Increasing the amount of whole grains you eat is good for your health, and the more you eat the greater the health benefits. For every 48 grams of whole grains consumed per day, there is a 25% decline in cardiovascular disease-related deaths, and a 20% decrease in the number of total deaths (deaths due to all causes).
These are the findings of the first meta-analysis (which compiles the results of many studies and then uses statistics to calculate an ‘average’ of those results) review of studies associating whole grain consumption with life span and susceptibility to disease.
This may not come as a surprise, as whole grains such as whole wheat, oats and brown rice are generally accepted as being better for your health than the processed versions. Processing generally involves milling the grain, removing the outer husk which also contains health promoting components such as dietary fibre, B vitamins, and minerals.
This meta-analysis confirms the already large body of evidence supporting the health benefits of whole grains and other processed food. But will this change the way we eat?
The findings support the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the US government, which recommend at least three servings daily of whole grains. They also match the current UK Eatwell guide. Both guidelines offer limited advice which suggests cutting out processed foods.
Senior author of the study, Assistant Professor Qi Sun from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained the strengths of this study:
Previous studies have suggested an association with consumption of whole grains and reduced risk of developing a multitude of chronic diseases that are among the top causes of deaths, although data linking whole grain intake and mortality were less consistent
The study found that for every serving of whole grains (16 grams) consumed per day, there was a……
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