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Whole Grains Show Weight Loss and Heart Health Potential

Refined grains make up a large portion of the American diet, with whole grains accounting for only 11% of grain consumption in the US. Did you know that switching to whole grain wheat could potentially help you lose weight and lower your cholesterol?

Whole grains include the entire grain seed, which consists of bran, germ and endosperm. Refined grains have been milled to remove the bran and germ, which also removes dietary fiber, iron and B vitamins.

Researchers from several European institutions collaborated on this study. Their findings will be published in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

Participants in the study included 79 overweight or obese postmenopausal women who consumed a calorie restricted diet that included either refined or whole grain wheat products for 12 weeks.

At the conclusion of the study the whole wheat group showed an 8 lb weight loss, while the refined grain group showed a 6 lb weight loss. While the researchers did not feel those results were statistically that different, they did note that the changes in percentage of body fat were significant. The whole grain group exhibited a 3% reduction and the refined wheat group showed a 2.1% reduction.

They also noted a 5% increase in total cholesterol and LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the refined wheat group, but no increase in the whole grain group. Total and LDL cholesterol are two important risk factors of cardiovascular disease, so these results may suggest a possible cardioprotective role for whole grain.

Whole grains are full of vitamin B, dietary fiber and iron, all of which have been shown to provide numerous health benefits, including reductions in the risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease and inflammatory disease. With the increased popularity of these grains, you can find products ranging from spaghetti to sandwich bread that will provide you with all of these benefits without sacrificing taste.

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