18 September 2009

More whole grains may mean less fat

Eating more whole-grain foods may help reduce body fat in older adults, says a new US study.

Eating more whole-grain foods may help reduce body fat in older adults, says a new US study.

The study looked at the eating habits – including the consumption of whole-grain bread, brown rice, popcorn and other whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables – of 177 men and 257 women, who averaged 68 years old.

Overall, the participants consumed relatively low amounts of whole-grain foods, averaging 1.5 servings a day, and dietary fibre, averaging 18.6g a day. US Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines recommend that older people consume three or more servings daily of whole-grain foods and 21 to 30g of dietary fibre a day.

Among the study participants, bread and cold breakfast cereals were the main sources of whole grains, and women were more likely than men to consume whole grains.

After adjusting for factors such as levels of physical activity, the researchers found that a higher intake of whole grains was associated with lower amounts of total body fat and abdominal fat.

Fibre in cereal is key
People who consumed the highest amounts of whole grains had about 2.4% less total body fat and 3.6% less abdominal fat than those who ate the least. This difference was found to be related to fibre in cereal, but not in fruits or vegetables. When only cereal fibre was taken into account, those who consumed the most had 3.2% less body fat and 5% less abdominal fat than those who ate the least amount of cereal fibre.

The findings appear in the October issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

The study's authors said that further research is needed to learn more about how whole-grain foods might regulate energy intake and how different types of fibre affect body fat distribution.

(HealthDay News, September 2009)

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