Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Eating Well
Using the Whole Grain Stamp can help consumers get the grains they need
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, nutrition and health education specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension
Whole grains add a nutritional punch to your diet. They are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. They can also be a great source of fiber and it’s widely accepted that eating whole grains regularly reduces the risk of heart disease, some types of cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Fiber has its own healthful benefits, which includes digestive health and helping you feel full longer.
A helpful way to keep track of how many whole grains you’re eating is by looking for the Whole Grain Stamp. It is gold and black and looks similar to a postage stamp, but has an item’s whole grain information on it. There are two different types of the stamp — the Basic Stamp and the 100 percent Stamp. The Basic Stamp means that a product contains at least 8 grams, or a half serving, of whole grain. In addition to whole grain, the product may also contain refined grains. The 100 percent Stamp means all of the product’s ingredients are whole grains. Products with a 100 percent Stamp must have at least 16 grams, or a full serving, of whole grain.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend that you make half of their daily grain servings whole grains. That means you should try to eat 48 grams, or three servings, of whole grains per day. The Whole Grain Stamp can help you determine how many whole grains a product has and how many servings of a product you should eat to consume the recommended daily amount of whole grains.
If the package does not have a Whole Grain stamp but you think it contains whole grains, look at the ingredient list. If the word “whole” is in front of the grain or the first ingredient is a whole grain, you can be assured there is at least some whole grain in the product.
Food labels are not required to have the Whole Grain stamp. Next time you buy bread or cereal, look for the stamp or check the ingredient list to make sure you are getting 48 grams of whole grains per day.
Last update: Friday, June 19, 2009