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We live better and longer by eating whole grains

Two important prospective studies support the recommendation in favor of whole grains: they reveal that the consumption of whole grains is associated with lower mortality, both in women and in men.

Numerous epidemiological studies have reported an inverse association between the consumption of whole grains and pathologies such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Nevertheless, the data from prospective studies on mortality lead to divergent findings.

More than 2 700 000 people followed

D’ where the importance of these results from two large cohorts, composed of 74341 women from the Nurses’ Health Study, and 43744 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Monitoring is not less than the equivalent of 2 43744 006 person-years.

The results after correction for potential confounding factors (age, smoking, BMI, physical activity and a healthy diet score) show that a high intake of whole grains is associated with total mortality as well than lower cardiovascular mortality. However, cancer mortality does not seem to be influenced by whole grain intake.

Each serving of 28g reduces total mortality by 5%

The authors calculate that each daily serving of 28 g of whole grains is associated with a 5% reduction in total mortality, and a 9% reduction in cardiovascular mortality. Cereal bran appears to play a more important role than germ, as similar results are observed for bran intake, while germ intake is not associated with cardiovascular mortality.

Compared to refined cereal products, whole cereals contain interesting nutrients and phytochemicals (fibre, magnesium, antioxidants, etc.), but the precise mechanisms involved in this effect on mortality still need to be clarified. However, this study provides additional evidence in favor of the recommendation to favor whole grains.


Wu H and Association Between Dietary Whole Grain Intake and Risk of Mortality. Two Large Prospective Studies in US Men and Women JAMA Intern Med.

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