What minerals are there in America

The increasing prevalence of a gluten-free diet can be associated with a lack of important nutrients

Summary

  • Whether due to increased awareness of the role of gluten in celiac disease or its popularized association with other health problems, the gluten-free diet has become a major nutritional trend in the US and, increasingly, worldwide
  • A new study published in Nutrients confirms that Americans do not have a high-grain diet and, as a result, do not get enough essential nutrients such as fiber, folate, calcium, and others
  • Food manufacturers should consider adding a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to foods for people on a gluten-free diet

Be it due to increased awareness of the role of gluten in celiac disease or its popularized association with other health problems, the gluten-free diet has become a major nutritional trend in the US and, increasingly, worldwide. According to a Forbes article, 3.1 million people are gluten-free in the US alone - 72% of those people are classified as non-celiac. Since 2009, the number of Americans on a gluten-free diet has tripled.

The increasing spread of the gluten-free diet - as well as the continuing popularity of low-carbohydrate diets - has led to a decline in the consumption of cereal dishes such as bread, rolls, tortillas and ready-to-eat cereals. Restricting the consumption of cereal foods comes with an important source of essential nutrients that many Americans do not get in sufficient quantities. A new study published in Nutrients confirms that Americans do not have a high-grain diet and, as a result, do not get enough essential nutrients such as fiber, folate, calcium, and others.

“Whether enriched or not, all grain foods are an integral part of American nutritional practices,” explain study authors Yanni Papanikolaou and Victor L. Fulgoni III. According to the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) 2015-2020, Americans should consume around 170 grams of grain with a daily energy intake of 2000 calories, half of which should be whole grains. However, most people's diet does not follow these recommendations in any way. On average, Americans only consume around 28 grams of grain per day.

Several conclusions can be drawn from the study by Papanikolaou and Fulgoni. First of all, that bread may have an unjustifiably bad reputation. For consumers who choose not to consume grain products for medical reasons, the key is to moderate bread and grain-based products. The authors point out that bread products can provide more than 10% of the daily requirement of adults in fiber, folate and iron and at the same time contain less than 9% sodium, 4% total fat and 3% saturated fat. There is therefore no reason to remove these foods from the menu. Ready-to-eat cereals that contribute only a small part of the daily requirement of calories, sodium, total sugar, total fat and saturated fat, but at the same time supply the body with important nutrients such as folate, iron, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, zinc and the most important vitamins all the more noteworthy here.

Grain foods contribute 20% fiber, folic acid and iron as well as 10% calcium, magnesium and vitamin A to the diet. The study also points to the possibility of adding the nutrients normally found in cereal dishes to gluten-free staple foods. The market for gluten-free foods is growing, as shown by the sales of gluten-free foods, which rose by 12.6 percent in 2016, according to Euromonitor. For this reason, manufacturers should consider adding the following vitamins, minerals and nutrients to foods for people who are gluten-free or whose diet simply does not meet the DGA recommendations:

Fiber
Folate (vitamin B9)
iron
calcium
magnesium
Retinol (vitamin A)
Thiamine (vitamin B1)
zinc
Niacin (vitamin B3)

These are essential nutrients that play an important role in body functions, from muscle contraction and nerve transmission to bone formation and enzyme activity. For consumers who do not want or cannot integrate cereal foods into their diet, alternatives enriched with important nutrients are available as a special part of the market for gluten-free foods.