Eating Mostly Whole Grains, Few Refined Grains Linked To Lower Body Fat

People who consume several servings of whole grains per day, while limiting daily intake of refined grains, appear to have less of a type of fat tissue thought to play a key role in triggering cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers at Tufts University observed lower volumes of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) in people who chose to eat mostly whole grains instead of refined grains.

VAT volume was approximately 10 % lower in adults who reported eating three or more daily servings of whole grains and who limited their intake of refined grains to less than one serving per day.

Visceral fat surrounds the intra-abdominal organs while subcutaneous fat is found just beneath the skin. Prior research suggests visceral fat is more closely tied to the development of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors including high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and insulin resistance that can develop into cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes.

The authors also observed that participants who consumed, on average, three daily servings of whole grains, but continued to eat many refined grains did not demonstrate lower VAT volume. This result implies that it is important to make substitutions in the diet, rather than simply adding whole grain foods. For example, choosing to cook with brown rice instead of white or making a sandwich with whole grain bread instead of white bread.