issues and experts
New study shows these surprising food sources are more likely to cause heart disease – SFU expert available
A new study published in The British Medical Journal by researchers including SFU health sciences professor Scott Lear found that consuming a high number of refined grains, such as croissants and white bread, is associated with a higher risk of major cardiovascular disease, stroke and death.
The Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study has been examining diets from diverse populations in low-, middle- and high-income countries around the world. Over 16 years of analysis of 137,130 participants in 21 countries, including Canada, the researchers found the intake of refined grains and added sugars have greatly increased over the years.
Grains were categorized into three groups: refined grains, whole grains and white rice. Refined grains included goods made with refined (e.g. white) flour, including white bread, pasta/noodles, breakfast cereals, crackers, and bakery products/desserts containing refined grains. Whole grains included whole grain flours (e.g. buckwheat) and intact or cracked whole grains (eg. steel cut oats).
The study found that having more than seven servings of refined grains per day was associated with a 27 per cent greater risk for early death, 33 percent greater risk for heart disease and 47 per cent greater risk for stroke.
“This study re-affirms previous work indicating a healthy diet includes limiting overly processed and refined foods,” says Lear.
No significant adverse health effects were found with consuming whole grains or white rice.
What should we eat?
The study suggests eating whole grain foods like brown rice and barley, and having fewer cereal grains and refined wheat products. Reducing one’s overall consumption of refined grains and having better quality carbohydrates is essential for optimal health outcomes.
AVAILABLE SFU EXPERTS
SCOTT LEAR, Pfizer/Heart & Stroke Foundation Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research, professor, health sciences
MELISSA SHAW, SFU Communications & Marketing
236.880.3297 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY
As Canada’s engaged university, SFU works with communities, organizations and partners to create, share and embrace knowledge that improves life and generates real change. We deliver a world-class education with lifelong value that shapes change-makers, visionaries and problem-solvers. We connect research and innovation to entrepreneurship and industry to deliver sustainable, relevant solutions to today’s problems. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities—Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey—SFU has eight faculties that deliver 193 undergraduate degree programs and 127 graduate degree programs to more than 37,000 students. The university now boasts more than 165,000 alumni residing in 143 countries.