Study Shows Breads and Cereals Contribute to Many Nutrients Older Americans Are Missing

According to the Grain Foods Foundation, a new study published in the journal, Nutrients, and presented at The American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting (AGS18), shows that grain foods pack a significant punch of the nutrients older Americans need most. Presently, more than a third of the American population is over 50 years old.  Yet the diets of many individuals in this population fall short in several nutrients defined by government health experts as necessary for healthy aging.  The study presented at AGS18 shows that eating a variety of grain foods regularly (in addition to other nutrient-rich foods like fruits and vegetables), helps contribute to nutrient density in the total diet.

Under-consumed nutrients are called “shortfall nutrients” and include vitamins A, D, E, C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, potassium and iron.  Under-consumption of these nutrients has been associated with adverse health outcomes.  In this study, researchers looked closely at what older American are eating – or not – to contribute to the growing issue of shortfall nutrients.

The findings show that older Americans need to think twice before cutting bread from their diets. Specifically:

  • Grain foods pack more of a nutrient punch than a fat or caloric one in older Americans.
    • All grain foods contributed less than five percent of total saturated fat and less than 15 percent of all calories in the total diet.
    • Yet grain foods contribute a whopping amount of under-consumed shortfall nutrients and nutrients of public health concern such as dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, niacin, and thiamin.
  • Breads, rolls and tortillas are contributors of daily need for thiamin, niacin, dietary fiber, folate, and iron. Ready-to-eat cereals contribute iron, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.

Read the full study here.