Young men need to go with grain
GroundCover™ Issue: 120 | Author: Rebecca Williams, nutrition communications officer, Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council
A 2014 Grains and Legumes Consumption study has highlighted that most young Australian men are not eating enough high-quality grains and may be missing out on essential nutrients required for energy, health and vitality as a consequence.
This finding suggests that young men have the greatest room for improvement when it comes to choosing high-quality carbohydrate foods such as grain foods, yet this demographic is often overlooked when it comes to health messages.
The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) study further showed that only 10 per cent of young males are meeting the recommendation to consume grain foods three to four times per day, with at least half of these servings containing wholegrain or high-fibre grain foods.
For many young men, access to, or a preference for, low-quality grain foods instead of more nutritious core grain foods, such as breads, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta and noodles, appears to be contributing to the problem.
A 2014 Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey showed that about a third of young men’s total grain food consumption was low in nutrients, such as pizza, meat pies and hamburgers.
Both the ABS survey and the GLNC study further showed that about 40 per cent of young men consumed less than one of the three daily servings of wholegrain foods recommended.
However, for young men looking to get in shape this summer and keep the weight off, healthy eating with a focus on nutrient-rich wholegrain or high-fibre grain foods can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Whole grains have become a routine inclusion in the meals of elite endurance athletes such as professional cyclists. Whole grains contain all of the original nutrients and parts of the grain seed.
As a performance fuel they naturally contain the fibre, minerals, phytonutrients and vitamins needed to keep the body functioning at a high level while also managing weight and stabilising blood sugar.
High-quality grain foods, which can assist in reducing weight and provide other health benefits, such as decreased disease risk, are as follows: choosing to eat oats or a wholegrain breakfast cereal in the morning; opting for a sandwich with wholemeal or multigrain bread for lunch; and choosing to eat rice or pasta as part of dinner.
GRDC Project Code GGO00009