WEDNESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- People who regularly eat
whole grains rather than refined grains pack on less of the type of
fat linked to a higher risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes,
new research suggests.
In high amounts, visceral adipose tissue (VAT) -- the fat that
surrounds the intra-abdominal organs -- is associated with the
onset of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and insulin
resistance, health risk factors collectively known as the
"VAT volume was approximately 10 percent lower in adults who reported eating three or more daily servings of whole grains and who limited their intake of refined grains to less than one serving per day," said study co-author Nicola McKeown, a scientist with Tufts University's nutritional epidemiology program at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.
"For example, a slice of 100 percent whole-wheat bread or a half-cup of oatmeal constituted one serving of whole grains and a slice of white bread or a half-cup of white rice represented a serving of refined grains," she noted in a Tufts news release.
The findings, recently published online in the
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stem from an analysis of dietary surveys and body-fat scans conducted among more than 2,800 men and women between the ages of 32 and 83.
Even after accounting for additional lifestyle factors including
smoking history, alcohol consumption, fruit and vegetable intake,
percentage of calories comprised of fat, and physical activity
routines, the authors found that consuming several servings a day
of whole grains is associated with lower amounts of VAT.
However, those who consumed three servings a day of whole grains
and several daily servings of refined grains did not appear
to benefit from the whole grain-lower VAT connection.
"Whole grain consumption did not appear to improve VAT volume if refined grain intake exceeded four or more servings per day," noted McKeown.
"This result implies that it is important to make substitutions in the diet, rather than simply adding whole grain foods," she advised. "For example, choosing to cook with brown rice instead of white, or making a sandwich with whole-grain bread instead of white bread."
For more on the metabolic syndrome, visit the
U.S. National Library of Medicine.