Study Confirms Heart Benefits of Whole Grains

Eating an average of 2.5 servings of whole grain foods each day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost one-quarter. That’s the finding of a seven-study meta-analysis of 285,000 men and women led by Philip Mellen of Wake Forest University. In light of this evidence, Mellen said, policy-makers, scientists and clinicians should “redouble efforts” to get people to eat more whole grains.
Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, May 2008; 18(4):283-90. Epub April 2007.

Popcorn intake associated with higher whole grain intake

At the University of Nebraska, researchers examined data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to learn whether popcorn consumption was associated with different dietary intake patterns. They found that, on average, those who regularly ate popcorn consumed 250% more whole grain overall (2.5 vs 0.7 servings per day), and about 22% more fiber (18.1g vs 14.9g per day). The popcorn-eaters also consumed fewer meat servings and more carbohydrates.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association. May 2008; 108(5): 853-6.

Rye may Reduce Inflammation in People with Metabolic Syndrome

At the University of Kuopio in Finland, scientists assigned a group of 47 adults with metabolic syndrome to one of two different 12-week diets. The first group ate a diet with oat, wheat bread and potato (high post-meal insulin response) and the second group ate a diet with rye bread and pasta (low post-meal insulin response). The researchers found that the rye/pasta group showed less inflammation than the oat/wheat/potato group. Since inflammation may raise the risk of type 2 diabetes, the researchers concluded that choosing cereal foods wisely may be important to reduce diabetes risk, especially in those who already have metabolic syndrome.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. May 2008; 87(5): 1497-503.

“Whole” Whole Wheat Satisfies Longer

Researchers in Malmö, Sweden conducted a blind cross-over trial with 13 healthy adults to see If bread made largely with intact wheat kernels satisfied subjects longer than bread made with whole wheat flour, or refined wheat flour, and how the addition of vinegar would affect satiety. (Acetic acid, or vinegar, is known to increase satiety and lower postprandial blood glucose and insulin response.) The whole-kernel wheat bread with vinegar satisfied longest, even though it had the same amount of fiber as the whole wheat flour bread.
Nutrition Journal, April 27, 2008; 7:12

Sprouted Brown Rice Fights Diabetes

In Japan, six men and five women with impaired fasting glucose (pre-diabetes) or type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to eat either white rice or sprouted brown rice three times a day. After a two-week washout, subjects switched groups. Researchers reported that “blood concentrations of fasting blood glucose, fructosamine, serum total cholesterol and traicylglycerol were favorably improved on the sprouted brown rice diet but not on the white rice diet” suggesting that diets including sprouted brown rice may help control blood sugar.
Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, April 2008; 54(2):163-8.

Whole Grains may help cut Acne

Australian researchers led by Neil Mann recruited 50 young males (age 15-25) with mild to moderate acne for a twelve-week study of the relationship between diet and acne. Half the group ate a typical Western diet, while the other half ate lean meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables and substituted whole grain bread, cereals and rice for refined foods. After twelve weeks, the acne of the group eating more protein and whole grains “improved dramatically, by more than fifty percent.”
Journal of Dermatological Science, April 2008; 50(1):41-52. Epublished January 4, 2008.

Cholesterol and Visceral Fat Decrease with Barley

A randomized double-blind study in Japan followed 44 men with high cholesterol for twelve weeks, as the men ate either a standard white-rice diet or one with a mixture of rice and high-beta-glucan pearl barley. Barley intake significantly reduced serum cholesterol and visceral fat, both accepted markers of cardiovascular risk.
Plant Foods and Human Nutrition, March 2008; 63(1):21-5. Epub 2007 Dec 12.

Better Blood Sugar Control with Certain Whole Grains

Swedish researchers at Lund University have determined that certain whole grain products can help control blood sugar for up to ten hours. A team led by Anne Nilsson fed twelve healthy subjects test meals including different whole and refined grains, and found that barley and rye kernels at one meal had a long-lasting effect on controlling blood sugar extending to most of the day after the whole grain breakfast, or overnight with whole grains at dinner.
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2008; 87(3):645-54

Amaranth May Have Cancer-preventing, Anti-inflamatory Properties

Molecular biologists in Mexico set out to study the bioactive peptides in amaranth and, in 2008, were the first to report presence of a lunasin-like peptide in the protein in amaranth.  Lunasin is a peptide previously identified in soybeans and is widely thought to have cancer-preventive benefits as well as possibly blocking inflammation that accompanies several chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.  Additional bioactive peptides in amaranth protein were found to have antihypertensive properties.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, February 27, 2008; 56(4):1233-40.  Epub January 23, 2008.

Oats May Help Reduce the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers in Mannheim, Germany carried out a dietary intervention with 14 patients who had uncontrolled type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. The patients were introduced to a diabetes-appropriate diet containing oatmeal during a short hospital stay, then examined again four weeks later. On average, patients achieved a 40% reduction in insulin dosage – and maintained the reduction even after 4 weeks on their own at home.
Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes, February 2008; 116(2):132-4

Black/Brown Rice More Effective in Weight Control

At the Department of Food and Nutrition at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korean researchers randomly assigned forty overweight adult women to two groups. For six weeks, one group ate meals containing white rice, while the other consumed otherwise-identical meals with a mix of black and brown rice. While both groups showed significant reductions in weight, BMI and body fat, the whole grain rice group surpassed the white rice group in all three measures. The whole grain group also saw an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and in antioxidant activity.
Nutrition Research. February 2008; 28(2): 66-71.

Whole Grain offers pre-biotic benefits

A double-blind, randomized, cross-over study at the University of Reading, UK, divided 31 healthy adults into two groups. Half the volunteers ate 48g of whole grain cereal daily; the other half ate the same amount of wheat bran cereal daily for three weeks. After a two-week washout on normal diets, the groups were reversed for a second period of three weeks. The study concluded that whole grain cereal promoted increases in bifidobacteria and lactobacillus, while the bran cereal did not.
British Journal of Nutrition, January 2008; vol 99(1):110-20. Epublished August 29, 2007.