Launched in November 2012, the Healthy Grains Institute is a not-for-profit institute funded by several members of the Canadian bread industry and guided by an independent scientific advisory council. At www.healthygrains.ca, Canadians will find a wealth of information about the gluten-free diet, wheat, and the health and nutritional benefits of whole grains. Its purpose is not to promote one type of diet over another, but to provide Canadians with balanced science-based information they can trust so that they can make educated dietary choices.
Celiac disease affects 1% of the population, and up to 6% might have gluten sensitivity. These individuals must follow a gluten-free diet to manage their symptoms, as there is no cure for celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, for those who do not have these specific conditions, scientific studies support a nutritious diet consisting of a variety of foods, including whole grains. For example, because whole grain foods are a good source of fibre, they provide bulk to stools, help prevent constipation, increase the feeling of fullness, and interact positively with the bacteria inside the gut to promote healthy digestion.1
The Healthy Grains Institute is also concerned by the increasing number of unsubstantiated weight-loss claims made by celebrity ‘authorities’ that promote fad diets eliminating whole grains entirely. There is no existing scientific data to support a weight loss claim for a gluten-free diet. Conversely, researchers have found evidence to support the positive role whole grains play in weight management. Specifically, those who include whole grains as part of a healthy, well-balanced diet are less likely to gain weight over time.2
Healthy Grains Institute’s mandate is to continue to inform Canadians on this topic and call for ongoing research on the role of whole grains in human health.