Current standards for classifying foods as “whole grain” are inconsistent and, in some cases, misleading, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers. The Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely used industry standards, actually identified grain products that were higher in both sugars and calories than products without the stamp. The researchers urge adoption of a consistent, evidence-based standard for labeling whole-grain foods to help consumers and organizations make healthy choices. This study is the first to empirically evaluate the healthfulness of whole-grain foods based on five commonly used industry and government definitions.“Given the significant prevalence of refined grains, starches, and sugars in modern diets, [having] a unified criterion to identify higher-quality carbohydrates is a key priority in public health,” said first author Rebecca Mozaffarian, project manager in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at HSPH.The study appeared in the Jan. 4 online edition of Public Health Nutrition.The health benefits of switching from refined to whole-grain foods are well established, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes. Based on this evidence, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans consume at least three servings of whole-grain products daily, and the new U.S. national school lunch standards require that at least half of all grains be whole-grain rich. However, no single standard exists for defining any product as a “whole grain.”Mozaffarian and her colleagues assessed five different industry and government guidelines for whole-grain products:The Whole Grain Stamp, a packaging symbol for products containing at least 8 grams of whole grains per serving (created by the Whole Grain Council, a nongovernmental organization supported by industry dues)Any whole grain as the first-listed ingredient (recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate and the Food and Drug Administration’s Consumer Health Information guide)Any whole grain as the first ingredient without added sugars in the first three ingredients (also recommended by USDA’s MyPlate)The word “whole” before any grain anywhere in the ingredient list (recommended by USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010)The “10:1 ratio,” a ratio of total carbohydrate to fiber of less than 10 to 1, which is approximately the ratio of carbohydrate to fiber in whole-wheat flour (recommended by the American Heart Association’s 2020 Goals)From two major U.S. grocers, the researchers identified a total of 545 grain products in eight categories: breads, bagels, English muffins, cereals, crackers, cereal bars, granola bars, and chips. They collected nutrition content, ingredient lists, and the presence or absence of the Whole Grain Stamp on product packages from all of these products.They found that grain products with the Whole Grain Stamp, one of the most widely used front-of-package symbols, were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, but also contained significantly more sugar and calories compared with products without the stamp. The three USDA recommended criteria also had mixed performance for identifying healthier grain products. Overall, the American Heart Association’s standard (a ratio of total carbohydrate to fiber of equal or less than 10-to-1) proved to be the best indicator of overall healthfulness. Products meeting this ratio were higher in fiber and lower in trans fats, sugar, and sodium, without higher calories, than products that did not meet the ratio.“Our results will help inform national discussions about product labeling, school lunch programs, and guidance for consumers and organizations in their attempts to select whole-grain products,” said senior author Steven Gortmaker, professor of the practice of health sociology.Other HSPH authors included researchers Rebekka Lee and Mary Kennedy; Dariush Mozaffarian, associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology; and David Ludwig, professor in the Department of Nutrition.Support for the study was provided by the Donald and Sue Pritzker Nutrition and Fitness Initiative; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Prevention Research Centers grant, including the Nutrition and Obesity Policy, Research and Evaluation Network); the New Balance Foundation; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.
McGeady turned in arguably the best performance of his international career on a night when he collected his 70th cap, and he undoubtedly made the difference between two well-matched sides in a game which see-sawed throughout. Victory extended the Republic’s 100 per cent record against Georgia to six games and will send them into next month’s double-header against minnows Gibraltar and group favourites Germany brimming with confidence. By contrast, Temuri Ketsbaia’s men face the prospect of having to lift themselves for a tough trip to Scotland with their account empty. O’Neill surprised a few by naming Hull midfielder Stephen Quinn in the centre of his midfield five, with Stoke striker Jon Walters lining up on the right and McGeady occupying the left-wing berth earmarked for James McClean before he was ruled out by injury. Central defender Solomon Kverkvelia had to hack away a first-minute Walters cross at full-stretch, and Guram Kashia had to be equally alert 18 minutes later after McGeady had tricked his way past wing-back Ucha Lobzhanidze and sent a teasing ball into the middle. Georgia gradually eased their way into the game and after David Forde, preferred in goal to 38-year-old Shay Given, had managed to get just enough on Nikoloz Gelashvili’s rasping drive, Lobzhanidze came close to connecting with Kverkvelia’s flick-on at the far post. But they fell behind within seconds when, after Walters climbed into an aerial challenge, Robbie Keane allowed the ball to run to James McCarthy and he drew his man before sliding McGeady in to finish with ease. O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane leapt from the bench in celebration – but their joy was to be short-lived. Press Association The Republic looked likely to have to settle for a point at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena in Tbilisi after Tornike Okriashvili’s piledriver had cancelled out McGeady 24th-minute opener. But with time running down, the Everton winger – who worked under O’Neill during his time as Celtic manager – curled home a 90th-minute winner which ensured Ireland headed back to Dublin with the opening night win upon which they had set their hearts. Skipper Jaba Kankava saw a 34th-minute strike deflected just wide but Georgia were level within four minutes when Okriashvili picked up possession on the right and after turning away from John O’Shea – the only survivor from Ireland’s last visit to the city in 2003 – and then Stephen Ward, thumped a dipping effort over Forde and into the net. I Georgia returned determined to regain the momentum with which they had ended the first half and committed men to the search for an early lead. Robbie Keane hacked away an Okriashvili effort in the 52nd minute, then Forde too had to be on his toes to clutch Jano Ananidze’s low cross to his chest seconds later with Gelashvili looming. But it was opposite number Roin Kvashvadze, a half-time replacement for Giorgi Loria, who threw himself desperately to his left as McGeady curled a shot inches wide from a well-worked 57th-minute free-kick. Keane scuffed a volley harmlessly out of play at the far post, before McGeady cut inside and forced Kvashvadze to pluck the ball from underneath his crossbar. However, as the game entered the closing stages, it was the Georgians who were building up a head of steam, and O’Neill responded with 14 minutes remaining by replacing Quinn and Keane with Robbie Brady and Shane Long in a bid to add new vigour to his attack. In the meantime, McGeady had squandered yet another opportunity when he lashed at a dropping ball on the edge of the penalty area, slicing it wide when greater composure might have served him better. However, he made no mistake when presented with another chance with seconds of normal time remaining, accepting Seamus Coleman’s pass before stepping on to his left foot and curled home a precious winner. Aiden McGeady launched Martin O’Neill’s competitive reign as Republic of Ireland boss in style with a match-winning Euro 2016 qualifier double in Georgia.