Science Points to Whole Grain Benefits

Below is a compilation of abstracts of some of the most recent research substantiating the benefits of rice. Please note that wherever "brown rice" is referred to, the benefit holds for other whole grain rices as well, such as red and black rice.

Abstracts are grouped according to the topics below:

 

Cancer Prevention

Breast Cancer: Cereal Fiber May Affect Estrogen Regulation

A UK study suggests that women who eat large amounts of fiber could cut breast cancer risk in half. The effect was greatest on pre-menopausal women, which Janet Cade and her team at Leeds University say may be because fiber affects the way the body processes and regulates the female hormone estrogen.

- International Journal of Epidemiology, April 2007; 36(2):431-438

Pancreatic Cancer Risk and Whole Grains

Pancreatic cancer is the most fatal cancer in the U.S., but eating two servings or more of whole grains daily may cut the risk of this swift and deadly killer by up to 40%. That was the finding of researchers at UC San Francisco led by June Chan, who compared diets of 532 pancreatic cancer patients with 1,701 people not suffering from the disease.

- The American Journal of Epidemiology, November 2007; 166(10):1174-1185

Whole Grains May Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk

A team of researchers led by Arthur Schatzkin studied data for almost half a million middle-aged men and women enrolled in the NIH-AARP Diet and Healthy Study, to learn whether fiber intake and/or whole grains might reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. In this analysis, total dietary fiber intake was not associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, but both grain fiber and whole grains were shown likely to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May 2007; 85(5):1353-1360

Whole Grains Lessen Rectal Cancer Risk

At the University of Utah, a team led by Martha Slattery found that high intakes of vegetables, fruits and whole grains reduced the risk of rectal cancer by 28%, 27% and 31% respectively. A high-fiber diet (more than 34 grams of fiber per day) reduced rectal cancer by an impressive 66%, in this study of over 2000 people.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2004; 79(2):274-28

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Diabetes

Brown Rice Shown to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

In addition to being a low glycemic index food, brown rice, as well as other whole grains, have been shown to substantially lower Type 2 Diabetes risk. Researchers calculated that a two- serving-per-day increment in whole grain consumption was associated with a 21% decrease in risk of type 2 diabetes.The research strongly suggests that a healthy diet that reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes should include the consumption of several servings of whole grains daily.

- Whole Grain, Bran, and Germ Intake and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Cohort Study and Systematic Review; Jeroen S. L de Munter, Frank B Hu, Donna Spiegelman, Mary Franz, and Rob M van Dam.

Whole Grains Reduce Diabetes Risk

Dr. Nicola McKeown and fellow researchers at Tufts University found that people who eat three or more servings of whole grains a day, especially from high-fiber cereals, are less likely to develop insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, common precursors of both Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

- Diabetes Care, February 2004; 27:538-546

Whole Grains and Fruits Blunt Diabetes’ Impact

Soluble fibers from whole grains and fruits may reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in people with Type 2 diabetes. That's the finding of T. Steemburgo and a team of researchers in Brazil. Their cross-sectional study of 214 patients seems to indicate that greater consumption of fruits and vegetables may blunt some of the additional risks associated with diabetes.

- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2009; 63:127–133

Dietary Factors Reduce Diabetes Risk

The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) being carried out by researchers around the U.S. and in Norway, has found that eating a "low risk food pattern" including more whole grains, fruits, green leafy vegetables, low- fat diary, and nuts/seeds, was associated with a 15% lower diabetes risk. Researcher Jennifer Nettleton, PhD, stressed that the interplay of a variety of healthy foods likely contributes to the reduced risk.

- Diabetes Care, June 10, 2008

Whole Grains Reduce Diabetes Risk in 40,000 Women

Dr. Rob van Dam and colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health studied over 40,000 African- American women over eight years, and found that eating more whole-grains and low-fat dairy foods reduced the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.

- Diabetes Care, July 2007; 30(7):1753-1757

Whole Grains Lower Diabetes, Heart Risk

A joint Danish-American study analyzed diet records and took blood samples from 938 healthy men and women. The team, including Majken Jensen of Aarhus University Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, found that those with the highest whole grain consumption had the lowest levels of risk factors in their blood: homocysteine 17% lower, insulin and C-peptide both 14% lower, and leptin 11% lower. Researchers concluded, "The results suggest a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease in persons who consume diets high in whole grains."

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2006: 83(2):275-283

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General

Whole Grains May Help Cut Acne

Australian researchers led by Neil Mann recruited 50 young males (age 15-25) with mild to moderate acne for a twelve- week study of the relationship between diet and acne. Half the group ate a typical Western diet, while the other half ate lean meat, poultry, fish, fruits, vegetables and substituted whole grain bread, cereals and rice for refined foods. After twelve weeks, the acne of the group eating more protein and whole grains "improved dramatically, by more than fifty percent.

- Journal of Dermatological Science, April 2008; 50(1):41-52. Epub January 4, 2008

Chronic Disease Risks Reduced with Whole Grain

A team of scientists in Boston and Baltimore led by PK Newby studied data from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, and found that seniors consuming the most whole grain had lower body mass index (BMI) and weight, and smaller waist circumference. More whole grain consumption was also associated with lower total cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol and improved glucose response.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2007; 86(6): 1745-1753

Whole Grains Cut Children’s Asthma Risk in Half

A team from the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment found that children who ate whole grains were 54% less likely to develop asthma and 45% less likely to develop wheezing than children who did not eat whole grains.

- Thorax, International Journal of Respiratory Medicine, December 2006; 61(12):1048-1053

Gum Disease Risk Reduced with Whole Grains

The risk of periodontitis, a serious inflammation of the gums that is the major cause of tooth loss in adults, may be reduced by eating more whole grains. Anwar Merchant and colleagues at McMaster University in Ontario studied more than 34,000 men over a 14-year period, and concluded that three to four servings of whole grains daily "may be optimal to reduce periodontitis risk.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2006;83(6):1395-1400

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Heart Health

Whole Grains Lower Heart Failure Risk

Whole grain consumption lowers heart failure risk, while eggs and high-fat dairy raise risks. That's the finding of researchers from the University of Minnesota and the University of North Carolina, who followed more than 14,000 people for over 13 years. "It would be prudent to recommend that those at high risk of HF increase their intake of whole grains and reduce intake of high-fat dairy and eggs," said lead researcher Jennifer Nettleton, PhD.

- Journal of the American Dietetic Association, November 2008; 108(11)

Whole Grains Reduce Hypertension Risk

Researchers at Harvard studied nearly 30,000 enrolled in the Women’s Health Study. Lu Wang’s team found that, over ten years, those who ate the most whole grains had an 11% lower chance of developing high blood pressure.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2007; 86(2):472-479

Whole Grain and Healthier Carotid Arteries

A study by Philip Mellen at Wake Forest University and colleagues measured atherosclerosis of the common carotid artery, and its progression over five years. Mellen's team found that, among the 1178 men and women in the study, those who ate more whole grains had less unhealthy artherosclerotic thickening of the common carotid artery.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007; 85(6):1495-1502

Study Confirms Heart Benefits of Whole Grains

Eating an average of 2.5 servings of whole grain foods each day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost one-quarter. That's the finding of a seven- study meta-analysis of 285,000 men and women led by Philip Mellen of Wake Forest University. In light of this evidence, Mellen said, policy-makers, scientists and clinicians should "redouble efforts" to get people to eat more whole grains.

- Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases, April 2007; online

Whole Grains May Help Reduce Blood Pressure

USDA researcher Kay Behall and colleagues studied a small group of men and women as they followed a 10-week diet where all the grains were whole grains. The subjects, all of whom had slightly elevated cholesterol, showed significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when whole grains were added. They also lost about 1kg during the course of the study– although the whole grain diet was higher in calories than a control low-fat diet with refined grains used at the start of the study.

- Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2006; 106(9):1445-1449

Whole Grains Cut Triglycerides

Nancy Keim and a team at the USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Center studied 10 women age 20-45 who ate a whole grain diet for three days, then ate the same foods but with refined grains in place of whole grains. Blood samples at the end of each 3-day period showed that the refined grains diet caused a significant increase in triglycerides and a worrisome protein called "apolipoprotein CIII" (apoCIII), both of which have been associated with increased risk of heart disease. A larger study is underway.

- Agricultural Research, March 2006; 20-21

Whole Grains Lower Diabetes, Heart Risk

A joint Danish-American study analyzed diet records and took blood samples from 938 healthy men and women. The team, including Majken Jensen of Aarhus University Hospital and the Harvard School of Public Health, found that those with the highest whole grain consumption had the lowest levels of risk factors in their blood: homocysteine 17% lower, insulin and C-peptide both 14% lower, and leptin 11% lower. Researchers concluded, "The results suggest a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease in persons who consume diets high in whole grains."

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2006; 83(2):275-283

Whole Grains Reduce Elderly Mortality

While many studies have previously shown that whole grains reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome in middle-aged adults, a recent study led by Nadine Sahyoun at the University of Maryland shows for the first time that this benefit extends to older adults. In Sahyoun's study, whole grains were also linked with a lower overall risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2006; 83(1):124-133

Whole Grains Slow Buildup of Plaque

Following up on studies that show a relationship between whole grain consumption and heart health, researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, led by Alice Lichtenstein, have found one reason why. Over 3 years, they studied the diet habits and artery-diameter measurements of 229 post-menopausal women already diagnosed with a heart condition, and found that eating 6 servings or more per week of whole grains was associated with slower buildup of artery- narrowing plaque.

- American Heart Journal, July 2005; 150(1):94-101

Whole Grains Help Your Heart

Majken Jensen and fellow professionals at the Harvard School of Public Health analyzed diet and health records of over 27,000 men aged 40-75, over a period of 14 years, and found that those with the highest whole grain intake (about 40g per day) cut heart disease risk by almost 20% – but even those eating just 25g cut their CHD risk by 15%.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, December 2004; 80:1492-1499

Whole Grains Cut Heart Disease Risk

Researchers led by Mark Pereira collected data on 91,058 men and 245,186 women who participated in 10 studies in the US and Europe. After 6-10 years of follow up, the research showed that, for each 10 grams of fiber consumed per day, there was a 14% reduction in heart disease risk and a 25% reduction in risk of dying from heart disease. In short, the cereal fiber in whole grains appears to make heart disease much less likely—and less serious if it does occur.

- Archives of Internal Medicine, February 2004; 164:370-376

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Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxdants & Phytonutrients

Whole Grains High in Antioxidants

Rui Hai Liu of Cornell and his colleagues discovered that whole grains contain protective antioxidants in quantities rivaling or exceeding those in fruits and vegetables.

- American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) International Conference on Food, Nutrition and Cancer, November, 2004

Lignans Associated with Weight Control

In Quebec, a University of Laval team led by André Tchernof, studied 115 post-menopausal women and found that those with markers showing more consumption of plant lignans had, on average, a BMI 4km/m2 lower than women with the lowest levels of the markers. They also had better blood sugar control and lower blood pressure. Lignans are found in whole grains, as well as in fruits and vegetables.

- British Journal of Nutrition, February 2009              

 

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Weight Loss & Obesity

Whole Grains and Weight Control

A team of Dutch researchers led by LPL van de Vijver studied 2078 men and 2159 women aged 55-69 years, and found that higher whole grain consumption was associated with lower BMI and a reduced risk of overweight and obesity. For every additional gram of whole grain consumption, men's risk dropped 10% and women's risk dropped 4%.

- European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2009; 63:31-38

Whole Grains Reduce Weight, Cut Cardiovascular Disease

In a clinical study conducted at Penn State, researchers put 50 obese adults on a reduced calorie diet for 12 weeks, during which time half the group was asked to eat all their grains as whole grains, and the other half was advised to avoid whole-grain foods. Body weight, waist circumference and percentage body fat decreased significantly in both groups, but the whole grain group saw a significantly greater decrease in abdominal fat, and a 38% decrease in C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammatory marker for cardiovascular disease.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2008; 87(1):79-80

Higher Whole Grain Intake Associated with Lower BMI

UK researchers Janice Harland and Lynne Garton pooled data from fifteen studies on whole grain intake and BMI or adiposity, and found that in 119,829 male and female subjects age 13 or older, a higher intake of whole grains (about three servings per day) was associated with lower BMI and less central adiposity (abdominal fat).

- Public Health Nutrition, November 16, 2007; 1-10.

Whole Grains Associated with Lower BMI

A study of 150 college students found that higher whole grain intake was associated with lower BMI (Body Mass Index). Overall, students averaged only 0.7 servings per day of whole grain, and authors, led by Nick Rose, noted that low availability of whole grains on and around campus could be responsible for low intake.

- Journal of Nutrition and Education Behavior, March 2007; 39(2): 90-94

Whole Grains Reduce Weight, Improve Nutrition

Researchers at the University of Rhode Island, in a six-month study headed up by Kathleen Melanson, found that whole grain cereals helped 180 overweight adults lose weight while increasing their consumption of fiber, magnesium and vitamin B-6.

- Journal of the American Dietetic Association, September 2006; 106(9):1380-1388

Whole Grains Help You Weigh Less

A team led by Pauline Koh-Banerjee studied diet and health records of 72,000 men and found that those who ate 40 grams of whole grains per day cut middle-age weight gain by up to 3.5 pounds. Just one cup of cooked oatmeal or two slices of whole-wheat bread would provide this amount of whole grain.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2004; 80(5):1237-1245

Whole Grains Lower Obesity Risk

As part of the well-known Nurses' Study, Simin Liu and fellow researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health followed over 74,000 women from 1984- 1996, and concluded that women who consumed more whole grains consistently weighed less than women who consumed less whole grains.

- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, November 2003; 78(5):920-927

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