Whole Grains Help Prevent Metabolic Syndrome

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Iranian researchers suggest that increasing intake of whole grains may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome.

A total of 827 participants (357 men and 470 women), aged 18 to 74 years, volunteered dietary intake information to the researchers using a food frequency questionnaire. Average consumption of whole and refined grains was 93 and 201 grams per day, respectively.

“Both men and women reported higher intakes of refined grain than of whole grains,” write the researchers.

Participants who ate more whole grains had lower prevalence of metabolic risk factors. Those who ate more refined grains had higher prevalence of metabolic risk factors, except for diabetes.

Higher consumption of refined grains was also associated with higher odds of having high cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as hypertension and metabolic syndrome.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2004


What Is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is identified by the presence of three or more of these components:

  • Central obesity as measured by waist circumference:
    Men — Greater than 40 inches
    Women — Greater than 35 inches
  • Fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dl
  • Blood HDL cholesterol:
    Men — Less than 40 mg/dl
    Women — Less than 50 mg/dl
  • Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHg
  • Fasting blood glucose greater than or equal to 110 mg/dl

Source: National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), Adult Treatment Panel III, National Institute of Health

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