USA – The Grain Foods Foundation (GFF) has launched a plea for clarity in dietary guidelines concerning grain-based foods, urging the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Committee to distinguish between staple and indulgent grain products. 

The move comes amid concerns over the portrayal of refined, enriched grains in public health messaging and its potential impacts on nutrition security and advocacy.

Erin Ball, Executive Director of the GFF, penned a letter to Janet M. de Jesus at the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, articulating the foundation’s worries and urging a nuanced approach to grain-based foods in dietary recommendations. 

In the missive, Ball emphasized the need to recognize the nutritional disparities between staple and indulgent grain options.

While previous Dietary Guidelines for Americans have recommended making half your grains whole, refined, enriched grains are persistently mischaracterized in research and maligned in dialogue about nutritious foods and healthy dietary patterns,” the letter stated.

Backing their claims with data from 30 academic studies, the GFF underscored the importance of distinguishing between staple and indulgent grain foods, highlighting their distinct nutritional profiles and contributions to daily intake.

Contrary to popular belief, the GFF asserted that when studied individually, refined grain foods show no significant associations with diet-related health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, or type 2 diabetes. 

However, an expert panel recommended limiting indulgent grain foods due to their higher levels of calories, added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.

In addition to advocating for clarity in dietary guidelines, the GFF urged the Committee to consider the diverse eating patterns of various population subgroups. 

Emphasizing the importance of grain foods in providing critical nutrients, particularly for vulnerable populations like women of childbearing age, the foundation warned against the unintended consequences of maligning grain-based foods.

The letter also addressed the need to remove barriers to accessing culturally significant foods and highlighted the role of grain foods in combating nutrient inadequacies, such as fiber deficiency.

Ball announced plans to file the letter online at regulations.gov, alongside other comments on the issue, signaling the GFF’s commitment to advancing the dialogue on grain-based foods and public health. 

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