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Evaluating the ≤10:1 wholegrain criterion in identifying nutrient quality and health implications of UK breads and breakfast cereals

  • Bahar Ghodsian (a1) (a2) and Angela M Madden (a1)

To evaluate the nutrient quality of breads and breakfast cereals identified using the wholegrain definition of ≤10:1 carbohydrate:fibre ratio.


Following a cross-sectional study design, nutritional information was systematically gathered from food labels of breads and breakfast cereals that met the ≤10:1 carbohydrate:fibre criterion. The median nutrient content was compared with the UK Food Standards Agency’s nutrient profiling standards and the associations between carbohydrate:fibre ratio and other nutrients were analysed. Subgroup analyses were undertaken for products with and without fruit, nuts and/or seeds.


Products from four major supermarket stores in the UK.


Breads (n 162) and breakfast cereals (n 266).


Breads which met the ≤10:1 criterion typically contained medium fat, low saturated fat, low sugar and medium Na. Breakfast cereals typically contained medium fat, low saturated fat, high sugar and low Na. In both groups, as the carbohydrate:fibre ratio decreased, fat content increased (bread: P=0·029, r=−0·171; breakfast cereal: P=0·033, r=−0·131) and, in breakfast cereals, as the ratio increased, sugar content increased (P<0·0005, r=0·381). Breakfast cereals with fruit, nuts and/or seeds contained, per 100 g, more energy (P=0·002), fat, saturated fat and sugar (all P<0·0005), while seeded breads had more energy, fat and saturated fat (all P<0·0005).


Overall, breads and breakfast cereals meeting the ≤10:1 criterion have good nutritional quality, suggesting that the criterion could be useful in public health and/or food labelling. The utility of applying the ≤10:1 criterion to products containing fruit, nuts and/or seeds is less clear and requires further research.

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