Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another great reason to eat whole grains

Want more data to support whole grain consumption?

Consider this article posted in this month's Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease. In it the authors meta-analyzed seven prospective studies containing 149,000 participants in total and their intake of whole grains in relation to their incidences of cardiovascular disease.

The meta-analysis revealed that consuming at least 2.5 grams of whole grains every day was associated with a 21 per cent reduction in the risk of cardiovascular events than consumption of 0.2 grams per day.

To quote the authors,

"In light of this evidence, policy-makers, scientists, and clinicians should redouble their efforts to incorporate clear messages on the beneficial effects of whole grains into public health and clinical practice endeavours"
Couple these findings with those that show dramatic reduction in the risk of developing diabetes in the folks who eat the most whole grains and it sure makes you scratch your head as to why Health Canada hasn't revised their definition of whole wheat to require whole grains (rather than the current definition that allows companies to call their products whole wheat even though they throw away 70% of the grain's germ) and why they haven't revised the Food Guide's wording to strongly encourage the preferential consumption of whole grains over refined and remove the refined grain options from the online My Food Guide section.

Again Health Canada's lack of emphasis on whole grains begs the question - willful ignorance, overt stupidity, malignant laziness or Big Food corruption?

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  1. kristy7:07 am

    The definition refers to whole wheat flour, not all whole grains. The current definition of whole wheat flour allows flour mills to throw away up to 5% of the wheat grain.

    The germ is the component of the grain that is thrown away because it contains fat and it causes racidity. Typically 70% of the germ is removed (not 70% of the grain).

    Since the germ makes up about 5% of the wheat grain, this means that about 3.5% of the grain in total is actually removed from whole wheat flour.

  2. Umm, Kristy, first, of all, please re-read the posting -- Dr. Freedhoff DID say "70% of the germ's GRAIN"! Secondly, although the germ makes up only 5% (or less -- other sources say 3%) of the kernel's weight, it's actually the nutritional powerhouse, since it contains the actual wheat embryo (yes, that's what it's called), or seedling-to-be. Wheat germ is packed with B vitamins and mineral -- and that annoying fat that causes rancidity includes heart-healthy fats, as well as vitamin E! So it's an important part that's thrown away.