A new study published in The British Medical Journal by researchers including SFU health sciences professor Scott Lear found consuming a high number of refined grains, such as croissants and white bread, is associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular disease, stroke and early death.
Grains were categorized into three groups: refined grains, whole grains and white rice. Refined grains included goods made with refined (e.g. white) flour, including white bread, pasta/noodles, breakfast cereals, crackers, and bakery products/desserts containing refined grains. Whole grains included whole grain flours (e.g. buckwheat) and intact or cracked whole grains (eg. steel cut oats).
The study found that having more than seven servings of refined grains per day was associated with a 27 per cent greater risk for early death, 33 percent greater risk for heart disease and 47 per cent greater risk for stroke.
“This study re-affirms previous work indicating a healthy diet includes limiting overly processed and refined foods,” says Lear.
No significant adverse health effects were found with consuming whole grains or white rice.
The study suggests eating whole grain foods like brown rice and barley, and having fewer cereal grains and refined wheat products. Reducing one’s overall consumption of refined grains and having better quality carbohydrates is essential for optimal health outcomes.
Materials provided by Simon Fraser University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.