Study indicates whole grains may protect against heart disease

14 July 2021 | News

Eating Whole Grains Linked to Smaller Increases in Waist Size, Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar image credit- shutterstock image credit- shutterstock

Middle- to older-aged adults who ate at least three servings of whole grains daily had smaller increases in waist size, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels over time compared to those who ate less than one-half serving per day, according to new research.

Published in The Journal of Nutrition, the study by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in the US examined how whole- and refined-grain intake over time impacted five risk factors of heart disease: Waist size, blood pressure, blood sugar, triglyceride, and HDL (good) cholesterol.

The research team compared changes in the five risk factors, over four-year intervals, across four categories of reported whole grain intake, ranging from less than a half serving per day to three or more servings per day.

The results showed that for each four-year interval waist size increased by an average of over 1 inch in the low intake participants, versus about half inch in the high intake participants.

Even after accounting for changes in waist size, average increases in blood sugar levels and systolic blood pressure were greater in low intake participants compared to high intake participants.

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