Whole-grain products offer a multitude of benefits, from
providing loads of fiber for a healthy digestive system to
boosting antioxidant and micronutrient levels in the body
to help prevent chronic diseases. In the United States, most
grain products, such as white bread, pasta and sugary cereals,
are not actually whole grains, however. Instead, Americans
are filling up on these "refined grains," which are essentially
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
determined the effects of refined and whole grains on
cardiovascular disease risk in over 80,000 male physicians
age 40 or older. The physicians reported on their average
daily intake of various types of breakfast cereals; cereals
containing at least 25% of whole grains or bran by weight
were considered whole grains.
the next five years, men who ate one or more servings of whole-grain
cereals each day were 29% less likely to die of heart attack
and 20% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than
men who ate them rarely or never. The amount of total or refined-grain
cereals consumed did not significantly affect risks for any
forms of cardiovascular disease. Men who ate the most whole-grain
cereals were also about 20% less likely to die from any cause
over the study period.
How many servings of whole-grain cereals do you eat daily?
Whole grains provide even more benefits, including a reduced
risk for diabetes. Try eating only those breakfast cereals
and breads with a whole grain listed as their primary ingredient.
Be sure to actually read the ingredients on the back of the
packaging; many products touted as wheat or grain products
are actually made from enriched and refined wheat flours.
If the first ingredient isn't listed as a whole grain, e.g.
"whole wheat flour," you're not really buying a whole-grain
Liu S, Sesso HD, et al. Is intake of breakfast cereals related
to total and cause-specific mortality in men? American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2003:77, pp. 594-599.
Additional information on the benefits of proper nutrition
can be found at http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/nutrients.html.