Around 90% of UK adults are not eating enough whole grain, according to a survey of 1,035 consumers conducted by the MRC Human Nutrition Research unit.

Wholegrain foods are produced from wheat, oats, barley, rye and rice, and may include certain breakfast cereals or wholemeal bread.

Nutritionists are concerned that people are not eating the recommend three servings of whole grain per day and are therefore not getting a range of nutrients including vitamins, complex carbohydrates, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Dr Beckie Lang, who led the study, commented: "This new research highlights the worryingly low consumption of whole grain foods in the UK."
 
One in three adults are not even eating one portion of whole grain a day.

People aged 65 and over usually eat just five servings of whole grain a week, while some younger consumers are only eating an average of 2.3 servings a week. A massive 47% of male smokers failed to eat any whole grain foods during the survey period.

The findings were presented at the summer meeting of the Nutrition Society, at a time when consumer confusion over the benefits of carbohydrates is rife. Another recent survey showed that around a third of UK adults believe that cutting out carbohydrates creates a healthy diet. High profile diet plans followed by celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston have added to the conception that carbohydrates increase weight gain and bloating.

Lang insisted however that there is no evidence that carbohydrates boost weight gain: "People who choose low carbohydrate diets risk missing out on the nutrients offered from foods such as whole grains which have been found to provide significant health benefits."

The Whole Grain for Health (WGFH) campaign argues that by educating people on the amount of recommended daily portions of wholegrain, 24,000 lives can be saved in the UK alone every year.