Ditch the white bread! Eating more than seven portions of refined grains a day can increase your risk of early DEATH by 27%
- Refined carbs, including white bread and pasta have had fibre parts removed
- Scientists looked at the diets of 137,130 people around the world
- Those who consumed seven portions a day were found to be at a 33 per cent higher risk for heart disease, and a 47 per cent higher risk for stroke
From a delicious piece of white toast to a bowl of pasta, many of us enjoy consuming refined grains.
But a new study has warned that eating too many of them can have serious consequences, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and even early death.
Refined carbohydrates, including croissants, white bread and pasta, have had the high fibre parts removed, meaning they get broken down faster and lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed.
Based on the findings, the researchers are urging people to consider replacing their favourite refined grains with wholegrain options, such as brown rice and barley.
Refined carbs, including croissants, white bread and pasta have had the high fibre parts removed, meaning they get broken down faster and lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed
WHAT ARE PROCESSED FOODS?
A processed food has been altered in some way during its preparation.
This can be via freezing, canning, baking or drying.
Examples include breakfast cereals, pastries, crisps, microwave meals, cakes, bread and tinned vegetables.
Processed foods are not necessarily unhealthy unless sugar, salt or fat are added to make them more palatable or extend their shelf life.
This can lead to people eating more than the recommended allowance of sugar, salt and fat a day as they unaware of the levels in processed foods.
Grains are considered to be ‘whole’ if they contain all three original parts – the bran, the germ and the endosperm.
However, if one or more these three key parts has been removed, the grains are referred to as ‘refined.’
The Wholegrains Council explained: ‘White ﬂour and white rice are reﬁned grains, for instance, because both have had their bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm.
‘Reﬁning a grain removes about a quarter of the protein in a grain, and half to two thirds or more of a score of nutrients, leaving the grain a mere shadow of its original self.’
In the study, researchers from Simon Fraser University looked at the effects of following a diet high in refined grains.
Their analysis included 137,130 participants from 21 countries, including those from low-, middle- and high-income areas.
Grains in the participants’ diets were categorised into three groups – refined grains, whole grains and white rice.
Refined grains included goods made with white flour, including white bread, pasta, noodles, breakfast cereals, crackers and baked goods.
Meanwhile, whole grains included any foods made with wholegrain flours, or intact or cracked whole grains.
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that people should limit their intake of refined grains, and consider swapping them for whole grains
The analysis revealed that participants who consumed more than seven servings of refined grains per day were at a 27 per cent greater risk for early death.
This group was also found to be at a 33 per cent higher risk for heart disease, and a 47 per cent higher risk for stroke.
Professor Scott Lear, who led the study, said: ‘This study re-affirms previous work indicating a healthy diet includes limiting overly processed and refined foods.’
Based on the findings, the researchers suggest that people should limit their intake of refined grains, and consider swapping them for whole grains.
The researchers added: ‘Intakes of a combination of cereal grains with a lower intake of refined wheat products should be encouraged while promoting a higher intake of whole grains.
‘Reduction in quantity and improvement in quality of carbohydrate is essential for better health outcomes.’
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally wholegrain
• 30 grams of fibre a day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat cereal biscuits, 2 thick slices of wholemeal bread and large baked potato with the skin on
• Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks) choosing lower fat and lower sugar options
• Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consuming in small amounts
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have less than 6g of salt and 20g of saturated fat for women or 30g for men a day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide