Science supports impact of whole grains
on better health and trimmer waistlines

TORONTO, ON – January 21, 2015 – Eating whole grain foods can help increase overall health without increasing waistlines this winter according to the Healthy Grains Institute Scientific Advisory Council.

“With the onset of cold weather, many Canadians may ditch fitness routines, snack more heavily and abandon healthy eating patterns, making it even harder to maintain a healthy weight,” says Dr. Julie Miller Jones, PhD, LN, CNS, Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emerita of Food & Nutrition at St. Catherine University and member of the Healthy Grains Institute Scientific Advisory Council. “Science is on the side of whole grains being an important part of a healthy balanced lifestyle, and they’re tasty, too.”

Research indicates that whole grains are associated with a host of health benefits. In fact, when whole grains are part of a healthy eating plan that also includes vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts, low-fat dairy and portion-appropriate protein sources, such as fish, they are associated with lower rates of chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. [i]

“Data from populations such as Canadian Community Health Survey show that Canadians who consume three to five daily servings of whole grains, compared to those who rarely consume them, have a 26 per cent lower risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and a 21 per cent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, [ii]” says Miller Jones.

Weight gain worries debunked

Weight gain and obesity are often behind the decision to eliminate grains from diets, but science does not support this as a strategy. “Such studies show that proper selection in terms of amount and type, not elimination, of grains is the answer. Whole grain eaters tended to have better health habits and were less likely to gain weight. So make the number of grains servings fit your calories needs and make half your grains whole. What diet you choose to maintain and manage your weight should be based on facts, not on trends or media hype,” says Miller Jones.

Additionally, pooled results from 15 studies showed that people who ate three servings of whole grains daily compared to those who ate fewer servings of whole grains tended to have lower body mass indices, smaller waists and a healthier waist-to-hip ratios. [iii]

Grains are good for managing weight

A study following 74,000 women showed that those who regularly chose foods made with whole grains and whole wheat weighed less than those eating foods made from refined grains. Further, whole grain eaters were almost 50 per cent less likely to gain weight over the 12-year period of the study. While whole grain eaters tend to have many healthy habits, whole grains may have a direct impact on weight

Fibre-rich whole grain wheat and wheat bran induce a feeling of fullness. This may account for some of its weight control effects[iv]

Making room for grains

Three daily servings of whole grains, including whole wheat, are associated with lower body mass index in adults.[v]

  • Try oatmeal, whole grain cereal or whole wheat toast for breakfast
  • Enjoy brown rice or quinoa at lunch and pilafs and other sides made with wheat berries for dinner
  • Make sandwiches on whole grain bread
  • Snack on popcorn and look for whole grain pretzels but remember to watch serving sizes
  • Experiment with whole grain pasta, amaranth and buckwheat
  • Enjoy pot barley in soups and stews

Great-tasting food leads to healthy diet changes. Whole grain recipes are available through the Healthy Grains Institute here.

About The Healthy Grains Institute

Launched in November 2012, the Healthy Grains Institute’s mission is to inform and enhance Canadians’ knowledge and understanding of the health benefits of grains. The Healthy Grains Institute is guided by an independent and multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Council consisting of recognized plant science and nutritional experts from across North America. The Healthy Grains Institute is committed to providing Canadians with science-based information on the benefits of grains as an important part of a healthy, balanced diet.

Please visit for more information. 

Healthy Grains Institute is also on Twitter and Facebook

For more information please contact:
Michael Kohn
Account Coordinator
Weber Shandwick
[iii] Tracking Nutrition Trends. Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research. 2013