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Grain-Based Groups Pleased with MyPlate Icon

July 17, 2011

GRAIN-BASED GROUPS PLEASED WITH MYPLATE ICON...

The "grain chain," which includes such leading grain-based foods groups as the American Bakers Association, the Grain Foods Foundation, the National Association of Wheat Growers and the North American Millers' Association, issued its unanimous support for the new MyPlate food icon introduced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The group said the new graphic "strongly illustrates the importance of grains in a healthy lifestyle." "We commend the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.), Health and Human Services (H.H.S.), and First Lady Michelle Obama for their work to develop the new healthy eating icon released today," the group said. "The icon will be a critical tool in educating children, parents, and individuals in healthy and sensible eating. With grains appropriately occupying a large portion on the dinner plate graphic, the agencies are making a strong statement regarding the importance of grains as the foundation of a healthy lifestyle.

The average American should eat six servings of grain foods daily - at least half of those whole grains -and the rest enriched grains, according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans." The grain group said consumers have expressed a desire for simple, clear directives to follow regarding a healthy lifestyle, and the new icon should be able to provide that, given its "clear illustration of the portions and food groups comprising a healthy meal".

Source: Bakery Production and Marketing Newsletter - Sosland Publishing Company


 

Goodbye MyPyramid, Hello MyPlate!

July 6, 2011

Goodbye MyPyramid, Hello MyPlate!
By: Ashley Reynolds, MS, RD, Mullen

The eagerly awaited MyPlate icon was released last month and the Grain Foods Foundation commends the USDA for its work in developing it. The new icon replaces the MyPyramid graphic, aiming to help consumers follow a healthy eating pattern based on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released in January of this year.

The updated visual is in the shape of a dinner plate, and divided into colored sections designed to represent each food group. The grains group occupies a significant wedge of the graphic in recognition of their important contributions to a healthful diet. The fruit, vegetable and protein groups are also represented on the plate; the dairy group is symbolized with a small drinking glass alongside. According to the USDA, the average adult should consume six one-ounce servings of grain foods daily, with at least half of those servings coming from whole grain sources and the remaining from enriched. Because of their unique health benefits, it's crucial to include both whole and enriched grains in a balanced diet.

Whole grains are a source of fiber, selenium, potassium and magnesium, which collectively may help boost immunity, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease as well as some forms of cancer. Enriched grains contain higher or equal amounts of the three major B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin and niacin) and iron as well as twice as much folic acid, a nutrient associated with the prevention of some birth defects. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently identified folic acid fortification of enriched grains as one of the top public health achievements of the last decade for its role in helping prevent neural tube birth defects.

The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans placed a real emphasis on the importance of calorie balance and the new icon is meant to support this by helping Americans make better food choices. In light of the visual nature of the icon and the Dietary Guidelines' focus on weight and portion control, we'd like to remind everyone of what a one-ounce serving of grains looks like for building balanced, calorie-appropriate meals.

A one-ounce serving of grains is defined as:

  • 1 slice bread
  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal
  • ½ 8" tortilla
  • ½ cup cooked brown or white rice
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal
  • ½ cup cooked pasta
  • 5 whole wheat crackers
  • 7 saltine crackers

Source: Grain Foods Foundation July 2011 Newsletter

 


 

New Food Icon - MyPlate

June 3, 2011

MYPLATE REPLACES MYPYRAMID AS FOOD ICON.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, on Thursday, June 2nd, unveiled MyPlate, a new symbol that government officials say will be a part of a healthy-eating initiative that will convey seven key messages from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.

The new symbol, a plate, emphasizes the fruit, vegetable, grains, protein and dairy food groups. The symbol replaces the Food Pyramid, which was first introduced in 1992 and later revised in 2005. The second version, available at mypyramid.gov, was criticized widely for being difficult to read. "With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

"MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles. This effort is about more than just giving information, it is a matter of making people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives." Key messages conveyed include make at least half your grains whole grains and compare sodium (salt) in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals.

Source: Bakery Production & Marketing Newsletter -Sosland Publishing


 

THE TICKING IS GROWING LOUDER

June 10, 2010

Among the many nutritional issues swirling around these days, three stand above the rest-added sugars, added fats and sodium. Nutritionists believe reducing intake of each is key to improving our nation's health. For bakers of bread and rolls, sodium represents the principal problem within this threesome.

The current recommendation is to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, but the average intake is 3,400 mg. Grain products (led by bread and rolls) account for 730 mg, or 21% of total sodium intake, the largest source of any food category (meats rank second at 15.7%). The picture is troubling for the industry for many reasons. The 730 mg equate to 32% of the targeted 2,300 mg and a whopping 48% of a 1,500 mg target that has been floated by certain nutritionists as a more appropriate intake level.

Meanwhile, hardly a day passes when a prominent food company does not announce plans to reduce sodium in its products in the next few years. As other food categories cut back, grain-based foods will stand out increasingly more as a major sodium source. Bakers note that they have made significant strides in reducing sodium in the past generation and, on a per-serving basis, baked foods are not high in sodium. While true, these points ignore the reality of the current environment. By all appearances, there is no standing still when it comes to sodium.

If bakers choose to do nothing, they will fall further behind other food groups, leaving baked foods vulnerable to attack. In their announcements, both Kraft and PepsiCo described plans for incremental reductions in coming years to help consumers adjust to formulation changes. For bakers, the clock on such incremental change has begun to run, and the ticking is growing louder.