@ncl.ac.uk
T2 Bene Ltd., Thielecke Consulting, Bettenstrasse 60a, 4123 Allschwil, Switzerland.


Cereals are staple foods in the diet of many populations, and they are essential sources of carbohydrate energy, protein, dietary fiber, and numerous phytochemicals and micronutrients. Retaining all of these components in the form of whole grains and whole grain foods improves the quality of the diet, and there is strong evidence, especially from observational studies, that consumption of whole grains results in health benefits. Increasing whole grain consumption is, therefore, a target for health organizations, with recommendations for intake proposed in many countries. However, intake remains universally low, except in some Northern European countries, and so new strategies and partnerships between industry and health agencies are needed to promote whole grain consumption. Consolidating definitions for whole grain and whole grain foods is an important initial step to better inform consumers and encourage the development of new whole grain foods by industry.

Trying to reach content?

View Full Article

if you don't have access, become a member


  1. AACC International. Whole grains definitions. Published online at www.aaccnet.org/initiatives/definitions/Pages/WholeGrain.aspx. The Association, St. Paul, MN, 2013.
  2. Albertson, A. M., Reicks, M., Joshi, N., and Gugger, C. K. Whole grain consumption trends and associations with body weight measures in the United States: Results from the cross sectional National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001–2012. Nutr. J. 15:8, 2016.
  3. Benisi-Kohansal, S., Saneei, P., Salehi-Marzijarani, M., Larijani, B., and Esmaillzadeh, A. Whole-grain intake and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Adv. Nutr. 7:1052, 2016.
  4. Danish Whole Grain Partnership. Press release: Whole grain intake sets new record. Available online at www.fuldkorn.dk/media/162235/PRM-Whole-grain-intake-sets-new-record.pdf. Danish Whole Grain Partnership, Copenhagen, 2014.
  5. Danish Whole Grain Partnership. Dansih Whole Grain Logo—User Manual. Available online at www.fuldkorn.dk/media/707444/2015-Logo-manual_english.pdf. Danish Whole Grain Partnership, Copenhagen, 2015.
  6. Ferruzzi, M. G., Jonnalagadda, S. S., Liu, S., Marquart, L., McKeown, N., et al. Developing a standard definition of whole-grain foods for dietary recommendations: Summary report of a multidisciplinary expert roundtable discussion. Adv. Nutr. 5:164, 2014.
  7. Hollænder, P. L. B., Ross, A. B., and Kristensen, M. Whole-grain and blood lipid changes in apparently healthy adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 102:556, 2015.
  8. Korczak, R., Marquart, L., Slavin, J. L., Ringling, K., Chu, Y., et al. Thinking critically about whole-grain definitions: Summary report of an interdisciplinary roundtable discussion at the 2015 Whole Grains Summit. Am. J. Clin. Nutr.104:1508, 2016.
  9. Mann, K. D., Pearce, M. S., and Seal, C. J. Providing evidence to support the development of whole grain dietary recommendations in the United Kingdom. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 76:369, 2017.
  10. McRae, M. P. Health benefits of dietary whole grains: An umbrella review of meta-analyses. J. Chiropractic Med. 16:10, 2017.
  11. Oldways Whole Grains Council. Whole Grain Stamp. Available online at https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grain-stamp. Oldways Whole Grains Council, Boston, 2018.
  12. Ross, A. B., van der Kamp, J.-W., King, R., Lê, K. A., Mejborn, H., Seal, C. J., Thielecke, F., and Healthgrain Forum. Perspective: A definition for whole-grain food products—Recommendations from the Healthgrain Forum. Adv. Nutr. 8:525, 2017.
  13. Seal, C. J., and Brownlee, I. A. Whole-grain foods and chronic disease: Evidence from epidemiological and intervention studies. Proc. Nutr. Soc. 74:313, 2015.
  14. Seal, C. J., Nugent, A. P., Tee, E. S., and Thielecke, F. Whole-grain dietary recommendations: The need for a unified global approach. Br. J. Nutr. 115:2031, 2016.
  15. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015–2020, 8th ed. Published online at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2015.
  16. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Health claim notification for whole grain foods. Published online at www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/ucm073639.htm. FDA, Silver Spring, MD, 1999.
  17. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Health claim notification for whole grain foods with moderate fat content. Published online at www.fda.gov/food/labelingnutrition/ucm073634.htm. FDA, Silver Spring, MD, 2003.
  18. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Draft guidance: Whole grain label statements. Guidance for industry and FDA staff. Published online at www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocuments regulatoryinformation/labelingnutrition/ucm059088.htm. FDA, Silver Spring, MD, 2006.
  19. van der Kamp, J. W., Poutanen, K., Seal, C. J., and Richardson, D. P. The HEALTHGRAIN definition of ‘whole grain.’ Food Nutr. Res. DOI: dx.doi.org/10.3402/fnr.v58.22100. 2014.
  20. Ye, E. Q., Chacko, S. A., Chou, E. L., Kugizaki, M., and Liu, S. Greater whole-grain intake is associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and weight gain. J. Nutr. 142:1304, 2012.