February 07, 2012

Schools will be required to offer only whole grain-rich products by the 2014-15 school year as part of the new nutrition standards for school meals set forth  late last month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In the meantime, beginning this fall whole grain-rich products must make up half of all grain products offered to students, and refined grain foods that are enriched still may be included in the school menu.

The changes are designed to improve the health of nearly 32 million children who eat lunch at school every day and almost 11 million who eat breakfast. The meal requirements are a key component of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act that was introduced in 2010.

“Improving the quality of the school meals is a critical step in building a healthy future for our kids,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “When it comes to our children, we must do everything possible to provide them the nutrition they need to be healthy, active and ready to face the future — today we take an important step towards that goal.”

For the most part, the final rule set forth by the U.S.D.A. regarding grains was in line with the department’s earlier proposed rule. The new rule requires that after the first two years of implementation, all grains offered to students must contain at least 51% whole grains with the remaining grain content enriched.


The guidance states that the serving of the food item must meet portion size requirements  for the grains/bread component outlined by the F.N.S. and at least one of the following: 
(a) the whole grain per serving must be equal or greater than 8 grams; (b) the product includes the following F.D.A. approved whole grain health claim on its packaging, “Diets rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods and low in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.”; or (c) product ingredient listing lists whole grain first, specifically non-mixed dishes like bread or cereal and mixed dishes such as pizza or corn dogs.

The U.S.D.A.noted that for foods prepared by the school food service, the recipe is used as the basis for a calculation to determine whether the total weight of whole grain ingredients exceeds the total weight of non-whole grain ingredients.

 “While children generally eat enough total grains, most of the grains they consume are refined grains rather than whole grains,” the U.S.D.A. said. “Whole grains (e.g., whole wheat flour, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, and brown rice) are a source of nutrients such as iron, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins, and dietary fiber.

Evidence suggests that eating whole grains in nutrient dense forms may lower body weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Currently, schools may offer enriched or whole grains, and are allowed to offer enriched, refined grains only.

Therefore, this final rule establishes a minimum whole grain-rich requirement in the N.S.L.P. and S.B.P. to help children increase their intake of whole grains and benefit from the important nutrients they provide.”


source:  Bakery Production and Marketing Newsletter, January 27, 2012

Sosland Publishing Company


Sugar Association Finds Opinion Piece Published in Nature Non-Scientific and Irresponsible

February 06, 2012

 A recent comment, "THE TOXIC TRUTH ABOUT SUGAR," published in the journal, Nature1, lacks the scientific evidence or consensus on which the authors base their recommended policy interventions.  The claim that sugar consumption has tripled worldwide in the past 50 years is flawed. First, the alleged consumption assumes total supply equals human consumption. Total supply includes the amount sold for food plus what is allotted for unsold inventory.
Second, when the comment authors used total supply amounts to estimate consumption, they disregard the fact that reliable estimates of consumption require total supply amounts to be reduced by processing losses and consumer waste (estimated at 29 percent in the U.S.), the practice used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, people are estimated to consume 425 more calories per day than we did 40 years ago. Caloric sweeteners account for only 38 of these calories – just one calorie per year.2 In fact, loss and waste may be underestimated.3
During the same time that consumption of cane and beet sugar was decreasing, the obesity epidemic, which the authors cite as a "marker" for the metabolic dysfunctions that lead to many of these non-communicable diseases, increased.
We consider it irresponsible when health professionals use their platforms to instill fear by using words like "diabetes," "cancer," and even "death," without so much as one disclaimer about the fact that the incomplete science being referenced is inconclusive at best. The authors of the comment conclude their piece by proposing that the government all but takes over our food system. We are confident that the American people are perfectly capable of choosing what foods to eat without stark regulations and unreasonable bans imposed upon them.
There is an obesity problem in our country that can lead to the very serious health issues mentioned in the comment – but it originates from the combination of overconsumption of all foods and lack of exercise. To label a single food as the one and only problem misinforms, misleads and confuses consumers, and simply adds to the problem.
The First Lady said it best when she spoke of her food philosophy and the foundation of her Let's Move! campaign:
“I don't think anything like that needs to be banned. Cupcakes and cookies, when eaten within reason are not bad for you. If that's all kids eat all day, every day – that's when it's bad! A bake sale, dessert – those are special treats. And being healthy isn't about eliminating all the fun stuff. The fun stuff is what makes life worth living, right? What would the world be like with no ice cream, no cupcakes, no French fries, and no hot dogs!”
RH Lustig, LA Schmidt, CD Brindis. The toxic truth about sugar. Nature (2012) 482: 27 – 29 (2 February 2012).
Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture. Loss-adjusted food availability data sets, Food Guide Pyramid Servings spreadsheets. Last ERS update: Last ERS update: February 1, 2011. Available at Accessed January 31, 2012.
MK Muth, SA Karns, SJ Nielson, et al. Consumer-Level Food Loss Estimates and Their Use in the ERS Loss-Adjusted Food Availability Data. Technical Bulletin 1927, Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, January 2011. Available at TB1927.pdf.
Contact: Nicholas A. Pyle Independent Bakers Association 1223 Potomac Street, N.W. Post Office Box 3731 Washington, DC 20027-0231 (202) 333-8190 Fax: (202) 337-3809

Enriched Grains Earn Their Place at the Table

January 20, 2012

A study published this month in the journal Nutrition Reviews confirms what the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have been saying all along: Americans should choose half of their daily grain servings from whole grain sources, leaving the other half for enriched grains, an optimal combo for good health.

After completing a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, the study author found that people who consumed up to half of their daily grain servings from enriched grains faced no increased risk of heart disease, diabetes or weight gain. The study identified these enriched grains as foods such as white bread, rice, cereal and pasta, which is consistent with the DGA recommendations. Put another way, both indicate the average healthy American consuming six one-ounce serving of grains foods daily should choose at least three of those from whole and the remaining from enriched grain sources.

The balance of whole and enriched grains in a healthful diet is necessary because each provides their own unique benefits. Whole grains are a great way to get fiber, magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants while enriched grains are packed with B-vitamins, iron and folic acid, which is critical in preventing birth defects.

As with anything in life, it’s all about balance… and grain foods are no different! Tell us about your favorite way to strike your grains balance.

posted by The Grain Foods Foundation, January, 2012

Study of Existing Literature relating to Consumption of Refined Grains and Health Outcomes

January 13, 2012

We are pleased to share findings from a study published in Nutrition Reviews this month titled, “Evaluation of the evidence between consumption of refined grains and health outcomes.” The author, Peter G. Williams,  reviewed the existing literature surrounding enriched grain consumption and disease and found that people can consume up to half of their daily grain servings from enriched with no increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, weight gain or death.

This was the case so long as the grain products didn’t have high levels of added fat, sodium or sugar, making the findings relevant for foods like bread, cereal and pasta. This conclusion is consistent with our enriched grains messaging and reinforces the recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Source:  Ashley A. Reynolds, MS, RD, LDN
Mullen, Boston, MA

To read more on this study, it can be purchased from the following website:

Cloudy with a Chance of Health

January 12, 2012

Cloudy with a Chance of Health
Excerpts from Baking & Snack Magazine December 2011

...The High fiber and whole-grain food market will reach $25 Billion by 2015....

...There may not be any revolutionary trends on the horizon for 2012 quite yet, but  it's widely expected that movements toward functional, better-for-you food options and natural ingredients will gain strength in the coming year...

...Contributing factors to these trends include the concern over childhood obesity and an aging population.  Food manufacturers also have to contend with higher commodity prices, inflationary pressures and a lagging economy that gives little indication of picking up in the new year....

..."With the economy the way it is, people are looking for good value at a good price", said Judi Adams, president, Grain Foods Foundation ( "They're trying to make the least expensive meals possible and provide some nutrition for their families"....

...Functional foods provide a vehicle for nutrients such as fiber, protein, vitamin D and probiotics - just to name some of the extras that will grab people's attention in 2012....

...Craig Bair, PhD, president, Food Solutions, Inc., Greensboro, NC says "There is a huge desire for healthier lifestyles....Seniors want to live longer and healthier.  They want to be able to do more things".  He also believes "the focus for the coming year is really going to be on using natural nutrients versus fortified"....

...Fiber and whole grains, known for aiding digestive health, weight loss and heart health, easily fit into baked goods....

,,,International Dairy, Deli, Bakery Associations's "What's in Store 2012" reported that 52% of US households consume whole-wheat bread vs. white bread on a regular basis.  Cynthia Harriman, Whole Grains Council president, says she believes this is because of not only the well-documented health benefits but also the maturing Ameican consumer's palate.  Consumers choose whole-wheat first for its health benefits then find white bread to be bland in flavor once they try to back to it, Ms. Harriman said.

...Just because healthy is trendy doesn't mean consumers won't respond negatively to changes in taste, texture and mouthfeel...

...More education and awareness about the ingredients in food, whether the education is good or bad, leaves consumers searching for foods with specific positive and negative nutrients as well as natural or "real" ingredients vs. artificial preservatives and colors.  That is, of course, if the price is right...

Bread, We "Toast" You

November 23, 2011

Bread, We ‘Toast’ You! 

Bread dates back to the Neolithic era and was one of the first man-made foods that existed, rightly earning it the “staff of life” moniker. Once discovered, bread quickly became a part of everyday life, with most cultures creating their own bread-making traditions and developing hundreds of types of breads that can still be enjoyed today. Even now, bread remains just as important to our diet and culture as it was centuries ago.

Today the USDA recommends the average healthy adult consume at least six one-ounce servings of grains daily as part of a healthy diet, with half coming from enriched and half from whole. And, what better way to meet your daily six than with bread?  In addition to being a good source of energy, it’s an affordable, delicious way to get essential B vitamins (including folic acid), vitamin E, magnesium, iron, fiber, and disease-fighting antioxidants and phytonutrients.

In fact, enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid in Americans’ diets. In 1998, the Food & Drug Administration mandated that enriched flour be fortified with folic acid in an effort to reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects. Since this time, enriched grains have helped reduce the incidence of neural tube defects by approximately one-third.  Because of this, in 2011, the CDC named folic acid fortification of enriched grains as one of top ten public health achievements of the last decade.

Here are a few more reasons to celebrate bread this month:

•Enriched grains contain twice the amount of folic acid as their whole grain counterparts.
•Additionally, folic acid has been linked to decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and even some cancers.
•Whole grains, as part of a healthful diet, may reduce the risks associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity.

Source:  The Grain Food Foundation's newsletter, Nov. 2011

Fiber Gets No Respect

September 23, 2011

Fiber Gets No Respect
Excerpts from Refresh - A Whole Health Blog written by Jeff Wells May 21st, 2010

.....Fiber is just that: an important nutrient that gets no respect. Studies have venerated it time and again, linking it to everything from cancer to heart disease and digestive problems. And still, most people think of it as that most boring of nutrients....

... though in recent years food manufacturers have undertaken the admirable task of proving that fiber can be so much more. Bread companies tout fiber on their packaging, even going so far as to roll out “double fiber” varieties.... It’s a classic case of building demand around solid science.

Despite these efforts, consumers still view fiber grudgingly. According to a new study from the research firm Mintel, 27% of them think it has an unpleasant taste, and 25% think it’s only necessary for those suffering digestive problems. Thirty percent say they try to get enough fiber in their diets, but surveys show that nowhere close to that number actually do.

You could call this a hopeless situation. Or you could call it a marketing challenge. Let’s go with the latter, especially when you consider the recent success in selling whole grains, another vital nutrient that had a less-than-stellar image. If marketers and food scientists could give that ugly duckling — commonly referred to as tasting “like cardboard” — a makeover, then surely there’s hope yet for fiber.

Grain-Based Groups Pleased with MyPlate Icon

June 17, 2011


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

New Food Icon - MyPlate

June 03, 2011


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, 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

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