More than 80 per cent of Britons aren't eating enough whole grains-such as corn, oats, rice and rye-for maintaining good health, while one in five aren't eating any at all. Instead, they are consuming refined and processed foods, such as white rice and bread.
We should be eating three servings, or 48 g, of whole grain a day, which is equivalent to three slices of wholemeal bread or a bowl of porridge, and a high whole-grain diet has been linked to lower body weight, and may reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
People who are eating plenty of whole grains may also have a less-stressed immune system, with a lower white blood cell count and lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a marker of inflammation.
But when researchers from Newcastle University reviewed the data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, they discovered that 80 per cent of Britons weren't eating their three servings, and 20 per cent weren't eating any whole grains at all. On average, Britons were eating just 20 g a day of whole grains, less than half the required amount.
The whole grain foods include barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, brown rice, rye, and wheat such as spelt, durum and bulgur.
(Source: British Journal of Nutrition, April 2015; doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000422)