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6 reasons why you should eat your whole grains

24 November 2017
Scientific consensus on the health benefits announced

Whole grains have proven health benefits say scientists across the globe, including from the University of Sydney. In a joint statement, the group outlines the health hacks associated with eating more whole grains. 

Despite carbs getting a bad rap of late, whole grains – the entire seed of a plant which includes the bran, germ and endosperm – are good for us, a global consortium of scientists from across academia, industry and government has said.

Following a meeting in Italy in September this year, the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC) – established to support the science around dietary carbohydrates and health – has released a public statement outlining newly achieved scientific consensus on the health benefits of eating foods such as brown rice, oats, corn, barley and more.

Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, a member of the consortium and from the University’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Life and Environmental Sciences, said the consensus would enable improved policy around increasing consumption in the world’s populations.

She outlined six key points of consensus around the health benefits they offer:

1. Whole grains are full of goodness

In contrast to refined grains, they provide important sources of many essential minerals and vitamins, dietary fibre, and phytochemicals.

2. Whole grains have proven health benefits

Consumption is associated with reduced all-cause mortality, by reducing the risk of overweight and obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and possibly colorectal cancer.

3. Whole grains assist weight control

Evidence suggests they are important in assisting weight control in overweight and obese individuals.

4. We should eat whole grains regularly

Evidence supports regular consumption for the general population (except the very small percentage of people diagnosed with an intolerance, for example to gluten).

5. We should increase the amount of whole grains we eat

Increasing consumption from zero to about two servings/day is associated with health benefits.

6. We should all help to spread the word about whole grains

Multifaceted efforts to increase consumption are needed, including increasing awareness about health benefits, information on content of foods, promotion in the general media, efforts by the food industry and food services to make them desirable, enjoyable and affordable and to support a regulatory environment that promotes simple but evidence-based labelling and on-pack promotion.

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