Share facts about health, nutritious wheat foods with consumers
Humans have been eating wheat for thousands of years. Around the world, every day, wheat is the source of 20 percent of all the calories we consume. Recently, however, self-promoting doctors stretching way beyond their expertise have been selling books by claiming gluten in wheat flour is the primary cause of obesity and related diseases such as diabetes. Others claim to show that all grains are the underlying cause of general inflammation and cognitive dysfunction, even Alzheimer’s disease.
Sadly, more and more people who want simple answers to their fears about weight, self-image and future risk of disease are turning away from wheat foods (especially those fortunate enough to have the disposable income to worry about such matters). As a noted U.S. psychologist recently wrote: “Entire companies, stores and restaurants have discovered a marketing strategy that works to get us to buy their gluten-free products in supermarkets or eat in their shops and restaurants ... a new way to prey on the psyches of consumers.”
The truth is that a person who truly needs to eat gluten free has a very serious medical condition known as celiac disease. Moreover, eating gluten free food for the rest of us denies our bodies of complex and rich carbohydrates necessary for hunger satiety, digestion, stamina and fuel during exercise.
U.S. Wheat Associates and the wheat farmers we represent share the specific concerns about what Oklahoma State University wheat breeder Brett Carver calls “gluten-oia.” In addition, we share the more general concern of our customers about the often conflicting and sometimes suspect nutritional information about foods made from wheat.
Fortunately, there are many sensible, science-based studies supporting the fact that wheat and grain foods play an important role in the human diet. Here is some information that you can share with your customers and acquaintances:
Consuming grain foods helps with weight maintenance. In fact, a July 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association shows that those who consume a medium-to-high percentage of carbohydrates in their diet have a reduced risk of obesity.
Grain foods are a major source of iron, a key nutrient in energy production and release.
Enriched grains are the primary source of folic acid and help to reduce specific types of neural tube birth defects.
Enriched grains provide our bodies with essential B vitamins (niacin, thiamine and riboflavin), which collectively help maintain a healthy nervous system and increase energy production, and which may help lower cholesterol.
Whole grains are naturally low in fat.
Whole grains contain important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium, which collectively may help boost immunity, lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber.
Whole grains lower the risk of irritable bowel syndrome and diverticular disease.
For more information and other resources about wheat and grain food nutrition, visit the Wheat Foods Council at www.wheatfoods.org, the Grain Foods Foundation at www.goforthegrain.org or www.grainsforyourbrain.org.