The American Bakers Association applauds HHS and USDA for recognizing the nutritional value of both whole and enriched grains in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The recommendations emphasize grains’ vital role at every meal in improving the health of all Americans and combating obesity. The reliance on actual dietary patterns and solutions also should assist consumers, says ABA President & CEO Robb MacKie. 

ABA also greatly appreciates Congress’ efforts to maintain the scientific integrity of the Dietary Guidelines by fully funding the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in a thorough review of the Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee process. Throughout the current DGA review, ABA took every opportunity ranging from written comments, to public testimony and congressional outreach to educate and raise concerns over the strength of the science used to develop recommendations on key issues including whole grains, enriched grains, fiber, added sugar and sodium. ABA emphasized the need for the Guidelines to be based on the strongest scientific facts to provide consumers with the highest level of confidence.

“New recommendations for consumers to shift towards nutrient-dense food choices provides a wonderful opportunity for grain-based foods with a wide variety of options for different products and taste preferences,” said Lee Sanders, ABA Senior Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs.

Whole grain intake is associated with decreased levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol all factors that increase the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Enriched grains are not only a good source of eight essential nutrients such as folic acid, B vitamins, iron and fiber, they can protect many chronic diseases. Since folic acid fortification of enriched grains in 1998, neural tube birth defects have dropped 36 percent. Further, folic acid is linked to decreased risk of coronary heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and some cancers.

“Additionally, the accompanying MyPlate icon’s promotion of ‘My Wins,’ highlights grain foods’ continued essential role in a balanced diet, and the foundation for healthy lifestyles. Complex carbohydrates provide essential fuel the body needs. As an active MyPlate National Strategic Partner, ABA looks forward to opportunities in the coming year to partner with USDA and others in communicating key messages on the health benefits of grain based foods,” MacKie concluded.