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Whole Grain Benefits

Innovation and brand distinction in baked goods



Baked goods satiate, comfort, satisfy, and fill us. As a front-line source of sustenance, baked goods continue to inspire and express many of the hopes, concerns, worries and aspirations we seek in 2022. The past two years have been marked by surges in home baking, along with desire for convenience, health, and immunity.

After the pantry-loading attitudes and flour shortages of 2020, baked goods processors are reconsidering their product assortments. The largest category of ‘baked goods’ comprise bread, pastries, and sweet baked foods including cakes, with category sales rising nine per cent in 2020 (Food In Canada Industry Report, 2021). Leading baked category CPGs are simplifying production, questioning their inventories, rationalizing their SKU offerings, and improving their consumer responsiveness. According to Food Navigator, the strains of the ongoing pandemic may shift consumers from the practical and austere toward decadence, the extraordinary, and a celebration of holistic well-being, along with a much-needed dose of fun and adventure for our mental health in 2022.

Product development

Consumers want wholesome and healthy products than refined carbohydrates and sugars. People are seeking functional benefits in products, and their accompanying ingredients. Healthy digestion, good microflora and stronger immune systems can be met in new fiber formulations, and with ingredients such as nut flours and dark chocolates. Some consumers will continue to seek products for specialized diets such as paleo, keto, vegan, and allergen-, grain-, and dairy-free (Food Navigator, Dec. 9, 2021). Baked goods that help strengthen immunity will also be supported.

Fruits, proteins, and high fiber content could mix with reishi, chaga, or other exotic mushrooms as novel ingredients in baked goods. Oats and whole grains remain popular, and in demand. Baked goods low in refined carbohydrates, trans- or saturated fats, sodium, and refined sugar, while higher in natural omega-3s, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants resonate with leading health trends. Consumers are seeking reductions in the use of preservatives, fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners or synthetic ingredients (RJ Frometa, Sept 29, 2021, Vents Magazine).

Baked goods brands are experimenting and meeting all of these various consumer health trends in many ways. Nevada-based Nature’s Bakery is a maker of clean-label, plant-based, nut-free, and non-GMO soft baked goods, best known for its fig bar. Rule Breaker, an allergen-friendly snacks maker uses chickpeas as its ingredient in brownies that are high in protein and fiber while free from 11 allergens, including dairy, sesame eggs, soy, and wheat. Baked goods brand Stonemill Bakehouse, which has a facility in Langley, BC, focuses on plant-based, dairy-free, non-GMO and sustainable baking. In 2020, it launched the Honest Wellness line of protein breads that are vegan with no added fat, dairy, or soy. In 2021, Voortman Super Grains launched a ‘better-for-you’ cookie and using real fruits and whole grains (Food In Canada Industry Report, 2021). The brand is expecting a 30 percent annual growth rate. Consumer demand for healthy, natural, clean labels will continue strong in 2022. Embassy Ingredients has actually created a product line of Necol colors derived from plant pigments for a wide range of baking applications (Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, Oct. 27, 2021) .

Consumers are seeking functional benefits in products. Photo © Matousekfoto / Adobe Stock

Strong consumer demand for ethical, healthy, and, at times, animal-free ingredients has pressed brands to seek alternatives. Dairy and egg substitutes can come from wheat, soy, flax, or peas. However, replacing eggs’ varied functions in baking is challenging.

Manitoba-based Merit Functional Foods has created a line of Puratein canola plant proteins. These proteins are intended to serve as an alternative egg for cakes, with functionalities including for whipping. Distinct diets, such as ketogenic, can be achieved with substitutes, such as stevia lead, chicory root fibre, cassava flour, coconut oil, flax seed, or rosemary extract. Desire for fiber fortification can come from new processing technologies and ingredients with multiple functions. The trend in upcycled foods and immunity can be found in Fiberstar’s Citri-fi, produced from the byproducts of citrus juice processing. Immunity can be enhanced with healthier plants and nut fats and oils. Companies such as Epogee have developed EPG oil (derived from rapeseed) to replace up to 85 per cent of the digestible fat in a formulation, with 92 per cent fewer calories (Brewster, IFT, Aug. 1, 2021).

Los Angeles-based Bougie Bakes has come onto the West Coast US market prominently in 2021 with the production and marketing of their direct-to-consumer bakery with an assortment of sugar-, dairy-, and gluten-free cookies, brownies, and muffins . The co-owners emphasize premium ingredients, such as pink Himalayan salt, and the use of eggs from pasture-raised hens. They use coconut oil instead of ghee, along with almond flour, plant-based collagen, and unsweetened vanilla macadamian milk. Their products are baked-to-order with no preservatives, and their range of distinct flavor and ingredient combinations include pumpkin pecan pies, peppermint brownies, and orange-cranberry muffins. With a nod to sustainability, they use tins that are reusable by their clientele (Watrous, July 12, 2021, Food Entrepreneur).

Brand values

While value for cost of product, safety, flavor, and health are important baked goods drivers, sustainability and brand ethics will remain a strong element in consumer concerns with their foods. The baked goods sector will seek to align with broader food sector’s goals to scale its positive impact and build consumer confidence. Packaging will remain an opportunity to differentiate a brand, as long as it is also safe and hygienic. Sustainability indicator labelling, such as soil regeneration, carbon neutrality, circularity, and the use of upcycled ingredients all have increasing currency with consumers (E. Schroeder, Oct 20, 2021, Baking Business). Upcycling may have a major breakthrough in 2022, and in the baked goods sector this may manifest with the use of used fruits, coffee grounds, or banana peels as natural flavorings. Partnership between farmers, millers and bakers for artisan goods will open possibilities for greater use of heirloom heritage grains to strengthen social value, minimize food waste, and provide greater social value in supply chains (M. Smith, Baking & Snack, Oct. 21, 2021).

Baked goods brands are experimenting and trying to meet the demand for clean label, healthy, and sustainable products. Photo © JackF / Adobe Stock

The joy of eating

Amidst the surging desire for good health, and a greater social sustainability conscience, simple indulgence through satisfying, comforting baked goods that inspire nostalgia and pleasure may really rise this year. Baking techniques from old cultural traditions could resonate with North American markets. Search for Calic bread, a Korean take on garlic, cheese and sourdough bread was up over 1,200 per cent in 2021, while people also sought flavors at once nostalgic, new and comforting, such as Smores Brownies or pancakes with distinct ingredients (Food Navigator, Dec 9, 2021). Consumers in 2022 may also gravitate toward the exotic and spicy, an escape to far away lands, seeking the space between tried-and-true flavors and a desire to break from the monotony and extension of the pandemic with tastes such as blood orange, key lime and clementine, or exotic spices from Asia and the Americas. Baked goods providing consumers with indulgent flavors and aromas such as pizza, pasta, fries, cheese, and chocolates could find eager audiences (E. Crawford, Food Navigator, Dec 16, 2021).

This article was originally published in the February/March 2022 issue of Food in Canada.

Whole Grain Benefits

For the 55-and-over crowd, March 27-April 3, 2022 | Local News



For information about services available to older adults, contact Pam Jacobsen, director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Helen Mary Stevick Senior Citizens Center, 2102 Windsor Place, C, at 217-359-6500.

RSVP and the Stevick Center are administered by Family Service of Champaign County.


  • Active Senior Republicans in Champaign County’s monthly meeting will be held at 9:30 am on April 4 in the Robeson Pavilion Room A & B at the Champaign Public Library. This month’s speakers will be Jesse Reising, Regan Deering and Matt Hausman, Republican primary candidates for the newly redrawn 13th Congressional District.
  • Parkland Theater House needs four ushers each night for “The SpongeBob Musical,” opening April 14. There will be nine shows in total — April 14-16, April 22-24 and April 29-May 1. For details, call or email Michael Atherton, Parkland Theater House Manager, or 217-373-3874.
  • Parkland College also needs four volunteers for commencement. The commencement ceremony will be in person at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 pm May 12. Volunteers needed from 6:30 to 8 pm For details, contact Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, at or 217- 351-2206.
  • The Milford High School National Honor Society and Student Council is hosting a Senior Citizens Banquet at 6 pm April 22. The event will be held in the MAPS #124 Gymnasium (park at south doors at Milford High School. To RSVP, call Sandy Potter at 815-471-4213.


Knit or crochet for those in need:

Meditative Movement with Yoga:

  • 9 to 10:15 am Tuesdays and Thursdays.


  • 11 am to noon, second and fourth Tuesdays. Call 217-359-6500.


  • Noon to 3 pm Thursdays.


Card game 13:

  • To sign up to play, call 217-359-6500 and ask for Debbie.

Men’s group:

  • 9 am Monday-Friday. Join us for a cup of coffee and great conversation.


The Peace Meal Nutrition Program provides daily hot lunches at 11:30 am for a small donation and a one-day advance reservation at sites in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul, Sidney (home delivery only), Mahomet (home delivery only) and Homer.

For reservations, call 800-543-1770. Reservations for Monday need to be made by noon Friday.

NOTE: There is no change for home deliveries, but at congregate sites, you can get a carry-out meal.


  • BBQ pork sandwich, mini potato bakers, corn, creamy cole slaw, bun.


  • Turkey pot roast with carrots and celery, Italian green beans, pineapple, whole grain roll.


  • Savory sausage stew, broccoli, chunky apple sauce, biscuit, surprise dessert.


  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and brown gravy, tomatoes and zucchini, apricots, whole-grain roll.


  • Chef’s choice — regional favorites will be served.


If you are 55 and older and want to volunteer in your community, RSVP (funded by AmeriCorps Seniors and the Illinois Department on Aging) provides a unique link to local nonprofits needing help. We offer support, benefits and a safe connection to partner sites.

Contact Pam Jacobsen at or 217-359-6500.


Senior Volunteers.

  • RSVP of Champaign, Douglas and Piatt counties/AmeriCorps Senior Volunteers is your link to over 100 nonprofit organizations. Please contact Pam Jacobsen at or call 217-359-6500 for volunteer information.

Food for seniors. Handlers needed to unload boxes of food for repackaging at 7 am on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. We are looking for backup delivery drivers to deliver food to seniors. Contact Robbie Edwards at 217-359-6500 for info.

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Whole Grain Benefits

The future of nutrition advice



By Lisa Drayer, CNN

(CNN) — Most of us know we should eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

So why would the National Institutes of Health spend $150 million to answer questions such as “What and when should we eat?” and “How can we improve the use of food as medicine?”

The answer may be precision nutrition, which aims to understand the health effects of the complex interplay among genetics, our microbiome (the bacteria living in our gut), our diet and level of physical activity, and other social and behavioral characteristics.

That means that everyone could have their own unique set of nutritional requirements.

How is that possible? I asked three experts who conduct precision nutrition research: Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Martha Field and Angela Poole, both assistant professors in the division of nutritional sciences at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.

Below is an edited version of our conversation.

CNN: How is precision nutrition different from current nutrition advice?

dr Frank Hu: The idea of ​​precision nutrition is to have the right food, at the right amount, for the right person. Instead of providing general dietary recommendations for everyone, this precision approach tailors nutrition recommendations to individual characteristics, including one’s genetic background, microbiome, social and environmental factors, and more. This can help achieve better health outcomes.

CNN: Why is there no one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to what we should be eating?

Huh: Not everyone responds to the same diet in the same way. For example, given the same weight-loss diet, some people can lose a lot of weight; other people may gain weight. A recent study in JAMA randomized a few hundred overweight individuals to a healthy low-carb or low-fat diet. After a year, there was almost an identical amount of weight loss for the two groups, but there was a huge variation between individuals within each group — some lost 20 pounds. Others gained 10 pounds.

Martha Field: Individuals have unique responses to diet, and the “fine adjust” of precision nutrition is understanding those responses. This means understanding interactions among genetics, individual differences in metabolism, and responses to exercise.

CNN: How do we eat based on precision nutrition principles now?

Huh: There are some examples of personalized diets for disease management, like a gluten-free diet for the management of celiac disease, or a lactose-free diet if you are lactose intolerant. For individuals with a condition known as PKU (phenylketonuria), they should consume (a) phenylalanine-free diet. It’s a rare condition but a classic example of how your genes can influence what type of diets you should consume.

Angela Poole: If I had a family history of high cholesterol, diabetes or colon cancer, I would increase my dietary fiber intake, eating a lot of different sources, including a variety of vegetables.

fields: If you have high blood pressure, you should be more conscious of sodium intake. Anyone with a malabsorption issue might have a need for higher levels of micronutrients such as B vitamins and some minerals.

CNN: There is research showing that people metabolize coffee differently. What are the implications here?

Huh: Some people carry fast caffeine-metabolizing genes; others carry slow genes. If you carry fast (metabolizing) genotypes, you can drink a lot of caffeinated coffee because caffeine is broken down quickly. If you are a slow metabolizer, you get jittery and may not be able to sleep if you drink coffee in the afternoon. If that’s the case, you can drink decaf coffee and still get the benefits of coffee’s polyphenols, which are associated with decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes without the effects of caffeine.

CNN: How much of a role do our individual genes play in our risk of disease? And can our behavior mitigate our disease risk?

Huh: Our health is affected by both genes and diets, which constantly interact with each other because certain dietary factors can turn on or off some disease-related genes. We published research showing that reducing consumption of sugary beverages can offset the negative effects of obesity genes. That’s really good news. Our genes are not our destiny.

Another area of ​​precision nutrition is to measure blood or urine metabolites, small molecules produced during the breakdown and ingestion of food. For example, having a higher concentration of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) strongly predicts one’s future risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The blood levels of BCAAs depend on individuals’ diet, genes and gut microbiome. We found that eating a healthy (Mediterranean-style) diet can mitigate harmful effects of BCAAs on cardiovascular disease. So measuring BCAAs in your blood may help to evaluate your risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease and encourage dietary changes that can lower the risk of chronic diseases down the road.

fields: The environmental effects can sometimes be on the same magnitude as the genetic effects with respect to risk for disease.

CNN: Our individual microbiomes may be able to dictate what type of diet we should be consuming. Can you tell us about this emerging research? And what do you think of microbiome tests?

Poole: Research has shown that in some people, their blood sugar will spike higher from eating bananas than from eating cookies, and this has been associated with microbiome composition. Scientists have used microbiome data to build algorithms that can predict an individual’s glucose response, and this is a major advance. But that’s not an excuse for me to shovel down cookies instead of bananas. Likewise, if the algorithm suggests eating white bread instead of whole-wheat bread due to blood glucose responses, I wouldn’t just eat white bread all the time.

At the moment, I’m not ready to spend a lot of money to see what’s in my gut microbiome… and the microbiome changes over time.

Huh: Microbiome tests are not cheap, and the promise that this test can help develop a personalized meal plan that can improve blood sugar and blood cholesterol … at this point, the data are not conclusive.

CNN: How will nutrition advice be different 10 years from now?

Poole: I think you will receive a custom-tailored grocery list on an app — foods that you want to buy and foods that you want to avoid, based on your blood sugar responses to foods, your level of physical activity and more.

Huh: We will have more and better biomarkers and more affordable and accurate nutrigenomics and microbiome tests as well as better computer algorithms that predict your response to food intakes.

But these technologies cannot substitute general nutrition principles such as limiting sodium and added sugar and eating more healthy plant foods. In a few years, you may be able to get a more useful response from Alexa if you ask her what you should eat — but like other answers from Alexa, you’ll have to take it with a grain of salt.

The CNN Wire
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Whole Grain Benefits

Are Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches Healthy?



In order to assess its nutritional value, first we must discuss the breakdown of this sandwich.

Typically, there are three main ingredients — bread, peanut butter, and jelly — each with different nutritional values.

Nutritional value of bread

Bread can be a part of a balanced diet. The nutritional value of bread depends on the type chosen.

For starters, whole-grain bread is the best option because it provides a higher amount of nutrients. Whole grain kernels have three parts: the bran, endosperm, and germ (1).

Because whole grain bread retains all three parts, it’s higher in protein and fiber compared with other breads. These nutrients slow the absorption of sugar into your blood stream and keep you full longer (2, 3).

Whole grain bread is also richer in key nutrients, like B vitamins, iron, folate, and magnesium. Look for the word “whole” as part of the first ingredient in bread’s nutritional label (2).

Choosing sprouted grain bread, like Ezekiel bread, is also an excellent choice. The sprouting process increases digestibility and bioavailability of nutrients. Studies show sprouted bread has more fiber, vitamin E, and vitamin C, and beta-glucan (4).

Sourdough bread is fine, too. Although it’s not as high in fiber and protein, it has a lower glycemic index than white bread.

Glycemic index measures how quickly food increases blood sugars. In general, foods with a lower glycemic index better support your overall health.

But keep in mind that glycemic index doesn’t tell the whole story. We must look at the meal as a whole — for example, what we add to the bread. Nutrients, like protein and fats, can help lower the overall glycemic load of a meal, and serving sizes also play a role (5).

As a guideline, look for whole grain breads that offer at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. We also suggest using bread that contains 3 grams of protein or more per slice.

If that’s not available, sourdough bread may be your next best option.


Choose breads that are higher in fiber and protein, like whole grain bread or sprouted grain bread. These varieties help slow absorption of sugars and keep you full longer.

Nutritional value of peanut butter

Many people find peanut butter delicious.

Nutritionally, it also delivers. Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats, important for all stages of life, especially growing children. Plus, it’s a good source of fiber.

Two tablespoons (32 grams) of smooth peanut butter contain 7 grams of protein, 16 grams of fats, and 2 grams of fiber (6).

Importantly, the majority of fats in peanut butter are unsaturated fats. Research consistently indicates that replacing saturated fats found in animal products with more unsaturated fats (like those in peanut butter) may lower cholesterol and improve heart health (7, 8).

For growing kids, healthy fats are vital for healthy development. Plus, fats help absorb the vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which play a synergistic role in supporting immune and brain health (9, 10).

Contrary to popular belief, conventional peanut butter doesn’t usually have more sugar than 100% natural peanut butter. However, it may have more salt (6).

When shopping, check the nutrition labels to ensure it doesn’t contain additional ingredients other than peanuts.

When enjoying natural peanut butter, the oil will separate from the peanut butter. Not to fret — just give it a good stir! This helps mix the oils with the solids.

Pro tip: You can store peanut butter upside down in the fridge to keep it from separating again!


When available, choose 100% natural peanut butter, as it’s lower in salt. Remember to stir the peanut butter before eating to mix the oils with the solids.

Nutritional value of jelly

The PB&J sandwich isn’t complete without jelly or jam. What’s the difference, anyway?

Well, while jellies and jams have similar nutritional value and taste, there’s a slight difference: Jellies are made with fruit juice, while jam is made with the fruit juice and pulp (7).

Both jellies and jams contain pectin (artificially added to jelly), which has prebiotic effects that may improve gut health (8).

However, both are naturally high in sugar, so enjoy them in moderation. To have more say in the ingredients used, you can try making your jelly at home.

If you’re buying from a store, look for jellies with no added sugar in the ingredients list. Alternative names for added sugars include glucose, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose.


Jellies are high in natural sugars and contain pectins that may have a beneficial effect in promoting good health. Try to choose jellies with no added sugars.

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