Nutrition: The Whole-Grain Conundrum
J. M. Jones. St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN, U.S.A. Cereal Foods World 56(3):124-127.
According to most epidemiological studies, whole grains are associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases. However, large randomized clinical trials have failed to substantiate a number of the associations observed in epidemiological studies. Thus, there is much discussion about confounding in the data, methodologies, and mechanisms. For example, health-promoting dietary and lifestyle patterns among whole-grain eaters create confounding in epidemiological studies. Methodological differences among studies also create confounded data. In many studies the associations observed between whole grains and a particular health endpoint are the same as those for cereal fiber, which begs the question of whether it is the cereal fiber complex or something unique about the whole grain that creates the benefit. This column discusses each of these issues in detail and features some new whole-grain studies.