How to Diet: Americans Need to Switch to Whole Grains

Our consumption of breads, bagels, cereal, pasta, rice, crackers, granola bars, pizza, burritos, wraps, pretzels, paninis, cookies, scones, muffins, and other grain foods is still going gangbusters. All told, we eat 109 pounds of flour per year. Thanks to the rise in corn flour, that’s not too far from the 116-pound peak of 2000 (right before the low-carb craze).


We need to switch to whole grains…and cut back on all grains.


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26 Replies to “How to Diet: Americans Need to Switch to Whole Grains”

  1. My understanding of the optimal compliment of grains in the diet agrees with yours. But your article would be stronger if you explained WHY grain consumption reduction is desirable. Further, it would be more useful if it offered a target amount as well.

      1. 80% of corn is GMO ? Other than it’s unhealthy’ could you share your insight as to whats unhealthy about it and how different is it ?

  2. We need to switch to whole grains…and cut back on all grains.

    yes, yes and and FINISH THE THOUGHT without making me go yet another screen……….Thank you

    1. Actually, less is correct here. You would say, “This multi-grain bagel would taste better with fewer grains.” Meaning types of grain. The point of the article is consuming less grain, as a single category of food, as in less dairy.

  3. Yes – greatly reduce consumption of sugars (sucrose,fructose…, particularly as added in processed foods and drinks – but why reduce grain consumption, (containing starch but also many other nutrients -protein, vitamins, fiber…)? Even refined flour contains significant protein (10-12%) and is enriched with critical vitamins, minerals). The much recommended Mediterranean Diet – as practiced in Mediterranean countries – is based on bread and pasta made from refined flour. Vegetables and fruits are great sources of vitamins and minerals but because of their high fiber and water content (85-90%)they are not good sources of energy or protein. Their bulky nature makes them an ideal weight- loss diet component.
    E. Donefer (retired McGill U. – Agriculture and Nutrition)

  4. I agree with what Eugene says, though, I do avoid refined flour. What no one has mentioned is level of exercise. Every day I power walk 5-6 miles wearing a 20 lb waist belt. I easily burn off the carbs I get from my high fiber grains. Someone who gets little or no exercise probably should limit their grain intake. Bonnie Liebman’s article is interesting but incomplete when she doesn’t look at overall lifestyle behaviors.

  5. Interesting. How about explaining WHY people need to eat more Whole Grains and fewer grains. How do whole grains help your body rather than bleached low nutrient, white flour? I read an article that white flour contributes to macular degeneration. I think that’s pretty scary and will get peoples’ attention. It got mine.

    According to
    “Foods that contain refined starches and are high in sugar can be damaging to vision. A study by TUFTS UNIVERSITY showed that high-glycemic foods cause a dramatic rise in blood sugar, which over time, may damage the retina and capillaries in the eye by promoting oxidative stress and inflammation. Soda and sugary drinks, candy, baked goods, some cereals, white rice, foods made with white flour, such as white bread and pasta, should be avoided.”

    Thank you.

  6. It would help if people re-learned how to prepare grains optimally for health and digestion, by soaking, sprouting and using sourdoughs… see traditional grain preparations for more

  7. Large percentage of Americans eat more grains then we actual need. I work in the field of Nutrition and part of my job is working with individuals recording their food intake. Most of my clients eat way to many bread products and not enough vegetables or fruit. Of course their choices are refined products because they are cheaper and quick and easy to consume. We should be eating 5 to 6 servings of grains a day and half of them should be whole. The serving sizes are smaller then what most people realize. I get alot of people that eat up to 12 grains or more a day and not whole either. That is a lot of carbs and processed foods.

    1. Fruit and vegetables are, on the whole, more expensive than grain, except when it comes to the “exotics” and newly “hot”, such as quinoa.

  8. Why eliminate grains indeed!! There are many wonderful whole grains loaded with nutrients the body needs that many people never try. For example, bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, barley, wild rice, and many more. Enjoy whole grains, they are delicious, and GOOD FOR YOU!!

  9. Bottom line, even if you eat a diet of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and low-fat dairy, PORTION CONTROL IS KEY!

  10. Please sees Dr. John McDougall’s the Starch Diet. He makes a powerful case that we should be eating More whole grains, not less., along with our eating lots of fruits and veggies. And avoiding white flour and sugar.

  11. America needs to understand that once the whole grain has been powdered into flour, it is no longer a whole grain. It will have a spiking effect on blood sugar. If we eat the whole grain….in a form where we can see the grain…we will be healthier and happier! and get all the goodness that Nature intended for us.

  12. In the nutrition point of wiev yes,it is right for you but not for me . In the food safety point of wiev. %50 of the total wheat grain production in USA is going to animal feed industry not to food industry. why? it is fusarium toxin problem. on other hand %50 of fusarium toxins removed from grains together with kepek(selluloze)in refining process for white flour poduction. Now, what is your decision?

  13. My understanding about whole grains is that they are still considered whole grains even when ground into flour because nothing has been taken out (unless of course it’s white flour). Whole wheat flour still has all of it’s parts, which is why we can still label it as whole wheat – the operative word being whole. However, it is digested more quickly than the whole wheat berry grain because it has been ground.

  14. Is the rice you refer to in the brief article all rice or just white rice? Is brown rice considered a whole grain?
    (grammar police – back off please)

  15. I gave up flour and sugar in 2008 and lost 110 pounds and have kept it off since 2009. I firmly believe flour and sugar are killers. So long as I abstain from them I have no problem maintaining a weight 125 I haven’t been at since 6th grade and I was 48 when I started. Someone above posted that ground grains, flour, is no longer a whole grain and that is true! Sugar Blues wrote about it in 1971 and the American diet has gotten steadily worse since then. Not only do flour and sugar spike blood sugar and contribute to diabetes but they are addictive so people want more and more. Believe it or not its easier to ban it than control it.

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