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Santa should eat more wholegrains

Wholegrains associated with smaller waistlines

If more kids left Santa a wholegrain cookie and a glass of low-fat milk perhaps his waistline would be somewhat trimmer. Recent research from the US in over 400 older adults has found that in those who ate wholegrains there was an association between lower percent body fat mass and lower percent waist fat mass (measured by dual-energy-X-Ray-absorptiometry). The researchers found a dose-dependent response in 60-80 year olds who enjoy wholegrain foods such as wholemeal & mixed grain bread, wholegrain breakfast cereals with greater than 25% wholegrains, brown rice, popcorn, porridge and other grains; ever more reason to eat more wholegrains. The authors state the dietary fibre from predominately wholegrain cereals appears to be more protective against the development of chronic disease compared with fruit or vegetable fibre.

The result of this study add to the growing body of evidence from other epidemiological studies that have shown middle-aged adults who eat more wholegrains have a lower body mass index (BMI) and central obesity, and tend to gain weight less significantly than those who eat mainly refined grains.

With abdominal adiposity a major risk factor for many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some cancers, the Australian government recommends Australian women keep their waist circumference under 80cm and men under 94cm to reduce the risk of these chronic health problems.

Like many other studies, the average intake of wholegrains in this study population was low suggesting we should all be eating more wholegrains to help combat growing waistlines and chronic health problems. Switching your breakfast cereal or bread to one containing wholegrains is one of the easiest things you can do to increase your wholegrain intake.

In this study, the association between wholegrain intake and abdominal body fat remained significant after adjustment for refined grain. So the take home message is – you can still include refined grain foods such as pasta, white rice and white bread as part of a healthy and varied diet when you include wholegrains too. Do Santa’s waistline a favour and offer wholegrains this Christmas.

Go Grains Health & Nutrition recommends all Australian adults eat a least 48g of wholegrains every day. Click here to visit the wholegrains page of the Go Grain website, where you will find loads of helpful information on wholegrains; including some common examples of wholegrain foods and their approximate wholegrain content, a visual guide of how to reach the 48g daily target for wholegrains and information on the health benefits of choosing wholegrain.

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