Researchers at Penn State University have revealed that diets with high amounts of whole grains may help you loose weight and also lower the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The study was conducted over 50 obese adults with 25 male and 25 female between 20 to 65 years of age, and had metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
'Consumption of whole grains has been associated with a lower body weight and lower blood pressure,' said co-author Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State.
'We thought that incorporating whole grains into a heart-healthy weight loss diet may provide the same benefits to people at risk from chronic diseases,' she added.
The participants were divided into two groups where one group to had all of their grain servings from whole grains and other had it from refined grains.
'We asked participants in the whole grain group to focus on foods that had whole grains as the first ingredient,' said lead author Heather Katcher, a Penn State Ph.D. recipient and currently a dietetic intern at Tulane University.
The findings revealed that waist circumference and body weight decreased significantly between 8-11 pounds on average in both groups but weight loss in the abdominal region was notably larger in the whole grain group.
The whole grain group experienced a 38 percent decrease in C-reactive protein levels in their blood.
A high level of this inflammatory marker is thought to place patients at a higher risk for diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.
'Typically you would expect weight loss to be associated with a decrease in C-reactive protein, but the refined grain group showed no decrease in this marker of inflammation even though they lost weight,' said Kris-Etherton.
Dr Richard Legro, co-investigator and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Penn State Hershey Medical Centre said that the scale of reduction is similar to the use of statin drugs, highlighting the potential of diet to prevent serious medical complications.
The findings appear in the January 2008 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.