Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Whole grain


Objective To examine the association of long term intake of gluten with the development of incident coronary heart disease.Design Prospective cohort study.Setting and participants 64 714 women in the Nurses' Health Study and 45 303 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study without a history of coronary heart disease who completed a 131 item semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire in 1986 that was updated every four years through 2010.Exposure Consumption of gluten, estimated from food frequency questionnaires.Main outcome measure Development of coronary heart disease (fatal or non-fatal myocardial infarction).Results During 26 years of follow-up encompassing 2 273 931 person years, 2431 women and 4098 men developed coronary heart disease. Compared with participants in the lowest fifth of gluten intake, who had a coronary heart disease incidence rate of 352 per 100 000 person years, those in the highest fifth had a rate of 277 events per 100 000 person years, leading to an unadjusted rate difference of 75 (95% confidence interval 51 to 98) fewer cases of coronary heart disease per 100 000 person years. After adjustment for known risk factors, participants in the highest fifth of estimated gluten intake had a multivariable hazard ratio for coronary heart disease of 0.95 (95% confidence interval 0.88 to 1.02; P for trend=0.29). After additional adjustment for intake of whole grains (leaving the remaining variance of gluten corresponding to refined grains), the multivariate hazard ratio was 1.00 (0.92 to 1.09; P for trend=0.77). In contrast, after additional adjustment for intake of refined grains (leaving the variance of gluten intake correlating with whole grain intake), estimated gluten consumption was associated with a lower risk of coronary heart disease (multivariate hazard ratio 0.85, 0.77 to 0.93; P for trend=0.002).Conclusion Long term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Heart, Risk, Prevalence, Coeliac disease, Gluten-free diet, Whole grain


To investigate whether a whole grain diet alters the gut microbiome and insulin sensitivity, as well as biomarkers of metabolic health and gut functionality.

Concepts: Nutrition, Insulin, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Carbohydrate, Whole grain


The health benefits of dietary fiber have long been appreciated. Higher intakes of dietary fiber are linked to less cardiovascular disease and fiber plays a role in gut health, with many effective laxatives actually isolated fiber sources. Higher intakes of fiber are linked to lower body weights. Only polysaccharides were included in dietary fiber originally, but more recent definitions have included oligosaccharides as dietary fiber, not based on their chemical measurement as dietary fiber by the accepted total dietary fiber (TDF) method, but on their physiological effects. Inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides, and other oligosaccharides are included as fiber in food labels in the US. Additionally, oligosaccharides are the best known “prebiotics”, “a selectively fermented ingredient that allows specific changes, both in the composition and/or activity in the gastrointestinal microflora that confers benefits upon host well-bring and health.” To date, all known and suspected prebiotics are carbohydrate compounds, primarily oligosaccharides, known to resist digestion in the human small intestine and reach the colon where they are fermented by the gut microflora. Studies have provided evidence that inulin and oligofructose (OF), lactulose, and resistant starch (RS) meet all aspects of the definition, including the stimulation of Bifidobacterium, a beneficial bacterial genus. Other isolated carbohydrates and carbohydrate-containing foods, including galactooligosaccharides (GOS), transgalactooligosaccharides (TOS), polydextrose, wheat dextrin, acacia gum, psyllium, banana, whole grain wheat, and whole grain corn also have prebiotic effects.

Concepts: Gut flora, Nutrition, Starch, Carbohydrate, Dietary fiber, Whole grain, Fructooligosaccharide, Prebiotic


Background: Suboptimal diet is one of the most important factors in preventing early death and disability worldwide.Objective: The aim of this meta-analysis was to synthesize the knowledge about the relation between intake of 12 major food groups, including whole grains, refined grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, eggs, dairy, fish, red meat, processed meat, and sugar-sweetened beverages, with risk of all-cause mortality.Design: We conducted a systematic search in PubMed, Embase, and Google Scholar for prospective studies investigating the association between these 12 food groups and risk of all-cause mortality. Summary RRs and 95% CIs were estimated with the use of a random effects model for high-intake compared with low-intake categories, as well as for linear and nonlinear relations. Moreover, the risk reduction potential of foods was calculated by multiplying the RR by optimal intake values (serving category with the strongest association) for risk-reducing foods or risk-increasing foods, respectively.Results: With increasing intake (for each daily serving) of whole grains (RR: 0.92; 95% CI: 0.89, 0.95), vegetables (RR: 0.96; 95% CI: 0.95, 0.98), fruits (RR: 0.94; 95% CI: 0.92, 0.97), nuts (RR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.84), and fish (RR: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.88, 0.98), the risk of all-cause mortality decreased; higher intake of red meat (RR: 1.10; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.18) and processed meat (RR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.36) was associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality in a linear dose-response meta-analysis. A clear indication of nonlinearity was seen for the relations between vegetables, fruits, nuts, and dairy and all-cause mortality. Optimal consumption of risk-decreasing foods results in a 56% reduction of all-cause mortality, whereas consumption of risk-increasing foods is associated with a 2-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality.Conclusion: Selecting specific optimal intakes of the investigated food groups can lead to a considerable change in the risk of premature death.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Meat, Fruit, Random effects model, Pork, Whole grain, Refined grains


Background: The effect of whole grains on the regulation of energy balance remains controversial.Objective: We aimed to determine the effects of substituting whole grains for refined grains, independent of body weight changes, on energy-metabolism metrics and glycemic control.Design: The study was a randomized, controlled, parallel-arm controlled-feeding trial that was conducted in 81 men and postmenopausal women [49 men and 32 women; age range: 40-65 y; body mass index (in kg/m(2)): <35.0]. After a 2-wk run-in period, participants were randomly assigned to consume 1 of 2 weight-maintenance diets for 6 wk. Diets differed in whole-grain and fiber contents [mean ± SDs: whole grain-rich diet: 207 ± 39 g whole grains plus 40 ± 5 g dietary fiber/d; refined grain-based diet: 0 g whole grains plus 21 ± 3 g dietary fiber/d] but were otherwise similar. Energy metabolism and body-composition metrics, appetite, markers of glycemic control, and gut microbiota were measured at 2 and 8 wk.Results: By design, body weight was maintained in both groups. Plasma alkylresorcinols, which are biomarkers of whole-grain intake, increased in the whole grain-rich diet group (WG) but not in the refined grain-based diet group (RG) (P-diet-by-time interaction < 0.0001). Beta ± SE changes (ΔWG compared with ΔRG) in the resting metabolic rate (RMR) (43 ± 25 kcal/d; P = 0.04), stool weight (76 ± 12 g/d; P < 0.0001), and stool energy content (57 ± 17 kcal/d; P = 0.003), but not in stool energy density, were higher in the WG. When combined, the favorable energetic effects in the WG translated into a 92-kcal/d (95% CI: 28, 156-kcal/d) higher net daily energy loss compared with that of the RG (P = 0.005). Prospective consumption (P = 0.07) and glycemia after an oral-glucose-tolerance test (P = 0.10) trended toward being lower in the WG than in the RG. When nonadherent participants were excluded, between-group differences in stool energy content and glucose tolerance increased, and between-group differences in the RMR and prospective consumption were not statistically significant.Conclusion: These findings suggest positive effects of whole grains on the RMR and stool energy excretion that favorably influence energy balance and may help explain epidemiologic associations between whole-grain consumption and reduced body weight and adiposity. This trial was registered at as NCT01902394.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Energy, Obesity, Mass, Body mass index, Whole grain, Refined grains


Higher intake of whole grains has been associated with a lower risk of major chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (CVD), although limited prospective evidence exists regarding whole grains' association with mortality.

Concepts: Medicine, Disease, Death, Medical terms, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Non-infectious disease, Whole grain


BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in China and worldwide. Whole grain oats can reduce risk of CVD by reducing total and LDL-cholesterol, major risk factors for CVD. While this association has been established in many populations, data from Asian populations is limited. Thus, this study investigated the impact of oat consumption on cholesterol levels in Chinese adults. Male and female data from this work were previously published separately in Mandarin in two Chinese journals. The combined male and female data were reanalyzed and are presented here. METHODS: A randomized, controlled, parallel-arm study was conducted at Beijing Hospital, Beijing China. Subjects were adults (men and women) with mild to moderate hypercholesterolemia. The oat group (n=85) consumed 100 grams of instant oat cereal versus the control group (n=81) who consumed 100 grams of wheat flour-based noodles daily for 6 weeks. Laboratory and anthropometric measurements were conducted at baseline and at the end of the 6-week intervention. RESULTS: Dietary fiber intake increased significantly in the oat group compared to the control group at the end of the 6-week intervention. Total-, LDL-cholesterol and waist circumference decreased significantly in the oat group compared to the control. HDL-cholesterol decreased significantly in the control group versus the oat group. There were no significant changes in blood pressure, other anthropometric or laboratory measures between the two groups at the end of the intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Instant oatmeal consumed daily for 6 weeks significantly increased fiber intake and decreased major risk factors for CVD in Chinese adults with hypercholesterolemia. Increased consumption of whole grains, including oats, should continue to be encouraged.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Wheat, Cereal, Oat, Whole grain, Porridge, Rolled oats, Oatmeal


Abstract Soaking of cereal grains has been suggested as a method to reduce their phytate content and hence increase their mineral availability. Whole and milled wholegrain, normal and low phytate sorghum and normal maize were studied. Soaking of unmilled sorghum and maize did not result in substantial reductions in phytate or mineral contents. With milled grains, phytate solubilisation was somewhat greater in maize than in sorghum after a short (1 h) soaking period but not after 6-12 h of soaking when practically all phytate had been solubilised. Also, with milled, low phyate sorghums, phytate solubilisation was not substantially higher than in their null controls. Soaking milled grain substantially reduced mineral contents and Ca × phytate:zinc molar ratios. However, the loss in soluble minerals could have a greater negative effect on mineral availability, compared to the positive effect of the phytate reduction. Thus, soaking does not seem to be a viable household method to improve sorghum and maize mineral availability.

Concepts: Effect, Poaceae, Mineral, Cereal, Rice, Bran, Sorghum, Whole grain


Even though whole grain foods have various health benefits, consumers have been found not to eat enough of them. Nudging interventions are built on the premise that food purchases and consumption are strongly influenced by the environment in which decisions are made. Little research has been conducted to examine the influence of a small and inexpensive nudging intervention on bread choices in a real-life supermarket context. An in-store experiment was conducted in two six-week periods in two supermarkets to investigate the effects of accessibility on consumers' purchase of healthier whole grain and other types of bread. In the high accessibility condition, healthier bread was placed in a more convenient location for the shopper on the left side of the shelves where it was encountered first. In the low accessibility condition, it was placed on the right side. There were consistent significant differences in sales between supermarkets, types of bread, day of the week, but not between low and high accessibility. Additional research is needed to better understand the effects of convenience and accessibility on bread choices.

Concepts: Health insurance, Left-wing politics, Food, Bread, Barley, Whole grain, Supermarket, Cereal germ


Most cereal products, like white bread, pasta, and biscuits, are based on flour after removal of bran and germ, the two parts of grain kernels containing most of the dietary fibre and other bioactive components. In the past decade, consumers have been rediscovering whole grain-based products and the number of wholegrain products has increased rapidly. In most countries in Europe and worldwide, however, no legally endorsed definition of wholegrain flour and products exists. Current definitions are often incomplete, lacking descriptions of the included grains and the permitted flour manufacturing processes. The consortium of the HEALTHGRAIN EU project (FP6-514008, 2005-2010) identified the need for developing a definition of whole grain with the following scope: 1) more comprehensive than current definitions in most EU countries; 2) one definition for Europe - when possible equal to definitions outside Europe; 3) reflecting current industrial practices for production of flours and consumer products; 4) useful in the context of nutritional guidelines and for labelling purposes. The definition was developed in a range of discussion meetings and consultations and was launched in 2010 at the end of the HEALTHGRAIN project. The grains included are specified: a wide range of cereal grains from the Poaceae family, and the pseudo-cereals amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa, and wild rice. The definition also describes manufacturing processes allowed for producing wholegrain flours. This paper compares the HEALTHGRAIN definition with previous definitions, provides more comprehensive explanations than in the definition itself regarding the inclusion of specific grains, and sets out the permitted flour manufacturing processes.

Concepts: Wheat, Poaceae, Cereal, Maize, Rice, Barley, Whole grain, Cereal germ