Other research from the Nurses’ Health Study looked at the link between intact grains and heart disease. Women who reported eating the most intact grain foods, an average of 2.5 servings a day, were 30 percent less likely to develop heart disease than women eating the fewest, about 1 serving a week. Most of the whole grain came from whole-grain breakfast cereals, brown rice, and whole-grain bread. We estimated that eating a bowl of cold breakfast cereal that supplies about 5 grams of fiber cuts the chances of heart disease by about one-third. The protective effect was larger in overweight women than it was in lean women. These benefits have also been seen consistently in other long-term studies of heart disease.

In this article from the Food Properties section, we take a look at all the necessary information about this topic. Stay with 4teenweightloss .



Constipation is the number one gastrointestinal complaint in the United States. It accounts for more than two million physician visits a year, and we spend close to $1 billion a year on over-the-counter laxatives. By keeping the stool soft and bulky, the fiber in intact grains helps prevent this troubling problem. Two other common GI problems are diverticulosis, the development of tiny, easily irritated pouches inside the colon, and diverticulitis, the often painful inflammation of these pouches. Fiber from cereals, as well as from fruits and vegetables, adds bulk to the stool and softens it. Together, these actions decrease pressure inside the intestinal tract and help prevent diverticular disease.



Although a number of early studies suggested that whole- grain consumption reduces the chances of developing mouth, stomach, colon, gallbladder, and ovarian cancer, later and larger ones haven’t borne this out. If whole grains ultimately turn out to provide some protection against colon cancer, fiber probably isn’t the reason. Recent analyses from the Nurses’ Health Study, the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, and a compilation of large cohort studies from around the world showed that men and women with the highest fiber intake did not have lower risks of colon cancer.
Even if whole-grain, high-fiber foods have no effect on cancer, their impact on heart disease and diabetes is reason enough to eat grains in this form instead of their stripped- down counterparts.



It may be almost impossible to isolate the ingredient or ingredients in whole grains that reduce the risks of heart disease and diabetes. A few contenders, though, have been identified. The fiber in whole grains delays absorption of glucose and eases the workload for the insulin-making cells in the pancreas. Fiber helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood. It may also rev up some of the body’s natural anticoagulants and help prevent the formation of small blood clots that trigger heart attacks or strokes. Antioxidants like vitamin E in whole grains prevent cholesterol-containing low-density lipids from reacting with oxygen, a key early step toward the formation of cholesterol-clogged arteries. Phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens, may protect against some cancers. The bran layer of many grains contains essential minerals such as magnesium, selenium, copper, and manganese that may be important in reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes.


Exactly what is a whole-grain food? This shouldn’t be a trick question, but it is. Part of the problem is our lack of knowledge about the foods we eat. The other is that food makers, eager to promote any health benefits that might sell their products, jumped on the fiber/whole-grain bandwagon several years ago and haven’t gotten off. Stroll the aisles of your favorite grocery store and you’ll see what we mean. General Mills Total is a whole-grain breakfast cereal, Quaker Puffed Wheat isn’t. Nabisco Triscuits and Wheat Thins are whole-grain crackers, while Nabisco Wheatsworth crackers are mostly refined wheat. (While you are checking ingredients, be on the lookout for trans fats. These can affect the benefits of whole grains.)


Don’t Be Fooled by the Low-Carb Frenzy

Will the low-carb fad truly help people lose weight and keep it off? Will it lead to long-term health? I can’t really say. But one thing is for certain: It has thinned the wallets of those caught up by it and fattened the bank accounts of those seeking to cash in on it.
Food companies and entrepreneurs are rushing to introduce new products before the fad fizzles. You can buy low-carb bread, bagels, cereal, pasta, ice cream, chocolate bars, and beer. There are more than one hundred books and two monthly magazines to teach you how to follow the low-carb lifestyle. Some restaurants list the carbohydrate content of their menu items (though hardly any list what you really need to know—calories). You can even take a low-carb cruise! By one estimate, Americans buy more than one billion dollars worth of branded, low- carb products per year.
And that’s without the blessing of the FDA, which hasn’t been keen on allowing food companies to use the term “low carb” on food labels because it hasn’t been precisely defined. This hasn’t stopped savvy marketers, who bypass this roadblock with terms like “carb smart,” “carb friendly,” and “net carbs.”
Some so-called low-carb products are ones we have been eating for years that are naturally low in carbohydrates, such as salad dressings and peanut butter, dressed up with new labels. Others have been engineered or reformulated to carry fewer digestible carbohydrates. Companies do this in several ways. They can replace refined wheat flour with fiber, soy protein, or lower- carbohydrate, higher-protein soy flour; replace sugar with less digestible sugar alcohols, such as sorbitol; or add more fat.
These changes aren’t necessarily bad, although there’s some question about the long-term effects of eating large amounts of sugar alcohols, which are sometimes used as laxatives. But they can be misleading. Many consumers


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