Fall 2015


Greetings from HGI

Gluten-free fad diets for the non-gluten intolerant continue to be scrutinized by media and the scientific community. Through recent studies published by HGI Scientific Advisory Council member Dr. Ravindra Chibbar, and through our work with associations such as the Dietitians of Canada and our U.S. counterparts at the Grain Foods Foundation, we continue to raise awareness of the health benefits of wheat and other grains, and the importance of including grains in a healthy, balanced diet backed with science-based information. The following is a summary of these latest developments and contributions from the HGI.

Get a Celiac Test Before Giving Up Gluten

The Toronto Star featured a story that examined gluten sensitivity and encouraged people to be tested before adopting a gluten free diet. The story highlights that the gluten-free trend has taken many nutritional scientists by surprise, since they cannot currently find evidence of gluten sensitivity in people’s genes. For now, researchers say they are still not sure how non-celiac sufferers could have their own gluten sensitivities, and that more research is needed.

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For Most Stomachs, Wheat Not a Problem: Nutritionist

The Western Producer highlighted Dr. Julie Miller Jones's, HGI Scientific Advisory Council Member, presentation at the Grain Farmers of Ontario conference. According to Dr. Jones, a very small number of Canadians should worry about eating wheat, and for the majority of the population, it’s an important part of healthy eating. Dr. Jones discusses and debunks some of the claims made by Dr. William Davis using the science that supports the nutritional benefits of wheat.


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Gluten-Free Diets: Separating Fact From Fiction

This article from Rosie Schwartz opens by asking, “how did gluten suddenly become dietary enemy number one?” Along with the flood of gluten-free products in the supermarket, there has been a glut of misinformation about gluten according to Schwartz. A very small percentage of Americans and Canadians have celiac disease, though the market for gluten-free products has exploded. The post examines some of the misinformation about gluten and highlights the differences between celiac disease and wheat allergy.

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Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, August 2015
Glenn A. Gaesser, PhD, Siddhartha S. Angadi, PhD

Current science continues to show that gluten-free diets are necessary for people with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergy. Approximately 27% say they consume gluten‐free products for weight loss, despite a lack of medical evidence showing these products promote weight loss. Also lacking is credible evidence suggesting that removal of wheat or gluten from diets of the general population will reduce disease or improve health. Rather, gluten‐free foods, compared with their gluten‐containing counterparts, often deliver less fibre and fewer nutrients but more calories. This makes them a potential contributor to weight gain, not weight loss.

Canadian Nutrition Society Conference

HGI Scientific Advisory Council member, Dr. Ravindra Chibbar presented his research abstract entitled "Analysis of grain composition in Canadian ancestral and present wheat varieties" at the Canadian Nutrition Society's 2015 Annual Conference May 28 - 30 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Dr. Chibbar outlined some of the key findings from his research that demonstrated that the nutritional composition of modern wheat is similar to wheat grown in Canada 150 years ago.

The Canadian Nutrition Society's Annual Conference gathers scientists, academics, physicians, pharmacists, dietitians, nurses and trainees from across Canada to participate in a premiere showcase event focused on nutrition.

Dietitians of Canada National Conference
Quebec City

In June, members of the Dietitians of Canada met in Quebec City for their national conference. With the theme, "Stronger Together," the event focused on the many different ways that dietitians can learn from each other's specific skill sets - and the ways that they, in turn can share that knowledge to Canadians.

HGI was on-site with an informational booth at the conference to engage dietitians in attendance, offering fact sheets on whole grains and weight managementthe gluten free diet and a recipe for an apple cheddar brunch strata with berries. The research by HGI Scientific Advisory Council member, Dr. Ravindra Chibbar was a popular topic of conversation. HGI also sponsored a special grain-themed luncheon for attending dietitians.

HGI conducted an integrated media campaign in support of new research by HGI Scientific Advisory Council member Dr. Ravindra Chibbar. The groundbreaking research, published in the journal Cereal Chemistry, demonstrated that the nutritional composition of wheat grown today is similar to wheat grown more than 150 years ago. The campaign generated 135 pieces of coverage resulting in more than 50 million impressions including prominent coverage in The Huffington Post, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and The Daily Mail UK. Social media conversations about the announcement has generated more than 3.6 million social impressions and 546 Twitter mentions including 2.9 million social impressions in Canada alone.

Dr. Ravindra Chibbar interview with CTV News

In this interview Dr. Ravindra Chibbar highlights his research, which refutes claims that modern crop breeding has changed the nutritional composition of wheat. He also mentions that the study casts doubt on the belief that consumption of wheat products is tied to increasing rates of obesity and diabetes.

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Wheat Protein Unchanged for 100 Years

HGI coordinated an interview with one of Canada's premier news agencies, The Canadian Press. The story highlighted Dr. Chibbar's research and was picked-up by over 60 media outlets across Canada.

The Globe & Mail Huffington Post
The National Post Metro News

Study of Canadian Wheat Counters Diet Book's Claims

This feature on Dr. Chibbar's research mentions that the amount of protein in Canadian wheat has fluctuated little in 141 years, countering claims that radical changes in the grain are making people sick. Reporter Rod Nickle refers to Dr. Chibbar's research as the most extensive study of its kind.

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Public Opinion Research

In September we will conduct our third annual consumer research poll, executed by Nanos Research. This research will gather up-to-date information on public attitudes and perceptions about bread and grains. The findings will help inform and direct or communication strategies and give us a better understanding of how consumer behavior and beliefs are changing, and why. We look forward to sharing these findings with you.

Did you Know?

Just when you finally learned how to correctly pronounce quinoa (keen-wa), another new grain comes along, touting its health benefits. Find out more about freekeh (freak-eh).

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Grains 101

We've recently updated our Grains 101 section to help further explain how grains fit into a balanced diet, by incorporating Health Canada's “Eat Well Plate”. 

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Scientific Resources

To learn more about the benefits of grain-based food and healthy eating, check out the new scientific resources section of our website.

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Healthy Grains Page
Copyright  2015 Healthy Grains Institute, All rights reserved.

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Christine Lowry, R.D
Executive Director
The Healthy Grains Institute
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