The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, recommends that Americans consume 3 or more servings of whole grains per day, with a goal of at least half of their grains coming from whole grains.
But what's a "whole grain"?
The FDA has issued a draft document intended "to provide guidance to industry about what the agency considers to be "whole grain" and to assist manufacturers in labeling their products."
In general, a "whole grain" may be ground, cracked, flaked, or intact - but should consist of the grain's bran, germ, and starchy endosperm in the same proportions that they exist in the original grain.
Examples of whole grains:
- Corn (including popcorn)
- Oats (including rolled oats)
- Wild rice
Examples of foods not considered whole grains:
- Flours or meals (e.g. corn meal) are not considered whole grain unless the bran and germ, as well as the starchy interior are present.
- Soybeans, chickpeas, and other beans and legumes are not considered whole grains.
- Barley that is pearled is not considered a whole grain because some of the bran layer has been removed.
You can read the rest of the FDA's draft guidance statement on whole grains here.