The Dietary Guidelines for Americans use the term “ounce equivalent” instead of the word serving, as in “eat at least three ounce-equivalents of whole grain every day.”

The Whole Grains Council (along with many other organizations) says “eat at least three 16g servings of whole grain every day” because ounce-equivalents may confuse some people.

16 grams vs. 28 grams (one ounce)

An ounce is just over 28 grams. So which one is a serving — 16 grams or 28 grams?

They are both correct. A whole grain serving is EITHER

  • one ounce (28g) of a 100% whole grain food in its ready-to-eat form OR

  • the amount of food containing 16g of whole grain ingredients

For Example…

An example helps illustrate this (see diagram above). A slice of 100% whole grain bread weighing one ounce, for instance, contains about 16 grams of whole grains – with the other 12 grams being water, sugar, fat and other ingredients.

The slice is an “ounce-equivalent” of bread – but it contains 16g of whole grain ingredients.

Look for the Whole Grain Stamp

You may find it easier simply to look for the Whole Grain Stamp. Because the Stamp states the amount of whole grain ingredients in a serving of each food, it makes things simple, whether you’re eating foods that are 100% whole grain or foods containing a mix of whole and refined grains.