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Whole grains

Whole-grain breakfast cereal slashes heart attack risk by 22 percent

Sunday, March 25, 2007 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: whole grains, breakfast cereals, nutrition

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(ConsumerWellness.org) According to a 25-year study of the health and eating habits of more than 10,000 doctors, those who ate whole-grain cereals for breakfast had a significantly lower chance of developing heart failure than those who did not eat such cereals.

Jump directly to: conventional view | alternative view | resources | bottom line

What you need to know - Conventional View

• The Physician's Health Study collected data from participants by means of detailed annual questionnaires. It found that those who ate whole-grain breakfast cereals seven or more times a week had a 28 percent lower chance of developing heart failure.

• Those who ate such cereals between two and 6 times a week had a 22 percent lower chance of heart failure, and those who ate them up to once a week had a 14 percent lower chance.

• Previous research has shown that eating whole-grain cereals in the morning can lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and improve concentration. These health effects are attributed to the cereals' high content of fiber and complex carbohydrates.

• A "whole-grain" cereal was defined as one containing at least 25 percent oat or bran.

• The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

• Quote: "The study shows that even in a population with overall healthy behavior, it is possible to see less heart failure in those who eat a whole grain cereal breakfast. ... The benefits are not just for kids but also for adults. A whole-grain, high-fiber breakfast may lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol and prevent heart attacks." - Luc Djoussé, lead researcher

What you need to know - Alternative View

Statements and opinions by Mike Adams, executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center

• Whole-grain cereals are, indeed, far healthier for the heart than processed grains. However, consumers need to be cautious about the use of refined sugars in such cereals, as well as artificial colors, sweeteners or other additives.

• Compared to drinking the raw juices of vegetables, fruits and medicinal herbs, the health benefits of eating whole grains are small. A proper heart disease prevention program would include daily consumption of fresh, raw vegetable juice, blended or juiced at home from organic produce, combined with total avoidance of hydrogenated oils, homogenized fats and saturated animal fats.

Resources you need to know

• National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov)

• National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov)

• More about whole grains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whole_grain)

Bottom line

• Regularly eating whole-grain breakfast cereals can significantly decrease your risk of heart attacks.

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