No increased disease risk by eating refined grain foods - study review

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

No increased disease risk by eating refined grain foods - study review

Related tags Whole grain

Consuming up to 50% of all grain foods as refined grains will not lead to any increased disease risk, according to a study reviewing all relevant literature from the Noughties.

The study‘Evaluation of the evidence between consumption of refined grains and health outcomes’​ published online ahead of inclusion in the journal Nutrition Review assessed 135 articles on refined grain foods published between 2000-2010.

It concluded that no increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or weight gain came from eating 50% of all grain foods as refined grain foods which don’t have high levels of added fat, sugar or sodium.

The review was conducted by Peter G Williams of the University of Wollongong, Australia.

High consumption ill-advised

Despite establishing no link between refined grain foods and increased disease risk, Williams said that whole grain options should be preferred for cereals.

“The protective effects of whole grains are well established, and in order to promote increased consumption without exceeding total grain consumption recommendations, there has to be a consequent decrease in the amount of refined-grain foods consumed,” ​he said.

“In all communications with the public, the importance of limiting cereal-based foods that are high in added fat, sugar, and sodium still needs to be emphasized,”​ he continued.

Potential cancer risk with high intakes

The review did note a handful of studies that associated high intakes of refined grain foods with some types of cancer.

However, it added that “at moderate levels of consumption the risks were not significant”.

For the purposes of the study, refined grain foods included breads, breakfast cereals and pasta.

Study: Williams, P. G. (2012), Evaluation of the evidence between consumption of refined grains and health outcomes. Nutrition Reviews. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2011.00452.x

Related topics Science

1 comment

Make half your grains whole - old advice with a negative spin

Posted by Elisa Bremner, RD,

If you read the results of the study, they say no adverse effects from eating up to half your grains as refined. This is the same advice the USDA and dietitians have been giving for decade, "Make half your grains whole." We should continue to emphasize the positive, rather than saying, "it's not so bad if you do this..." Also note, it does not say 1/2 your overall diet can be refined grains, which is often the case with the standard american diet (SAD). If you want to be healthy, focus on nutritious foods, don't try to "get away with" eating junk! All foods can fit into a healthy diet - in moderation.

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