Consuming too many refined grains can have serious consequences, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and even early death, a new study has warned.
Refined carbohydrates, including white bread and pasta, have had fiber parts removed, meaning they get broken down faster and lead to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed.
Based on the findings, the researchers urged people to consider replacing their favorite refined grains with wholegrain options, such as brown rice and barley.
Grains are considered to be ‘whole’ if they contain all three original parts – the bran, the germ and the endosperm, however, if one or more of these three key parts removed, then the grains are referred to as ‘refined.’
In the study, researchers from Simon Fraser University examined the effects of a diet high in refined grains.
About 137,130 individuals from 21 countries participated in the study, including in low-, middle- and high-income areas. Grains in the participants’ diets were categorized into three groups – refined grains, whole grains and white rice.
Refined grains include goods made with white flour, including white bread, pasta, noodles, breakfast cereals, crackers and baked goods, while whole grains include any foods made with whole grain flours, intact or cracked whole grains.
The study revealed that the participants who consumed more than seven servings of refined grains per day were at a 27% greater risk for early death, at a 33% higher risk for heart disease and a 47% higher risk for stroke.