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Switching to Whole Grains Can Reduce Abdominal Fat

Visceral fat is a dangerous type of abdominal fat that can surround vital organs like the liver. To see if grain choices might play a role in this fat distribution, researchers randomly assigned 50 Japanese men with a BMI of 23 or greater (midway through the “healthy weight” range or heavier) to a diet with whole grain bread or white bread for 12 weeks, and had their visceral fat estimated using tomography scans. After the 12-week study, the whole grain group lost 4 cm of visceral fat around their middle, while the white bread group showed no significant changes.
Plant Foods and Human Nutrition. 2018 Apr 18. [Epub ahead of print.] (Kikuchi Y et al.)

Common Healthy Eating Pattern Across Different Asian Ethnic Groups Linked with Better Cholesterol, BMI, Waist Size

Researchers analyzed the eating habits of 8,433 adults in Singapore who were of Chinese, Malay, and Indian ethnicity. Despite the wide variety in food preferences among these different ethnic groups, researchers were able to identify a common healthy eating pattern based on fruits, vegetables, dairy, wholegrain breads, breakfast cereals, unsaturated cooking oils; and low in fast food, sweetened beverages, meat, and flavored rice. Those most closely following the healthy eating pattern were more likely to have a lower BMI, smaller waist size, and lower levels of total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides (another type of fat in the blood).
Journal of Nutrition. 2018 Apr 1;148(4):616-623. (Whitton C. et al.)

Healthy Eating in Mid-Adulthood Linked with Healthier Body Composition Down the Road

It is never too late to begin the journey to healthy eating. In fact, adopting healthier habits in mid-adulthood may be especially important. To see the effect diet has on body fat distribution, researchers analyzed the eating patterns of approximately 2,000 adults (average age = 48 years), and then assessed their body composition 20 years later. Those with higher-quality diets in mid-adulthood (most closely following a Mediterranean Diet, DASH Diet, or scoring higher on the Healthy Eating Index – all of which prioritize vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, and limit sweets and processed or red meats) had lower total body fat and a lower BMI, which are critical in chronic disease prevention. Following a high-quality diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, over a period of time is important to maintain a healthy level of body fat and to prevent fat tissue from accumulating in the liver.
Obesity. 2017 Aug;25(8):1442-1450. (Maskarinec G et al.)

Whole Grain Bread Not Associated with Central Obesity

Norwegian researchers reviewed data from more than 50,000 adults to investigate possible associations between central obesity and diet. After adjusting for confounding variables, they found that people with central obesity ate less bread, especially whole grain bread. They also had lower intake of fruits, berries, vegetables, pasta and rice – and higher intake of sausages, hamburgers and boiled potatoes. Researchers especially cited decreased consumption of whole grain bread and increased consumption of sugar-free drinks as being of special clinical significance.
Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2014 Feb 12:1-10 (Mostad et al.)

Weight Loss, Decreased Fat with Whole Grain

Switching to whole grains may reduce body fat and aid heart health, according to scientists at the University of Copenhagen. In a twelve-week, randomized clinical trial, they asked 79 overweight or obese postmenopausal women to eat a calorie-restricted diet incorporating either 480 calories of refined grain foods or the same amount of whole grain foods. Those eating the diet with whole grains lost more weight (3.6kg vs 2.7kg) and saw a more significant decrease in body fat (3% reduction vs 2.1%) compared to those eating refined grains. Cholesterol levels increased 5% in the refined group, highlighting the heart benefits of choosing whole grains instead of refined.
Journal of Nutrition, Feb 22, 2012. [Epub ahead of print] (Kristensen et al.)

Whole Grain Intake Associated with Less Abdominal Fat

Researchers at Tufts University, including Nicola McKeown, analyzed data from 2834 Framingham Heart Study participants aged 32-83 years old, to assess the relationship between whole grain consumption and body fat distribution. They found that people with the highest whole grain intake had less subcutaneous abdominal fat (fat under their skin) and less visceral abdominal fat (fat around their organs), while those with the highest refined grain intake had more of both types of abdominal fat, especially visceral fat. Visceral fat has been linked to higher risk for diabetes and heart disease.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. November 2010; 92(5):1165-71.

Ready-to-eat Oat Cereal May Help Reduce Waist Circumference

Researchers investigated the impact of regularly consuming a whole grain oat cereal during the course of a dietary program in 204 overweight or obese adults. In the study, one randomized group of subjects consumed two servings per day of a ready-to-eat oat cereal in place of a low-fiber food of equivalent calories (control, which was given to the second group of subjects). LDL cholesterol and waist circumference were reduced significantly more among those receiving the whole grain ready-to-eat oat cereal. Body weight, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol were not significantly different between the two groups.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Feb 2010;110(2):205-14

Lower Abdominal Fat with Higher Whole Grain Intake

Nicola McKeown and a team of Tufts researchers studied 434 older (age 60 to 80) adults, comparing their diet to their body fat and abdominal fat composition. No significant association was found between body composition and intake of total fiber or vegetable and fruit fiber. Whole grain intake and cereal fiber intake, however, correlated strongly with lower BMI, lower total percent body fat and lower abdominal (“trunk fat”) mass in older adults.
Journal of Nutrition, October 2009; 139(10);1950-1955. DOI:10.3945/jn.108.103762

Chronic Disease risks reduced with whole grain

A team of scientists in Boston and Baltimore led by PK Newby studied data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, and found that seniors consuming the most whole grain had lower body mass index (BMI) and weight, and smaller waist circumference. More whole grain consumption was also associated wtih lower total cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol and improved glucose response.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2007; vol 86(6): 1745-1753

 

Higher Whole Grain Intake Associated with Lower BMI

UK researchers Janice Harland and Lynne Garton pooled data from fifteen studies on whole grain intake and BMI or adiposity, and found that in 119,829 male and female subjects age 13 or older, a higher intake of whole grains (about three servings per day) was associated with lower BMI and less central adiposity (abdominal fat).
Public Health Nutrition, November 16, 2007; 1-10. Epublished ahead of print.