Examination of diet from diverse populations in low, middle and high- income countries were carried out, in a new study published in the British medical journal by researchers including SFU health science professor Scott Lear found that consuming a high number of refined grains such as croissants and white bread is associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular disease, stroke and early death.
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The prospective urban rural epidemiology (PURE) study has been examining diets from diverse populations in countries around the world. Over sixteen years of analysis of 137,130 participants in 21 countries including Canada, the researchers found the intake of refined grains and added sugar has greatly increased over the years.
Grains were categorized into three groups
- Refined grains: this includes goods made with refined (e.g white) flour, including white bread, pasta/noodles, breakfast cereals, crackers and bakery products/ desserts containing refined grains
- Whole grains: this includes whole grains flour (e.g buckwheat ) and grain flour intact or cracked whole grains (e.g steel-cut oats )
- White rice
The study found that having more than seven servings of refined grains per day was associated with a twenty-seven percent greater risk for early death, thirty-three percent greater risk for heart disease and 47 percent greater risk for stroke. “The reaffirm previous work indicating a healthy diet includes limiting overly processed and refined foods,” says Lear.
No significant adverse health effects were found with consuming whole grains or white rice.
The study suggests eating whole grains foods like brown rice and barley and fewer cereals grains and refined wheat products.
Reducing one’s overall consumption of refined grains and having better quality carbohydrates is essential for optimal health outcome.
By: Peace Chigozie