A new study published in the journal “Nutrients” shows that bread and cereals help contribute to nutrient density in the total diet when regularly consumed by older adults, in addition to other nutrient-dense foods, according to research undertaken in the US.
Although existing dietary guidance recommends an increase in shortfall nutrients and nutrients of public health concern, predominantly through food consumption, gaps in nutrient intakes persist in older US adults, the researchers Yanni Papanikolaou and Victor L. Fulgoni conclude.
The researchers explain that healthy aging is multifactorial, but nutrition is one of the key determinants of successful aging. Thus, adequate intake of macronutrients and micronutrients represents a key factor in healthy aging. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) identified under-consumed nutrients as shortfall nutrients and included vitamins A, D, E, C, folate, calcium, magnesium, fiber, potassium, and iron in specific populations.
The current sources of energy and nutrients analyses show that cumulatively, a variety of grain foods, regularly consumed by older American adults, in addition to other nutrient-dense foods, including fruits and vegetables, help contribute to nutrient density in the total diet.
Specifically, grain foods are contributors (≥10% in the total diet) of the 2015–2020 DGA under-consumed shortfall nutrients and nutrients of public health concern, including dietary fiber, folate, magnesium, calcium and iron, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B12, niacin, and thiamin.
The subcategory of breads, rolls, and tortillas are contributors of daily thiamin, niacin, dietary fiber, folate, and iron, while ready-to-eat cereals contribute iron, folate, thiamin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
“Based on the current data presented, encouraging certain grain food patterns in older U.S. adults, including selecting a mix of whole-, enriched- and fortified-grains, from breads, and cereals, may improve nutrient intakes and minimize gaps in shortfall nutrient intakes. In contrast, eliminating grains, especially refined grains, from the diet may lead to unintended nutrient intake consequences,” the study shows.
Developing dietary strategies that are mindful of recommended caloric needs, while monitoring nutrients to limit (i.e., added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat) can benefit from the inclusion of refined/enriched and whole grain selections in the U.S. diet.