New Research Reveals That Eating Core Grain Foods Doesn’t Affect Your Waistline!

 Key takeouts from the research:

  • Australian adults with the highest intakes of core grain foods, which is the leading source of carbohydrate in our diets, had similar waist circumferences and BMI’s compared to those with the lowest intakes of core grain foods¹.
  • Adults who avoid core grain foods are at risk of missing out on essential nutrients including fibre, which is beneficial for good gut health².

New results from a survey of over 9,000 Australian adults, published last week in the journal Nutrients, found that eating core grain foods isn’t linked to the size of your waistline. Adults with the highest intakes of core grain foods – which includes bread, breakfast cereals and pasta – had similar waist circumferences and BMI’s compared with adults who had the lowest core grain intakes.

This ground breaking analysis of the 2011-12 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, commissioned by the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC), found that not only was higher consumption of these grain foods not linked to a higher waist size, but grain consumers actually had a healthier diet and lifestyle pattern compared to those who avoided core grain foods¹.

The analysis of this research also demonstrated what many people have forgotten – grain foods are an essential source of fibre in our diet and Australians who eat more core grain foods have significantly higher fibre intakes than those who limit or avoid them. Emerging evidence also suggests that fibre-rich carbohydrate foods promote good gut health², which may ultimately have a favourable effect on health and chronic disease risk.

Overall grain consumption has declined over the last decade, with many Australians actively limiting gluten or carbohydrates – 42% of Australians report that they limit grain foods to assist with weight loss³. Many of these worrying trends are driven by widespread misconceptions and a lack of understanding about the multiple health benefits of grain foods.

Rebecca Williams, Nutrition Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian at GLNC explains the risks of limiting grain foods “Adults who limit healthy sources of carbohydrate – including core grain foods – end up putting themselves at risk of missing out on essential nutrients, such as fibre, folate, thiamine, iron, magnesium and zinc.”

“This new research highlights that we don’t need to cut back on grain foods like bread and pasta for weight management and actually, by doing so, people are putting their health at risk by not getting enough fibre.”

“It’s important that we don’t blindly follow the latest diet trends in search of a quick fix – choosing quality grain foods can have favourable effects on nearly every area of our health.”

Core grain foods, particularly those which are whole grain or high in fibre, provide a multitude of health benefits and choosing just three of our six serves of grain foods a day as whole grain or high fibre options, can help to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers4-8.

What’s more, it’s easy to get the recommended six serves of grain foods every day by enjoying a bowl of high fibre breakfast cereal in the morning, a wholemeal sandwich for lunch and a stir-fry with rice for dinner. Take a look at our serve size infographic below to see what constitutes a serve.

Why not try a traditional Egg Sandwich on Wholemeal as a quick and delicious way to increase your whole grains!

To find out more about the benefits of grain foods and carbohydrates, watch GLNC’s myth-busting webinar on low-carb diets or visit our website.


  1. Fayet-Moore F, Petocz P, McConnell A, Tuck K, Mansour M. The Cross-Sectional Association between Consumption of the Recommended Five Food Group “Grain (Cereal)”, Dietary Fibre and Anthropometric Measures among Australian Adults. Nutrients. 2017;9(2):157.
  2. Jones JM, Peña RJ, Korczak R, Braun HJ. CIMMYT Series on Carbohydrates, Wheat, Grains, and Health: Carbohydrates, Grains, and Wheat in Nutrition and Health: Their Relation to Digestion, Digestive Disorders, Blood Glucose, and Inflammation. Cereal Foods World. 2016;61(1):4-17.
  3. GLNC 2014 Consumption & Attitudes Study. Unpublished: 2014.
  4. Zong G, Gao A, Hu FB, Sun Q. Whole Grain Intake and Mortality From All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Circulation. 2016;133(24):2370-80.
  5. Aune D, Keum N, Giovannucci E, Fadnes LT, Boffetta P, Greenwood DC, et al. Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. Bmj. 2016;353.
  6. Chen G-C, Tong X, Xu J-Y, Han S-F, Wan Z-X, Qin J-B, et al. Whole-grain intake and total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. The American journal of clinical nutrition. 2016.
  7. Wei H, Gao Z, Liang R, Li Z, Hao H, Liu X. Whole-grain consumption and the risk of all-cause, CVD and cancer mortality: a meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. British Journal of Nutrition. 2016;116(03):514-25.
  8. Benisi-Kohansal S, Saneei P, Salehi-Marzijarani M, Larijani B, Esmaillzadeh A. Whole-Grain Intake and Mortality from All Causes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal. 2016;7(6):1052-65

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