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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Grains - a major source of sustainable protein for health

Poutanen, Kaisa S.; Karlund, Anna O.; Gomez-Gallego, Carlos; Johansson, Daniel P.; Scheers, Nathalie M.; Marklinder, Ingela M.; Eriksen, Anne K.; Silventoinen, Pia C.; Nordlund, Emilia; Sozer, Nesli; Hanhineva, Kati J.; Kolehmainen, Marjukka; Landberg, Rikard


Cereal grains are the main dietary source of energy, carbohydrates, and plant proteins world-wide. Currently, only 41% of grains are used for human consumption, and up to 35% are used for animal feed. Cereals have been overlooked as a source of environmentally sustainable and healthy plant proteins and could play a major role in transitioning towards a more sustainable food system for healthy diets. Cereal plant proteins are of good nutritional quality, but lysine is often the limiting amino acid. When consumed as whole grains, cereals provide health-protecting components such as dietary fiber and phytochemicals. Shifting grain use from feed to traditional foods and conceptually new foods and ingredients could improve protein security and alleviate climate change. Rapid development of new grain-based food ingredients and use of grains in new food contexts, such as dairy replacements and meat analogues, could accelerate the transition. This review discusses recent developments and outlines future perspectives for cereal grain use.


cereal food; health; nutrient; proteins; sustainable diet; whole grains

Published in

Nutrition Reviews
2022, volume: 80, number: 6, pages: 1648-1663

Authors' information

Poutanen, Kaisa S.
VTT Technical Research Center Finland
Karlund, Anna O.
University of Eastern Finland
Gomez-Gallego, Carlos
University of Eastern Finland
Johansson, Daniel
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences
Scheers, Nathalie M.
Chalmers University of Technology
Marklinder, Ingela M.
Uppsala University
Eriksen, Anne K.
Danish Cancer Society
Silventoinen, Pia C.
VTT Technical Research Center Finland
Nordlund, Emilia
VTT Technical Research Center Finland
Sozer, Nesli
VTT Technical Research Center Finland
Hanhineva, Kati J.
University of Turku
Hanhineva, Kati J.
Chalmers University of Technology
Hanhineva, Kati J.
University of Eastern Finland
Kolehmainen, Marjukka
University of Eastern Finland
Landberg, Rikard
Chalmers University of Technology

UKÄ Subject classification

Nutrition and Dietetics

Publication Identifiers


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