AUSTRALIANS are eating 30 per cent fewer grains now compared to four years ago.
This was the key finding of a study into the attitudes and behaviours of Australians around grains and legumes.
The study, commissioned by the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council, found young women (aged 19 to 30 years) are significantly limiting their consumption of grains and six per cent of all Australians do not consume grains at all.
The Council’s general manager Michelle Broom said the decline was due to the popularity of “fad diets”.
The popularity of low carb, high fat diet; the Paleo diet and a mainstream shift to gluten-free diets have seen consumers eat less bread, white pasta and noodles.
“Fad diet trends have resulted in widespread confusion about the benefits of eating core grain foods and legumes,” Ms Broom said.
“We need to educate people about the health consequences of cutting these nutritious foods out of their diets.”
The Council’s managing director Georgie Aley said her organisation, industry, health practitioners, food manufacturers and the media needed to work together to get consumers, especially women, back on track.
“We need consistent, substantiated messaging that effectively communicates the health benefits of grains and legumes to consumers,” Ms Aley said.
The study’s co-ordinator, Colmar Brunton research director Sarah Hyland, said recent controversies surrounding fad diets (including the disgraced cookbook from celebrity chef Pete Evans and the exposure of “wellness warrior” fraud Belle Gibson) made consumers more aware of the need for reliable health advice.
“We have an opportunity right now to communicate simple and scientifically-backed health messages and now is the time they will be listened to.”