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Abstract

The U.S. Government is promoting whole-grain foods, responding to mounting evidence of their association with maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of heart problems and other diseases. This study compared Americans’ consumption of grains with the recommendations in the Government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines, using data from USDA’s Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, 1994-96 and 1998. The analysis confirmed a national preference for refined grains—only 7 percent of survey respondents met the 2005 whole-grain recommendation. The authors compared grain consumption by economic and demographic characteristics of consumers, and also examined the effects of consumers’ social, economic, and demographic characteristics and dietary perceptions and practices. The results suggest that consumers who perceive grain consumption as important and read food labels during shopping tend to eat more whole grains than other people. When data from more recent surveys are analyzed, results of the present study can serve as a baseline from which to gauge changes in the American diet and the consumption of whole grains.

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