By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
Grain foods, eaten in moderation, won't widen your waistline
A new study conducted on over 9,000 Australian adults, published last week in the journal Nutrients, found that eating core grain foods isn't linked to the size of your waistline. Adults with the highest intakes of core grain foods - which includes bread, breakfast cereals and pasta - had similar waist circumferences and BMI's compared with adults who had the lowest core grain intakes.
The study, commissioned by the Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC), found that not only was higher consumption of these grain foods not linked to a higher waist size, but grain consumers actually had a healthier diet and lifestyle pattern compared to those who avoided core grain foods altogether.
The analysis of this research also demonstrated what many people have forgotten - grain foods are an essential source of fibre in our diet and Australians who eat more core grain foods have significantly higher fibre intakes than those who limit or avoid them.
Emerging evidence also suggests that fibre-rich carbohydrate foods promote good gut health, which may ultimately have a favourable effect on health and chronic disease risk.
Overall grain consumption has declined over the last decade, with many Australians actively limiting gluten or carbohydrates. The study found that 42% of Australians report that they limit grain foods to assist with weight loss. This does itself present a problem, provided the grain foods they choose to limit are the high energy (kJ) highly processed foods such as cakes, biscuits and pastries. Cutting out ALL grains foods however shows a lack of understanding of the multiple health benefits core grains provide.
As always it comes down to making good grain choices, which means avoiding the highly processed grain foods like the aforementioned cakes, biscuits, pastries and the highly processed bread and breakfast cereals (products which are usually also full of sugar) and choosing instead core grain foods made with wholegrains and which are high in fibre and essential nutrients such as folate, thiamine, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Core grain foods, such as oats for breakfast, wholegrains in bread and pasta, and brown rice provide a multitude of health benefits. Just three serves of grain foods a day, combined with lean protein and five serves of vegetables and two fruit will help to reduce our risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
It's reassuring for those of us who like wholegrains enough to block our ears to the latest diet trends. In moderation and selected well they are a delicious source of energy for our brains and body.
Long may grains reign!
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