Contributing columnist and president of the Grain Foods Foundation (GFF), Judi Adams, recaps the highlights from GFF’s grains nutrition panel discussion held at All Things Baking.

When it comes to nutrition, the grains industry is at a crossroads. With digital and social media channels allowing for faster sharing of information, this also gives rise to faster sharing of misinformation, especially when it comes to nutrition and health. Because of this shifting media landscape, it’s crucial that we, as members of the food industry, stay abreast of the latest nutrition information. To help you better understand the most pressing trends being covered in the media, we hosted a grains nutrition panel during the All Things Baking conference, titled, “Grains Nutrition Update: The Issues Affecting Our Industry.” The panel consisted of three members of the Grain Foods Foundation’s scientific advisory board-chairman Glenn Gaesser, Sylvia Melendez-Klinger and Shelley Case.

During his presentation, Gaesser discussed why carbohydrates are beneficial, particularly when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight and following the latest 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Gaesser is an expert on weight maintenance and has years of research experience studying health, fitness and body weight. He is a professor and director of the Healthy Lifestyles Research Center and the Exercise and Wellness Program, both at Arizona State University, Phoenix.

Then, Melendez-Klinger, a registered dietitian and founder of Hispanic Food Communications, provided attendees with information about the latest studies surrounding folic acid and the importance of enriched grains as a source of this vital nutrient. She also covered how enriched grains can be part of the solution to some of the health and nutrition problems our population faces, specifically the Hispanic population.  

Finally, Case, author of “Gluten-Free Diet, A Comprehensive Resource Guide,” concluded the panel with a discussion about the gluten-free diet. She offered background on what medical conditions require a gluten-free diet (a diet that omits any gluten-containing food, including anything made from wheat, barley and rye) for treatment as well as the latest statistics about these conditions, which include celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

It was an engaging session that allowed for open dialogue between the panelists and members of the industry. I’d like to extend a big thank you to everyone who attended the seminar. For those of you
who were unable to make it, a webcast of the panel will be available through the Grain Foods Foundation’s website,

Aside from the nutrition panel, the conference was also an opportunity to reconvene members of our multidisciplinary scientific advisory board. This group of health experts gathered on Oct. 2 following the panel to discuss the latest nutrition research and identify opportunities for collaboration. The insights from this meeting will help us as we prioritize issues and develop new influencer programs.

In closing, I hope everyone enjoyed All Things Baking as much as we did. We look forward to attending next year’s conference, Sept. 9-11 in Houston, and sharing with you all the great things that came out of this year’s meeting.