It’s no secret that making the swap to whole grain may be one of the easiest and most beneficial dietary changes we can make. Packed with over 25 different essential nutrients, including dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, plant protein and antioxidants, regular consumption of whole grains has been linked to reductions in the risk of cardiovascular disease (1), type 2 diabetes (2) and even bowel cancer (3).
To feel the whole grain benefits, GLNC recommends Australians #LookForTheWholeGrain. But how do you know a product is high in whole grain? We’ve outlined three ways to help you identify whole grain foods, so you’re well on your way to reaching your daily target of 48g (three serves).
Look for the NEW GLNC Whole Grain Certified Logo
To help consumers easily choose core whole grain, high fibre foods, GLNC has developed a Whole Grain Certified Logo. Highlighting the percentage of whole grain in the final product, the Certified Logo promotes full transparency, allowing you to choose whole grain foods with confidence.
Importantly, products may only carry the Certified Logo if they are considered core foods(4) such as breads, breakfast cereals, flours, rice, pasta, noodles and crispbreads. Foods not listed as core, predominately snack foods, must meet certain nutrient criteria to ensure that only ‘healthier’ food choices are promoted.
Products must contain a minimum of 25% whole grain ingredients and as such, the percentage of whole grain on the Certified Logo can range from 25% to 100%. This criteria is in line with international recommendations, specifically the Whole Grain Initiative (global consortium)(5).
The higher the percentage of whole grain, the easier it is to reach your 48g daily target!
You may see the Certified Logo on food packaging, or most commonly on eligible manufacturer websites. You can also filter by ‘Certification’ on the GLNC Whole Grain Searchable Database.
Look for whole grain claims on pack
The GLNC voluntary Code of Practice for Whole Grain Ingredient Content Claims (The Code) is intended to guide the use of whole grain ingredient claims on food labels in Australia and New Zealand.
There are three types of permitted whole grain claims:
- Whole grain ingredient content claims – “contains whole grain”, “high in whole grain” and “very high in whole grain” based on 8, 16 and 24g of whole grain per serve respectively.
- Factual whole grain statements – “made with 100% whole grains”, “contains 22g of whole grain per serve”
- Daily Target Intake Statement – “One serve of [product name] contributes x% towards the 48g whole grain Daily Target Intake”.
Check out our latest webinar here to learn more about whole grain claims.
Products that carry permitted whole grain claims must meet certain nutrient criteria to ensure that products high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium are not promoted.
Look for whole grain claims on pack next time you’re in the supermarket and check how much whole grain is in your favourite foods, by searching our whole grain database here.
Check the ingredients list
Another way to look for whole grain products is to read the ingredients list and look for words like oats, whole grain, wholemeal flour, whole wheat, buckwheat, wholemeal spelt, rye or barley and brown, wild, black, purple or red rice.
Remember the ingredients on a food label are listed by weight in descending order. Look for products where the whole grain ingredients are listed first or second on the label.
For example: Wholegrain (91%) [Wheat], Vegetable Oil, Salt, Sugar
A quick note on the Health Star Rating
Currently, the Health Star Rating (HSR) does little to highlight whole grain foods(6), as the current algorithm used to assign scores doesn’t consider whole grain within foods, instead relying solely on dietary fibre.
Though this may boost the score of some whole grain foods, whole grains contain much more than just dietary fibre! When all three natural layers of a grain are present, whole grains are rich in plant protein, B group vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants too.
The bottom line
Next time you’re at the supermarket, keep an eye out for whole grain foods. Consuming foods with a high percentage of whole grain will help you reach your daily target and enjoying 3 serves of whole grain foods daily helps reduce risk of disease(7).
Got a product you want to get Certified? Contact Us to find out how!
- Aune, D.; Keum, N.; Giovannucci, E.; Fadnes, L.T.; Boffetta, P.; Greenwood, D.C.; Tonstad, S.; Vatten, L.J.; Riboli, E.; Norat, T. Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ 2016, 353, i2716, doi:10.1136/bmj.i2716.
- Aune, D.; Norat, T.; Romundstad, P.; Vatten, L.J. Whole grain and refined grain consumption and the risk of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of cohort studies. Eur J Epidemiol 2013, 28, 845-858, doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9852-5.
- Aune, D.; Chan, D.S.; Lau, R.; Vieira, R.; Greenwood, D.C.; Kampman, E.; Norat, T. Dietary fibre, whole grains, and risk of colorectal cancer: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Bmj 2011, 343, d6617, doi:10.1136/bmj.d6617.
- ABS. Australian Health Survey: Users’ Guide, 2011-13: DISCRETIONARY FOODS. Available online: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4363.0.55.001Chapter65062011-13 (accessed on January ).
- Whole Initiative Global Working Group on Whole Grain Definitions. Definition of a whole-grain food. Available online: https://www.wholegraininitiative.org/ (accessed on April 2021).
- Curtain, F.; Grafenauer, S.J. Health Star Rating in Grain Foods—Does It Adequately Differentiate Refined and Whole Grain Foods? Nutrients 2019, 11, doi:10.3390/nu11020415.
- McRae, M.P. Health Benefits of Dietary Whole Grains: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med 2017, 16, 10-18, doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2016.08.008.