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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Whole grains can shrink your mid-section and ward off disease

Health experts have been recommending whole grains over refined grains for years. A new study has shown that choosing whole grains over refined, processed grains lowers C-reactive protein (CRP) and shrinks the midsection.

CRP is linked to stroke and heart attacks, as is abdominal fat.

The study was done by Pennsylvania State University and included 50 obese women and men who had abdominal obesity, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. These signs are risk factors for many diseases, including stroke and heart disease.

The participants were asked to cut calories, but some of them were instructed to eat only whole grains, while others were instructed to eat refined, processed grains such as white bread. Each of the groups lost weight due to a calorie reduction, but the group eating only whole grains saw a decrease in the amount of body fat around the waistline and also saw a significant reduction in CPR levels – 38 percent.

Health experts think the CRP levels dropped due to antioxidant nutrients that are present in whole grains. Experts recommend eating barley, brown rice and oatmeal over white flour not only to lose weight, but to combat several diseases.

Whole grains also contain fiber, which keeps blood sugar levels stable.

The researchers recommend choosing whole grain products with ‘whole grain’ as the first ingredient in grain products, due to the fact that many products market themselves as whole grains, but are not completely so.

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