New study to look at health outcomes of consuming grains-based foods

Producer groups from both eastern and western Canada are partnering on a research project with the University of Saskatchewan looking to provide information to consumers on consumption of foods made from both whole and enriched non-whole grains.

Led by Hassan Vatanparast of the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and School of Public Health, the project will utilize the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) data to provide “better guidance to Canadians and policy makers on the contribution of both whole and enriched non-whole grains to the diet.”

This project begins at the same time as announced revisions to Canada’s Food Guide. Health Canada is proposing Canadians increase their dietary intake of whole grain foods and decrease their intake of foods made with enriched non-whole grains, however, studies using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey have recently shown the inclusion of enriched non-whole grain foods contribute to nutrient intakes and diet quality in children and adults, say project funders.

The results of Vatanparast’s project are expected to “benefit consumers and policy makers with better health and nutrition information on the consumption of all grains-based foods while also providing benefits to the Canadian farmers who produce the grain.”

While whole grain foods have been studied significantly, and the nutritional benefits of including them in one’s diet are well known, there is less information on the consumption of enriched non-whole grain foods like white bread, bagels and hamburger/hot dog buns, and the nutrition and health benefits of consuming these foods, say project funders.

The project is being funded jointly by the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), the Grain Farmers of Ontario (GFO), and Mitacs, a Canadian not-for-profit funding agency supporting industry-academia collaborations.

“We want to ensure that consumers and policy makers have the best information available to them,” said SaskWheat chair Laura Reiter, who farms near Radisson, Saskatchewan.

The results of the project are expected to be available from mid-2018 into 2020.

 

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