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April 16, 2009 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Heart Health, Weight Control

The New Skinny on Whole Grains

A novel study in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Feb 08)gives us all more reasons to eat more whole grains. Investigators from Penn State University placed 50 obese adults with at least one risk factor for heart disease on a calorie restricted diet for 12 weeks. Half of the group was instructed to consume whole grains as part of their calorie trimming plan, while the rest were told to go for refined grains. At the end of the study, both groups were successful in losing weight but the whole grain group experienced a 38% reduction in their average CRP level in addition to losing more belly fat. CRP is a universal marker for low-grade inflammation in the lining of arteries and like belly fat is linked to both heart attacks and strokes. This study was particularly important because it was the first clinical trial to show that a low calorie diet, high in whole grains can result in weight loss while simultaneously reducing the risk of chronic diseases. For optimal health, strive for three, ½ cup servings of whole grains daily. Remember that physically intact grains, like brown rice, oats, and barley etc. along with dense, high-fiber cereals have an edge over whole grain breads.