People Looking to Lose Weight May Stand to Lose a Lot More: Fad Diets Could Put Canadians’ Health at Risk Say Experts
Newly Launched Healthy Grains Institute Gives Canadians Food for Thought
On Whole Grains
TORONTO, Nov. 27, 2012 /CNW/ – Misinformation about the health and
nutritional benefits of whole grains, and fad diets that promote the
elimination of entire food groups, could put Canadians’ health at risk.
Launched today, the Healthy Grains Institute (HGI), a not-for-profit
Institute guided by an independent Scientific Advisory Council, will
study and compile research on the benefits of eating whole grains -
from weight management to chronic disease prevention – to help
Canadians make educated, science-based decisions about the food they
“There is a wealth of scientific information available supporting the
role whole grains can play in a healthy diet,” said Shelley Case,
Registered Dietitian, author of Gluten-Free Diet, A Comprehensive Resource Guide and member of the Healthy Grains Institute’s independent Scientific
Advisory Council. “But unsubstantiated claims made in fad diets about
whole grains, such as wheat, barley, oats and quinoa may be causing
Canadians to eliminate whole grains all together and as a result many
people could miss out on vital nutrients, which evidence suggests, are
beneficial for cardiovascular health and weight management.” The
Healthy Grains Institute will continue to identify and direct Canadians
toward scientific evidence that will assist them in making good
decisions about their food choices.
Whole Grain Hot Topics - Facts for Canadians
Today the Healthy Grains Institute announced the first of an ongoing
series of communications, Whole Grain Hot Topics located on its resource website, www.HealthyGrains.ca. Serving as a central source of whole grain knowledge, the website
provides current evaluations of the health effects of whole grains. Whole Grain Hot Topics delivers information supported by scientific research about gluten-free
diets, whole grains such as wheat, oats and barley, and the role they
play in weight management and disease prevention.
“There is no such thing as a single magic bullet to lose weight and fad
diets can do more harm than good. While certain diets may work in the
short-term, they are not sustainable nor are they necessarily healthy,”
said Cara Rosenbloom, a Toronto-based Registered Dietitian. “All foods
have many components and they fit together like puzzle pieces. When you
take out one significant part you risk missing essential nutrients in
your diet that can help support a healthy weight and prevent chronic
Gluten and the Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten is a protein complex formed by several storage proteins found
predominantly in wheat grains, and to a lesser extent in rye and
barley. Individuals with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten
sensitivity must follow a gluten-free diet to manage their conditions.
Despite the fact that celiac disease impacts one per cent of Canadians,
and up to six per cent being gluten sensitive, the gluten-free diet has
gained popularity as celebrity ‘authorities’ and those promoting fad
diets make unfounded weight loss claims. No scientific or clinical data
exists to support a weight loss claim for a gluten-free diet.(i)
“Unless you have celiac disease or are gluten sensitive, following a
gluten-free diet is not necessary,” said Case. “In fact, the
gluten-free diet can be an expensive and nutrient poor way of eating
for the average person. Gluten-free products often cost two to three
times more money and are frequently made with refined flours and
starches that are low in iron, B vitamins, fibre and other nutrients;
are not enriched; and tend to be high in fat, sugar and calories. And
while those who follow a gluten-free diet at the recommendation of
their physician and dietitian must supplement their diet with a wide
variety of other nutritious foods, including gluten-free whole grains
to ensure a well-balanced diet, others may miss out on the health and
nutrition benefits of eating whole grain foods.”
It is important for those who believe they may have celiac disease or
gluten sensitivity to speak with their doctor before making any changes
to their diet to ensure the accuracy of the diagnostic tests required.
Whole Grains and Weight Control
Excess weight is associated with a host of preventable diseases
including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Researchers have found
evidence to support the role whole grains play in weight management.
Specifically, those who include whole grains as part of a healthy,
well-balanced diet are less likely to gain weight over time.(ii)
Whole grains, like whole grain bread, cereals and pasta, provide
valuable energy and fibre that can help in controlling appetite. The
body digests whole grains slowly to tap the full amount of energy,
leaving one feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Incorporating
regular exercise and following a healthy diet, including whole-grains,
can support sustainable weight management.(ii)
The Relationship between Chronic Disease and Whole Grain Consumption
Existing research shows that including whole grains in our diet can
potentially assist in lowering the risk of developing chronic diseases
including diabetes and heart disease, and reduce obesity. For example,
the results of an American Heart Association-backed study showed a
decrease in the risk of death and cardiovascular diseases in type 2
diabetic women who included whole grains, particularly the bran
component of the grain, in their diets.(iii )
Another study shows higher intake of whole-grain is associated with a
significant reduction in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over
time.(iv) Another study shows that low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets can lead
to weight gain and heightened risk of heart disease.(v)
“The research we have identified is just the tip of the iceberg.
Scientific studies support a healthy diet that includes whole grains.
It is the mandate of the Healthy Grains Institute to continue to inform
Canadians on this topic and call for ongoing research on the role of
whole grains in human health,” says Dr. Ravindra Chibbar, Professor and
Canada Research Chair in Crop Quality, Department of Plant Sciences,
University of Saskatchewan and HGI Scientific Advisory Council member.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends a variety of defined daily servings of
grain products for children (three to six servings), teens (six to
seven servings) and adults (six to eight servings) based on gender and
age.(vi) At least half of this grain intake should be whole grains.
About The Healthy Grains Institute
The Healthy Grains Institute was created to help inform Canadians about
the health and nutrition benefits of whole grains. It is a
not-for-profit institute, guided by an independent and
multidisciplinary Scientific Advisory Council of recognized health and
food science authorities who will study current research and direct
Canadians to science-based information on the role of whole grains in
the diet. The work of the Institute is supported by The Canadian
Millers Association, Baking Association of Canada, Canada Bread Co.
Ltd., and Weston Bakeries Ltd.
Please visit www.HealthyGrains.ca for more information.
(i) Gaesser GA, Angadi SS. Gluten-Free Diet: imprudent dietary advice for
the general population? J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Sep;112(9):1330-3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22939437
(ii) Koh-Banerjee P, Franz M, Sampson L, et al. Changes in whole-grain,
bran, and cereal fiber consumption in relation to 8-y weight gain among
men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;80(5):1237-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531671
(iii) He M, van Dam R, Rimm E, et al. Whole-Grain, Cereal Fiber, Bran, and
Germ Intake and the Risks of All-Cause and Cardiovascular
Disease-Specific Mortality Among Women With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.
Circulation. 2010 May;121(10):2162-8. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/121/20/2162.abstract
(iv) S Liu, J E Manson, M J Stampfer , et al. A prospective study of
whole-grain intake and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus in US women. Am
J Public Health. 2000 Sep; 90(9): 1409-15. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447620/
(v) Johansson I, Nilsson LM, Stegmayr B, et al. Associations among 25-year
trends in diet, cholesterol and BMI from 140,000 observations in men
and women in Northern Sweden. Nutr J. 2012 Jun 11;11(1):40.
(vi) Health Canada, Food & Nutrition, Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/view_eatwell_vue_bienmang-eng.pdf
SOURCE Healthy Grains Institute