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Decreased Risk of Chronic Diseases with Higher Intake of Whole-Grains

In a new analysis of 66 research studies, increased consumption of fiber and whole grains is related to a significant decrease in risk of several vascular diseases.

High fiber intakes, including whole grains, are generally recommended for prevention of cardiovascular diseases, but comprehensive and specific research on dosages in humans is relatively unknown.

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition analyzed longitudinal studies investigating wholegrain and fiber intake in relation to the risk of type-2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), weight gain and metabolic risk factors.

Researchers identified 45 prospective cohort studies and 21 randomized-controlled trials conducted between 1966 and February 2012. After examining whole-grain and fiber intakes, study characteristics and risk estimates from these studies it was determined that compared with those that never or rarely consumed whole grains, those consuming 48-80 grams/day (3-5 servings of whole grains/day) had a 26% lower risk of T2D, 21% lower risk of CVD, and were less likely to gain weight.

In analyzing the randomized-controlled trials, the researchers also found that groups with higher intake of whole-grains had lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and fasting glucose than those that ate less fiber and whole grains.

The results from this meta-analysis offer evidence to support the beneficial effects of whole-grain intake in the prevention of certain vascular diseases and on maintenance of cardiovascular health.  More research is needed to determine the specific mechanisms responsible for the effect of whole grains on metabolic intermediates which correlate to the preventive benefits of fiber and whole grain.

Eva Qing Ye et al; J. Nutr. 2012. 142(7):1304-1313.



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