Does eating grains affect your weight?

In the three years between 2011 and 2014, consumption of core gain foods like cereals, breads, pastas, noodles and rice dropped by almost a third as carbohydrate-fear took hold of weight-conscious Australians.

But new ground-breaking analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data has found no relationship between waistlines and consumption of core grain foods – despite 42% of Australians, particularly young women, reporting that they limit intake of grain foods in their efforts to lose weight.

The data reveals that people who eat six or more serves of core grain foods each day - which is the recommendation for Australian adults aged 19 to 50 years - have a similar waistline and Body Mass Index (BMI) as people who restrict their intake of grain foods. The finding takes into consideration a range of other factors which may affect weight status including age, physical activity level and if they were on a diet.

Dr Flavia Fayet-Moore, Director of Nutrition Research Australia, said: “The other key finding was that adults who ate six or more serves of core grain foods had much higher fibre intake than those who consumed less than two serves per day, even after taking into account all factors that can influence fibre, such as vegetable intake. So, by eliminating grains, people are compromising their fibre intake, when there is no benefit for waist circumference or BMI.”

According to Chris Cashman, Nutrition Program Manager and Accredited Practising Dietitian at the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council (GLNC) , the nutritional value of core grain foods are sadly being overlooked due to misconceptions promoted by fad diets.

“Obesity has become a growing concern in our country and with it comes increased risk of chronic health issues such as diabetes and heart disease. Yet, the good news is that people who eat at least three serves of wholegrain food have a lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”

This is supported by new British research that found consuming three servings of wholegrains a day reduced the risk of:

  • heart disease by 19%

  • type 2 diabetes by 36%

  • total cardiovascular disease by 22%

  • cancer by 15%

  • respiratory disease by 19%

  • stroke by 12%

What’s in a serve?

  1. Grains & Legumes Nutrition Council, Australia