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High Intake of Refined Grains May Increase Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Refined grains are milled to have the germ and bran removed, which gives them a finer texture and extends their shelf life. The refining process also removes many nutrients, including fiber. A recent study has found that high intake of refined grains may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and early death. 

For their study, the researchers used data from the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology, which included 148,858 participants from 21 countries. Participants were followed for an average of 9.5 years. Food frequency questionnaires were used to evaluate intakes of refined grains, whole grains, and white rice. All incidences of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and death were reported during the follow-up period.

The researchers found that participants who consumed more than seven servings of refined grains per day had a 33% higher risk of heart disease. They also had a 47% greater risk of stroke, and a 27% greater risk of early death. Higher intakes of refined grains were also associated with higher systolic blood pressure.

The study was conducted by researchers from St. John’s Research Institute, McMaster University, and New York University.It was published on February 3, 2021 in the journal BMJ.

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