Science & Technology

Eating whole grains may protect you from heart disease

Studies of middle-aged and older adults suggest that whole grains may prevent heart disease.

Eating whole grains is associated with a slight increase in waist size, blood pressure, and blood sugar.

Middle-aged and older adults who ate at least three servings of whole grains daily had smaller increases in waist size, blood pressure, and blood sugar over time compared to those who ate less than half a day. New research.

Today (July 13, 2021) Journal of NutritionA study by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University investigated how whole and purified grain intake affects five risk factors for heart disease: waist size, Blood pressure, blood glucose, triglycerides, HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Using data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort, initiated in the 1970s to assess long-term risk factors for heart disease, a new study found a median 18-year period of health associated with whole and purified grain consumption. We investigated the outcome. The 3,100 participants from the cohort were mostly Caucasian, with an average starting data collection in their mid-50s.

The research team compared changes in five risk factors at 4-year intervals across the four categories of reported whole grain intake (from less than half a day serving to more than three servings a day).by Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025The recommended amount of whole grains is 3 or more meals a day. An example of serving is one slice of whole wheat bread, half a cup of rolled oat cereal, or half a cup of brown rice.

The results showed that every four years:

  • Waist size increased by an average of 1 inch or more in low intake participants, but increased by approximately ½ inch in high intake participants.
  • Even after considering changes in waist size, the mean increase in blood glucose and systolic blood pressure was greater in low-dose participants compared to high-dose participants.

Researchers also studied five risk factors across four categories of refined grain intake, from less than 2 servings per day to more than 4 servings per day. Low refined grain intake reduces the average increase in waist size and increases the average decrease in triglyceride levels every four years.

“Our findings show that eating whole-grain foods as part of a healthy diet not only helps you lose and maintain weight with age, but also brings health benefits. In fact, these data suggest that people who eat more whole grains can better maintain their blood and blood pressure over the long term. Manage these risk factors with aging. What you do can help protect you from heart disease, “said Nicola McKeown, senior and corresponding author and scientist on the USDAHNRCA nutrition epidemiology team.

“There are several reasons why whole grains may help people maintain waist size and reduce the increase in other risk factors. When whole grains contain dietary fiber, Satisfactory effects can be obtained, and magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants can contribute to lowering blood pressure, especially water-soluble dietary fiber, which can have a beneficial effect on postprandial blood pressure spikes. There is sex, “says Caleigh Sawicki. Sawicki is Gerald J of Tufts University. And Dorothy R. A student at the Friedman Graduate School of Nutrition Science Policy, he worked with the Nutrition Epidemiology team at USDA HNRCA to do this as part of his dissertation.

The biggest contributors to participants’ whole grain intake were whole wheat bread and ready-to-eat whole grain breakfast cereals. The refined grains came mainly from pasta and white bread. The difference in health benefits between whole grains and refined grains may be due to the fact that whole grains are less processed than refined grains. Whole grains have a fiber-rich outer layer and endoderm packed with B vitamins, antioxidants, and a small amount of healthy fat. Milling whole grains removes these nutrient-rich ingredients, leaving only refined grains filled with starch.

“The average American consumes about 5 servings of refined grain daily, well above the recommended amount, so it’s important to think about how to replace refined grains with whole grains throughout the day. For example, you can consider a bowl of whole grains instead of a white flour bag for breakfast and replace refined grain snacks, main dishes, and side dishes with whole grain options. Whole grain intake. Gradually changing diets to increase the amount makes a difference over time, “says McKean.


To measure daily grain intake, researchers used a dietary questionnaire completed by participants every four years from 1991 to 2014, with a median of 18 years of data.

Dietary assessment data were obtained from five study trials, and observations were included only if participants participated in the trial at least twice in a row using accurate dietary data. Participants with diabetes at baseline were excluded.

Statistical analysis has been tailored to factors that may affect results, such as other aspects of a healthy diet. The limits of the study include the fact that food consumption is self-reported, and participants may overestimate or underestimate the intake of certain foods based on their perceived social desirability. Due to its observational design, this study does not reflect causality.

Reference: July 13, 2021 Journal of Nutrition..
DOI: 10.1093 / jn / nxab177

Additional authors for this study are Paul Jacques, Alice Lichtenstein, Gail T. Rogers of USDAHNRCA, and Jiantao Ma and Edward Saltzman of Friedman School.

This work was supported by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, and the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Cardiopulmonary Blood (Flamingam Heart Research). The content is the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official view of the National Institutes of Health. See the survey for conflicts of interest.

Eating whole grains may protect you from heart disease Eating whole grains may protect you from heart disease

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