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Eating more *refined* grains increases risk of heart attack and early death

 

NutritionChat
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Eating more refined grains increases risk of heart attack and early death

New study shows these surprising food sources are more likely to cause heart disease

BMJ: Associations of cereal grains intake with cardiovascular disease and mortality across 21 countries

Consuming a high number of refined grains, such as croissants and white bread, is associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular disease, stroke and death.

The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study has been examining diets from diverse populations around the world. Over 16 years of analysis of 137,000 participants in 21 countries, the researchers found the intake of refined grains and added sugars have greatly increased over the years.

Grains were categorized into three groups:

  • White rice
  • Refined grains: white flour, white bread, pasta/noodles, breakfast cereals, crackers, bakery products/desserts.
  • Whole grains: whole-grain flours (e.g. buckwheat) and intact or cracked whole grains (eg. steel cut oats).

 

7+ servings/day of refined grains was associated with the following increased risks:

  • 27% early death,
  • 33% heart disease,
  • 47% stroke.


No significant adverse health effects were found with consuming white rice or whole grains.

The study suggests eating whole grain foods like brown rice and barley, and having fewer cereal grains and refined wheat products. Reducing one’s overall consumption of refined grains and having better quality carbohydrates is essential for optimal health outcomes.


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