Did you know that September is Whole Grain Month?

At PepsiCo we are committed to increasing whole grains in our global product portfolio. For more on this topic, I talked to Frito-Lay’s Director of Nutrition, Bob Brown, who was chairman of the Whole Grain Council in its second year of existence. Bob supports the U.S. Dietary Guidelines that call for more whole grains and told me that he doesn’t understand why anyone would eat a sandwich with white bread.

As an example of the importance of whole grains, Bob pointed to a recent abstract he read in Archives of Internal Medicine (Qi Sun et al. June 14, 2010) that featured an assessment from the Health Professionals Follow-Up study and the Nurses’ Health Study 1 & 2 on white rice consumption. According to the report, people who eat more than five servings of white rice per week had a 17 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes as compared to those who eat less than one serving per month. Additionally, consuming two or more servings of brown rice per week reduced the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 11 percent compared to consuming less than one serving per month. Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other important nutrients, such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. And in addition to this study focused on diabetes, a diet high in whole grain foods is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke.

At PepsiCo, we’re making progress toward our commitment to increase the amount of whole grains in our global product portfolio. SunChips multigrain snacks are made with 18 grams of whole grains per one ounce serving. We expect to contribute an additional 22 million pounds of whole grain to the American diet in 2010 as we modify our process to retain more of the whole grain in Tostitos tortilla chips.

Stay tuned for more on whole grains from Bob and others on our R&D team, and in the meantime, happy Whole Grains Month!