On March 4, Fleishman-Hillard International Communications hosted a Webinar for supermarket dietitians on the status of fiber in the diet. Several speakers from The Kellogg Company briefed the more than 100 participating RDs on the evolving definition of fiber, consumption patterns and ways to promote fiber-rich products in the supermarket. After all was said and done, more than 90% of participants said they learned something new during the hour-long presentation.
Here's my takeaway - info I believe is useful to all RDs. The good news is that consumers are getting the message on the benefits of whole grains. The bad news is that they think consuming whole grains means they are getting enough fiber, too. In fact, whole grains and foods made with whole grains contain varying amounts of fiber.
Although 92% of consumers say they are trying to consume more fiber, more than 95% fall short of the recommended amount - and only about 30% realize it. It actually takes 25 different foods to deliver the inadequate amount of fiber people eat today - which clearly demonstrates that high-fiber foods are not a diet mainstay
Here's where Kellogg's "Flip for Fiber" slogan comes into play: To maximize benefits from whole-grain foods, urge consumers to:
∑ Flip the package to check the Nutrition Facts panel for how much fiber a serving provides. "Good source of whole-grains" displayed on the front of the package doesn't necessarily mean good source of fiber. Unfortunately, only half of consumer always/almost always read labels.
∑ Choose products most often that list a whole grain as the first ingredient and that are a good or excellent source of fiber. (A "good source" is at least 3 grams, or 10% Daily Value, per serving. An "excellent source" is at least 5 grams, or 20% Daily Value, per serving.)
We know that a healthy diet is not built on one food, one ingredient, one nutrient alone. When we succeed at getting consumers to recognize the benefits of a category of foods like whole grains, we might lose them on something else - like fiber. That's why our fundamental message is always the total, balanced diet. It's a big bite to chew! Supermarket RDs are in a strategic position to deliver this message because they are so accessible to the consumer and work in an environment in which food and health messages are right at home. Kudos to The Kellogg Company and to Fleishman-Hillard for making a connection with this growing practice area within the profession of dietetics.