Switch from Refined Grains to Whole to Improve Cardiometabolic Health


Greater whole grain consumption is known to be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease. A recent study by Tufts researchers looked at the impact of refined and whole grain intake on specific intermediate risk factors that might be responsible for that association. These factors include fasting blood glucose levels, waist circumference, systolic blood pressure, and blood triglyceride concentration.

The study analyzed information on dietary intake, health, and lifestyle of over 3,000 participants in the Framingham Offspring cohort study. When the 18-year data collection period began, these individuals were 55 years old on average and had an average BMI of 27 (on the low end of overweight).

The highest whole grain intake was associated with smaller increases in fasting glucose, waist circumference, and systolic blood pressure compared to the lowest intake. Conversely, greater intake of refined grains was associated with greater increases in waist circumference and less decline in triglyceride concentration.

Replacing refined grains (like white rice) and refined grain products (like white bread, white pasta, and refined-grain crackers) with whole grains (like barley, quinoa, bulgur, and brown rice) and whole grain products (like whole wheat breads and pastas and whole grain crackers) may help middle-aged and older adults keep abdominal fat, triglyceride, and blood glucose control more stable over time, thereby reducing the risk of cardiometabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.



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