Weight gain worries putting Australians off grain-based foods

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 4th October 2011

Survey findings published this week by Go Grains Health and Nutrition, an advocacy body for the Australian grain industry, appear to indicate that Australians are eating just over half the recommended daily amount of grain-based foods because of concerns about weight gain.

Go Grains Health and Nutrition commissioned market research
agency Colmar Brunton to undertake a national survey tracking the consumption of grain-based foods, breads, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and noodles, and legumes in Australia over a two year period (2009 – 2011).

The survey found a decline in the consumption of bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, noodles and rice in Australia over the past two years. By contrast, consumption of take-away foods and snack bars appears to have increased over the same period. Colmar Brunton’s survey also found that almost one third of grain-based food intakes currently come from take-away foods, cakes and pastries.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, CEO of Go Grains Health and Nutrition Robyn Murray said, “Australians are failing to meet the minimum dietary requirements of certain carbohydrate foods. The alarming decline in consumption is the result of misunderstanding about the nutritional benefits of these foods.

Ms Murray claimed the study revealed that consumers, particularly females between the age of 15 and 24 years old, believe consumption of grain-based foods may contribute to weight gain.

She said there was a need to reduce confusion between the nutritious “refined core grain foods like white rice, white bread, white pasta and breakfast cereals” and “less nutritious refined non-core grain foods like cakes, biscuits and pastries”.

“Current dietary guidelines in Australia recommend a minimum of four servings of grain-based foods each day, with at least half of those being wholegrain. However, the research shows most Australians believe the recommendation is only two and a half serves per day.  This is of concern as grain-based foods significantly contribute to Australians’ intake of iron, zinc, magnesium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, fibre, protein and carbohydrate,” Ms Murray added.