Whole grain intakes in Irish adults findings from the National Adults Nutrition Survey (NANS)

Clare B O'Donovan, Niamh F Devlin, Maria Buffini, Janette Walton, Albert Flynn, Michael J Gibney, Anne P Nugent, Breige A McNulty

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PURPOSE: Observational studies link high whole grain intakes to reduced risk of many chronic diseases. This study quantified whole grain intakes in the Irish adult population and examined the major contributing sources. It also investigated potential dietary strategies to improve whole grain intakes.

METHODS: Whole grain intakes were calculated in a nationally representative sample of 1500 Irish adults using data from the most recent national food survey, the National Adult Nutrition Survey (NANS). Food consumption was assessed, at brand level where possible, using a 4-day semi-weighed food diary with whole grain content estimated from labels on a dry matter basis.

RESULTS: Mean daily whole grain intakes were 27.8 ± 29.4 g/day, with only 19% of the population meeting the quantity-specific recommendation of 48 g per day. Wheat was the highest contributor to whole grain intake at 66%, followed by oats at 26%. High whole grain intakes were associated with higher dietary intakes of fibre, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and a higher alternative Mediterranean Diet Score. Whole grain foods were most frequently eaten at breakfast time. Regression analysis revealed that consumption of an additional 10 g of whole grain containing 'ready-to-eat breakfast cereals', 'rice or pastas', or 'breads' each day would increase intake of whole grains by an extra 5, 3.5, and 2.7 g, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: This study reveals low intakes of whole grains in Irish adults. Recommending cereals, breads, and grains with higher whole grain content as part of public health campaigns could improve whole grain intakes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Early online date20 Jan 2018
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Jan 2018


  • Journal Article


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