Aligning research on wholegrains


Whole grains (WGs) are undoubedtly important for health but, at times, comparing findings between studies can be cumbersome. Now, conclusions from a new paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends several approaches to ease this. These include:

  1. Reporting WG intakes in grams, as dry weight.
  2. Defining the term WG in the paper.
  3. Describing the different types of grain used.
  4. Describing the structure of grains used i.e. intact, crushed, partially milled etc.
  5. Describing the products and processes used to make the WGs.

WG intakes have also now been measured as part of the UK 2008-11 National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Data analysed from 3073 people showed that median WG intakes were 20 grams per day for adults and 13 grams per day for children, with teens and young adults having some of the lowest intakes. Interestingly, 18 per cent of adults and 15 per cent of children/teens did not report eating any WG foods at all.

A second paper by the same team of scientists also now showed that adults with the lowest WG intakes had significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation). Consumers eating WGs also had nutrient intakes that were more in line with dietary reference values for fibre, magnesium and iron and lower intakes of sodium.

These are important findings, highlighting the need to continue encouraging WG consumption, especially amoungst teenagers and young adults. Improved reporting in studies will also enable high quality meta-analysis papers to be complied in the future.

 For more information, see: Ross, AB et al. (2015) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 101 no. 5, pg 903-907; Mann, KD et al. (2015) British Journal of Nutrition Vol. 113, Issue 10 pg 1643-1651 and Mann, KD et al. (2015) British Journal of Nutrition Vol. 113, Issue 10 pg 1595-1602.


Whole Grains, Fibre & Health

wholegrains2-niThere is a growing body of new evidence looking at how whole grains and fibre may help to support health.  Now a new review has collated findings from latest research…

The review published in Nutrition & Food Science gathered evidence from 49 scientific studies.  Results from observational studies showed that higher whole grain and dietary fibre intakes were associated with a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, abdominal obesity and certain cancers.  Equally, intervention studies suggested benefits for appetite control, digestive health, improved blood lipid levels and glycaemic control.

Given these findings Government and industry should work to help the public identify foods rich in whole grains e.g. breakfast cereals and dietary fibre (especially insoluble fibre) and communicating the health benefits of these.

 For more information, see: Ruxton CHS & Derbyshire EJ (2014) Nutrition & Food Science Vol. 44 (6), pg 492-519.