For the last couple of years, whole grains have been in the limelight when it comes to healthy diets and nutrition. Their growing popularity isn’t just a passing fancy jump-started by nutritionists and self-proclaimed experts.
Namely, whole grains boast many different health benefits, as they provide significant amounts of dietary fiber, essential vitamins, and trace minerals, along with considerable amounts of protein and complex carbohydrates.
As such, this list of whole-grain statistics aims to bring you a comprehensive overview of the industry, benefits, usage trends, market projections, and consumption statistics.
Top 10 Whole-Grain Statistics and Facts
- Whole grains have all three parts of the grain intact.
- The whole-grain pasta market in Italy is huge, with an accumulated sales value of around 21,4 million euros in 2018 only.
- Whole-grain consumption statistics show that around 13,000 different products carried the Whole-Grain Stamp in July 2020.
- Whole-grain pasta packs a significantly larger amount of fiber per serving than its refined counterpart.
- Bulgur wheat is loaded with thiamine, which is highly beneficial for the nervous and digestive systems.
- The high fiber and whole-grain market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% between 2018–2028.
- In the 2013–2016 period, whole grains accounted for around 15.8% of the total grains intake among US adults daily.
- Whole-grain consumption demographics show that women, in general, consume more whole-grain products than men.
- Whole grains are high in fiber and nutrients.
- Half a cup of whole-grain oats contains 150 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.
General Whole Wheat Facts and Statistics
1. Whole grains have all three parts of the grain intact.
Either in their usual or ground form, whole grains consist of the bran (outer layer), germ (embryo), and endosperm (food supply).
Their refined counterparts usually retain less of the nutrients in comparison to whole-grain foods.
2. Whole wheat and whole oats are among the most popular options.
Other sources include brown rice, whole rye, freekeh, whole-grain barley, buckwheat, bulgur, quinoa, and corn.
3. Whole grains are mostly used for preparing different foods.
A wide variety of whole-grain breads, pasta, and other food items are made with whole grains. Foods made with these grains are held as more nutrient-dense than the refined alternatives since they tend to have more trace minerals, vitamins, and fiber.
Whole grains also have additional phytochemicals that are believed to help reduce the risk of diseases.
Whole-Grain Products: Statistics and Facts
4. The whole-grain pasta market in Italy is huge, with an accumulated sales value of around 21,4 million euros in 2018 only.
When looking at the entire organic whole-grain pasta market by type, there are three primary sources (whole-grain, spelt, kamut).
The first type had the most sales in 2018. However, spelt could accumulate approximately 8.6 million euros, while kamut managed to generate a sales value of a little over 9 million euros.
5. The whole-grain industry is growing, with around 13,000 different products carrying the Whole Grain Stamp in July 2020.
According to the Whole Grains Council’s latest statistics, the products are available in 63 countries, and around 27% of them are sold outside the US market.
6. In 2018, the demand for whole-grain pasta in Italy grew by 12%.
The Italian whole-grain market was also forecasted to see an additional 18% increase in the demand for whole wheat pasta in the forthcoming years, according to expert accounts in Dubai at the 20th World Pasta Day, an event organized by the International Pasta Organization.
7. Whole-grain pasta packs a significantly larger amount of fiber per serving than its refined counterpart.
When looking at whole grains vs. refined grains, we can observe a few pretty interesting things. For instance, one cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti packs only 174 calories, while refined spaghetti tops that with 220 kcal.
When looking at protein content, whole wheat has a respectable 7.5 grams, while the refined option 8.1. Carbohydrate content is also higher for the refined pasta (43 grams, and 37 grams for whole wheat).
However, the whole wheat option has six grams of fiber per cup compared to the refined product’s 2.5 grams. The same trend goes for fat content, with the whole wheat pasta having only 0.8 grams of fat, in contrast to the 1.3 grams that the refined pasta packs.
All in all, whole-grain pasta is higher in manganese, selenium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus, with a lower calorie, fat, carb, and higher overall fiber content. Pasta made from refined grains, on the other hand, had a higher content of iron and B vitamins.
8. Teff—the ancient grain—has seen a rise in popularity in Europe over the past decade.
(CBI Ministry Of Foreign Affairs)
Europe has seen significant growth when it comes to the market demand in special and niche cereals throughout the last decade.
When it comes to different whole-grain types, teff had seen a rise in import growth from 6,200 tons in 2013 to 7,800 tons in 2017.
9. Quinoa imports have almost tripled in Europe between 2013–2017.
(CBI Ministry Of Foreign Affairs)
As the whole-grain food market managed to break more ground in the old continents, quinoa imports have grown from 9,300 tons to a staggering 27,000 tons in the above period.
10. Farro is the name of a nutritious ancient grain.
(The Spruce Eats)
Ancient grains are typically those types of whole-grain foods that have been cultivated in the same way for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
As you may know, most plants and grains have been selectively bred to become larger, have a better yield, or to become more economical, resist the elements, etc.
By contrast, ancient grains are those that have virtually seen no changes in their cultivation for centuries.
11. Kaniwa is also called “baby quinoa.”
(The Spruce Eats)
Like quinoa, kaniwa is also a seed and technically not a grain, and when it’s dry, it looks like a smaller version of the auburn brown quinoa.
Even though not the same as quinoa, most people refer to it as “baby quinoa.” They are related but aren’t the same thing.
12. Bulgur wheat is loaded with thiamine, which is highly beneficial for the nervous and digestive systems.
(Health Benefits Times)
By now, you’ve probably noticed that the whole-wheat grain nutrition facts are pretty fascinating and favorable for anyone looking to improve their diet.
Bulgur, for instance, is full of different B vitamins, such as niacin and thiamine. The latter is highly beneficial for the nervous and digestive systems, while niacin helps the body digest proteins better.
Bulgur also contains significant amounts of riboflavin, iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium.
13. One-third of the world eats millet as a core part of their diet.
(The Spruce Eats)
As a matter of fact, when it comes to different whole-grain types, millet is one of the earliest cultivated ones, having more than 6,000 varieties across the globe.
It’s mostly used as the staple ingredient for beer and fermented beverages, porridges, and flatbreads.
In the US, millet is mostly used for producing gluten-free bread, either solely or together with other gluten-free grains.
14. One cup of freekeh packs 11 grams of dietary fiber.
In terms of its whole-grain nutritional value, freekeh packs quite the punch. Namely, a cup of this cereal has 202 calories, 0.6 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 165 mg of potassium, 0.2 gram of sugar, 7.5 grams of protein, and 45 grams of carbohydrates.
15. Barley may help fight coronary heart disease.
(The Spruce Eats, FDA)
The FDA also states that soluble fiber from barley can help lower cholesterol. Apart from that, the grain’s insoluble fiber content can help reduce the risk of developing colon cancer and type 2 diabetes.
A 1-cup serving of the grain has 193 calories, 3.5 grams of protein, and around 6 grams of fiber.
16. Buckwheat production has been fluctuating in the US in recent years.
When looking at the whole-grain industry growth in terms of buckwheat, we face a pretty much stagnant tendency.
To be more precise, according to the latest larger data pools, the US production volume of buckwheat was about 76.36 thousand metric tons. The most significant production volume was achieved in 2009 (86, 258 thousand metric tons), and it has shown a roller-coaster-like tendency ever since.
Stats and Facts on the Whole-Grain Industry
17. The high fiber and whole-grain market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.4% between 2018–2028.
(Future Market Insights)
According to the recent whole-grain statistics, the entire market will be valued at around $70,391.3 million by the end of 2028. On the other hand, that same market had an estimated value of around $43,714.3 million in 2018.
18. Manufacturers are looking to raise their production volume of healthier items.
(Future Market Insights)
For example, Barilla, an Italian-multinational manufacturer of confectionery and bakery products, stated that by 2030, at least 30% of their total production volume would consist of high-fiber, whole-grain, and high-protein products.
If the company manages to deliver and other vital players follow suit, there might be an even more positive shift in the whole-grain consumption trends in the upcoming years.
19. The global bakery products market is projected to reach $28.4 billion.
When discussing the topic of whole-grain market size, bakeries overall will undoubtedly be at the forefront of industry growth in the years to come.
Namely, the US bakery market will maintain its current annual growth rate of 3.9%, while China might pull off a yearly growth rate of 8% over the next few years.
20. In the 2013–2016 period, whole grains accounted for around 15.8% of the total grains intake among US adults daily.
From the aspect of whole-grain consumption, the available data shows that this percentage increased in regards to age, from adults aged 20–39 (12.9%) to those aged 60 and over (19.7%).
21. Whole-grain consumption demographics show that women, in general, consume more whole-grain products than men.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey that gathered data between 2013 and 2016, women, on average, consumed at least 16.7% whole grains when looking at their total grain intake, whereas men only ate around 14.8%.
Whole-grain contribution to total intake in grains was the highest for non-Hispanic Asian adults (18.3%). Next in line were the non-Hispanic black adults, with 13.7%, and in the third place were the non-Hispanic whites, with 16.5% The lowest contribution was among Hispanic adults at 11.1%.
Benefits of Whole Grains
22. Whole grains are high in fiber and nutrients.
When looking at the list of whole-grain foods and their nutritional value, it’s easy to spot the following benefits they carry.
All of them are generally high in fiber, with the bran providing most of it. They are also high in B vitamins, including folate, thiamine, and niacin. They contain many different minerals, too, like magnesium, iron, zinc, and manganese.
Like most grains, they also have a considerable amount of proteins for each serving, and they also have several compounds that act as antioxidants. These include ferulic acid, sulfur compounds, phytic acid, and lignans.
Lastly, they are also known to carry different plant compounds (sterols, stanols, and polyphenols) that can help fight or prevent diseases.
23. Eating more whole-grain foods to lose weight is a good idea.
Fiber-rich foods, in general, can help prevent overeating. As whole grain foods are high in fiber, they are more filling than their refined counterparts, and research seems to back up the claim that they can lower the risk of obesity.
Over 15 studies suggest that eating at least three servings of whole-grain products can lower the body mass index (BMI).
24. Whole grains are good for the digestive system.
These foods are also known to boast an array of digestive benefits too. Eating whole wheat has benefits that include regular bowel movements and warding off diverticulosis (pouches that form on the colon wall, causing inflammation, diarrhea, constipation, and pain).
Moreover, these grains contain lactic acid, which promotes the growth of “good bacteria” within the large intestine, aiding digestion and helping the body to absorb nutrients better.
Whole-Grain Foods: Nutritional Value
25. Half a cup of whole-grain oats packs 150 calories and only 2.5 grams of fat.
When observing whole-grain oats nutrition facts, it’s clear why this food has a lot of health benefits.
Half a cup of whole-grain oats also has 4 grams of fiber, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, and 1.8 mg of iron, 23% of the recommended daily intake.
26. Ezekiel bread boasts several types of legumes and grains.
It’s made from sprouted whole grains that may provide extra nutrients compared to other whole-grain bread types.
When it comes to, whole-grain bread, the nutrition benefits of one slice (or 45 grams) of Ezekiel bread are as follows:
- 140 calories
- 22 grams of carbs
- 5 grams of protein
- 4 grams of fiber
- 2.5 grams of fat
It’s also worth noting that Ezekiel bread may include riboflavin, niacin, iron, and calcium.
27. A serving of brown rice contains 216 calories.
When it comes to whole grain brown rice, the nutrition facts reveal impressive numbers. Namely, a serving of whole-grain brown rice contains 5 grams of proteins, 44.8 grams of carbs, 3.5 grams of dietary fiber, 1.8 grams of total fat, 0.2 mg of thiamin, 3 mg of niacin, and 7.6 mcg of folate.
What percentage of grains should be whole?
When it comes to grain consumption, they should account for a rather significant portion of your daily intake, around 30%. However, when it comes to whole grains, experts from the US Department of Agriculture recommend that at least half of that 30% should come from whole grains. For starters, they contain more fiber and are also more abundant in nutrients than the regular-grain options.
(Federal Occupational Health)
How much healthier is whole-grain wheat?
According to experts, whole-grain wheat products pack a wide array of different health benefits compared to their refined-grain counterparts.
First of all, whole grains digest at a slower rate, positively affecting insulin and blood sugar levels.
They are also known to help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. According to a study, women who ate at least five grams of more whole-grain fiber from cereals had a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, about 30% compared to those who ate only around 2.5 grams of the same fiber-sources each day.
One of the many whole-grain benefits includes better weight control. According to a study, those women who ate at least three or more servings of whole-grain sources throughout the day had noticeably lower BMIs (body mass indexes) than those who had less than a serving per day.
Whole-grain sources may help the body fight off the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The research data currently available reveals that metabolic syndrome was less prevalent in people who ate higher amounts of whole-grain and cereal fiber than those who had a diet low in fibers and whole grains.
How many grams of whole grain should you eat a day?
According to the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council, the daily target intake of whole grains should be around 48 grams for adults and children older than nine. For kids aged between 3–9, the daily target intake should be between 32–40 grams, while for children between 1–3 years old, the daily intake should be at or around 24 grams.
To meet the recommended 48 grams for adults and youngsters, GLNC recommends eating two biscuits (whole wheat), which pack around 30 grams of whole-grain and one wholemeal sandwich (40 grams of whole grain).
A quarter cup of muesli (35 grams) and three whole-grain crispbreads (around 30 grams of whole grain) should also do the trick.
(Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council)
What percentage of whole grains on average are Americans actually eating?
According to the latest available data, the average whole grain intake in the US has increased by around 50% between 2003–2014.
The data provided by the US National Survey (NHANES) shows that the overall intake of whole grains had seen a significant rise in all asked age groups in the respective period. This means that the equivalent of 0.6 ounces of whole grains has managed to jump to 0.9 ounces.
Conversely, the data also shows a noticeable decline in the intake of refined grains, showing a nearly 10% decrease from 6.3 to 5.7 ounces.
(United States Department of Agriculture)
What are whole-grain foods?
Grains should be a mainstay in every household around the world. They usually have three main parts:
- The bran, or the nutritious outer layer
- The germ, or the nutrient-rich embryo of the seed
- The endosperm, or the germ’s high-carb food supply
When we mention “whole grains,” we are usually referring to grains where all these parts are intact. Usually, they are high in manganese, phosphorus, selenium, dietary fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and iron.
What are some examples of whole-grain foods?
Best sources of whole grains usually include whole oats, whole wheat, whole-grain rye, buckwheat, cracked wheat, millet, spelt, whole barley, quinoa, corn, brown rice, popcorn, and different kinds of whole-grain breads and pastas.
Why is whole grain better than refined grain?
As mentioned above, whole grains have all three parts intact or present in their whole form when ground in the form of flour, retaining the germ, endosperm, and the bran.
Compared to their refined counterparts, whole grains provide a better source of dietary fiber and other healthy nutrients, like folate, iron, selenium, B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.
These stats and facts reveal that whole grains are essential for creating a balanced and healthy diet. Fortunately, the market suggests that they are growing in popularity, enabling consumers to make even more varied choices than before.
The whole-grain facts and benefits listed here also speak of a food family that boasts a wide palette of different positive characteristics, ensuring that consumers who choose these foods will live a healthier life and generally have a more balanced and fulfilling diet.
Hopefully, these whole-grain statistics will help you make smarter diet choices, and—coupled with a few exciting and tasty recipes—enjoy the many benefits of whole-grain foods.
- CBI Ministry Of Foreign Affairs
- Federal Occupational Health
- Food Insight
- Future Market Insights
- Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council
- Health Benefits Times
- Mayo Clinic
- The Spruce Eats
- The Spruce Eats
- The Spruce Eats
- The Spruce Eats
- United States Department of Agriculture