Observational studies have shown that whole grain consumption decreases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
However, we know that observational studies show associations but can’t claim causation. i.e. we can say that people who eat more whole grains have a lower risk but not that they have a lower risk because they eat whole grains.
A recent study investigated whether the inclusion of whole grains could protect against metabolic diseases.
50 adults at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease were included in the study comparing refined carbohydrates to whole grain versions. The researchers found that participants ate less, lost weight and had less inflammation when they swapped refined for whole grain carbohydrate sources. E.g. white pasta for whole meal pasta. (link to study in comments for fellow geeks)
Participants seemed to habitually eat less when eating whole grain foods possibly due to the increased satiating effects.
Reduced inflammation is interesting and seems to be more than purely reduced inflammation due to weight loss. Rye in particular seemed to produce beneficial inflammatory markers.
Side note on inflammation:
Inflammation is the body’s response to infection. However, being overweight generally leads to low grade chronic inflammation – slightly elevated levels of inflammation despite there being no infection. This leads to a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Including whole grains in your diet may aid weight loss and reduce chronic inflammation. The inclusion of whole grains could be especially beneficial for those at risk of cardiovascular disease/ type 2 diabetes.
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