University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Early online date26 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Dec 2017


Objective: To evaluate the nutrient quality of breads and breakfast cereals identified using the wholegrain definition of ≤10:1 carbohydrate:fibre ratio.

Design: Following a cross-sectional study design, nutritional information was systematically gathered from food labels of breads and breakfast cereals that met the ≤10:1 carbohydrate:fibre criterion. The median nutrient content was compared with the UK Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling standards and the association between carbohydrate:fibre ratio and other nutrients were analysed. Subgroup analyses were undertaken for products with and without fruit, nuts and/or seeds.

Setting: Products from four major supermarket stores in the UK.

Subjects: 162 breads and 266 breakfast cereals.

Results: Breads which met the ≤10:1 criterion typically contained medium fat, low saturated fat, low sugar and medium sodium. Breakfast cereals typically contained medium fat, low saturated fat, high sugar and low sodium. In both groups, as the carbohydrate:fibre ratio decreased, fat content increased (bread: p=0.029, r=-0.171; breakfast cereal: p=0.033, r=-0.131) and, in breakfast cereals, as the ratio increased, sugar content increased (p<0.0005, r=0.381). Breakfast cereals with fruit, nuts and/or seeds contained, per 100 g, more energy (p=0.002), fat, saturated fat and sugar (all p<0.0005) while seeded breads had more energy, fat and saturated fat (all p<0.0005).

Conclusions: Overall, breads and breakfast cereals meeting the ≤10:1 criterion have good nutritional quality, suggesting that the criterion could be useful in public health and/or food labelling. The utility of applying the 10:1 criterion to products containing fruit, nuts and/or seeds is less clear and requires further research.


This article has been published in a revised form in Public Health Nutrition DOI: This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © 2017 The Authors. Under embargo until 26 June 2018.

ID: 12760578