Whole Grains – More Power…

Ok, not everyone in this country has Celiac disease, an allergy to gluten, a wheat protein. Many may be allergic to dairy ingredients, soy ingredients, additives and chemicals, or honey which sometimes found in bread and are known food allergy foods. So lets look at the big picture. The amount of people allergic to wheat is quite skewed and misrepresented by people who are on the grain hate bandwagon. Wheat actually yields a lot of health benefits and I think we need to acknowledge its importance in the diet. If you do not seriously have a gluten allergy then wheat grains can be healthful.

Benefits (from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota) sums it up nicely.


Plant sterols and stanols are found in oilseeds, grains, nuts and

legumes. These compounds are known to reduce serum

cholesterol (Yankah & Jones, 2001). Structurally, they are

very similar to cholesterol, differing in side-chain methyl and

ethyl groups. It is believed that phytosterols inhibit dietary

and biliary cholesterol absorption from the small intestine.

Phytosterols have better solubility than cholesterol in bilesalt

micelles in the small intestine. Phytosterols displace

cholesterol from micelles, which reduces cholesterol

absorption and increases its excretion (Hallikainen  et al.

2000). In order to inhibit absorption of dietary cholesterol the

sterol must be consumed at the same time as cholesterol. The

amount of plant sterols and stanols necessary to achieve a

significant cholesterol-lowering effect has been the subject of

debate. Although a significant effect has been reported for

< 1 g/d, intakes of 1–2 g/d are usually suggested. A dose–

response effect is reported for phytosterols that plateaus at

about 2·5 g/d (Nair et al. 1984). The average Western diet

contains an estimated 200–300 mg plant sterols/d. Vegetarians

may consume up to 500 mg/d. Increased whole-grain

consumption would increase total phytosterol intake and

potentially contribute to cholesterol reduction.

Unsaturated fatty acids

Wholegrain wheat contains about 30 g lipids/kg and wholegrain

oats contain about 75 g lipids/kg. Grain lipids comprise

about 75 g unsaturated fatty acids/100 g, of which there are

approximately equal amounts of oleic and linoleic acid and

1–2 g linolenic acid/100 g. Palmitate is the main saturated

fatty acid. There are approximately 20 g unsaturated lipid/kg

whole wheat and about 55 g/kg whole-oat foods. Both oleic

and linoleic acid are known to reduce serum cholesterol and

are important components of a heart healthy diet (McPherson

& Spiller, 1995). There has been considerable emphasis on

low-fat diets for reduced heart disease. However, the type of

fat consumed is important as well as the amount of fat. If the

fat is saturated, LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol levels

increase, but these levels decrease when the fat is unsaturated.

In studies with individual fatty acids stearic acid, oleic acid

and linoleic acid were associated with lowering total cholesterol

and LDL-cholesterol. Other studies have confirmed the

cholesterol-lowering effect of grain lipids and high-lipid bran

products (Gerhardt & Gallo, 1998).


Anti-nutrients found in grains include digestive enzyme

(protease and amylase) inhibitors, phytic acid, haemagglutinins

and phenolics and tannins. Protease inhibitors, phytic acid,

phenolics and saponins have been shown to reduce the risk of

cancer of the colon and breast in animals. Phytic acid, lectins,

phenolics, amylase inhibitors and saponins have also been

shown to lower the plasma glucose, insulin and/or plasma

cholesterol and triacylglycerols (Slavin et al. 1999). In grains

protease inhibitors make up 5–10 % of the water-soluble protein

and are concentrated in the endosperm and embryo.


Whole grains are rich in many components, including dietary

fibre, starch, fat, antioxidant nutrients, minerals, vitamins,

lignans and phenolic compounds that have been linked to

reduced risk of CHD, cancer, diabetes, obesity and other

chronic diseases. Most of the components are found in the

germ and bran, which are reduced in the grain-refining

process. The most potent protective components of whole

grains need identification so that efforts can be directed to

minimising the losses of physiologically-important constituents of

grains during processing. There is also a need to

educate the public to increase their intake of whole grains to

the recommended levels.
More Studies




This entry was posted in Cancer, Diet, Heart Disease, Nutrition. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s