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Why whole grains are better for you than refined grains

Whole wheat bread with seeds refined grains

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We know through well documented studies that whole grains are good for us. These studies have shown us the consuming whole grain varieties reduce the risk of developing diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Now, researchers from the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark shed new light on why whole grains are healthy.

Overall there was no change in the effect of dietary grain products on gut bacteria composition.

The set out to investigate whether a whole grain diet alters the gut microbiome and insulin sensitivity, as well as biomarkers of metabolic health and gut functionality.

The study included 50 Danish individuals at the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

They were randomly divided into 2 groups for a cross-over trial. One group consumed whole grain products for eight weeks. After which there was a six week wash out period where participants consumed their habitual diet. Following that, another eight weeks comprised of a diet of refined grain products.

The other group completed the study in reverse order.

The blood tests showed that participants had less inflammation in their body when they consumed whole grains.

Particularly, rye had a beneficial effect on the blood’s content of inflammatory markers.

Inflammation is the natural protective response of the body when combating an infection but some people, particularly those who are over-weight are susceptible to low grade inflammation even when there is no infection.

This unnecessary inflammation can lead to an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes.

The study also showed that participants ate less when consuming whole grains presumably due to feeling full. Participants generally lost weight while consuming whole grains.

The researchers also conducted DNA sequencing to analyse stool samples from the participants to examine if different diets affected the gut bacteria composition.

Overall there was no change in the effect of dietary grain products on gut bacteria composition.

Compared with refined grain, whole grain did not significantly alter glucose homeostasis (blood sugar levels).

Generally compared to a refined grain diet, a whole grain diet did not alter insulin sensitivity and gut microbiome but reduced body weight and systemic low-grade inflammation.

This provides a scientific basis for dietary recommendations to include whole grains into your diet particularly for people who are at the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or type-2 diabetes.

Swap refined grain products for ones made from whole grains such as barley, oats, rye, freekah, buckwheat and quinoa and whip up some delicious recipes to make a healthy wholesome meal. This will help you stay healthy, reduce weight, reduce glucose response and inflammation and increase satiety, contributing to your health and wellbeing.

Source: Gut


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!