LFI launches study into wholegrains and satiety

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Leatherhead food international Whole grain Cereal Nutrition

A study exploring the impact of wholegrains on satiety will start at Leatherhead Food International next year.Thanks to projects like the EU-funded...

A study exploring the impact of wholegrains on satiety will start at Leatherhead Food International next year.

Thanks to projects like the EU-funded Health Grain project and the Food Standards Agency-backed WHOLEheart human intervention study, the ability of wholegrains to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers was becoming better understood, claimed LFI scientist Sarah Hull.

However, comparatively little was known about wholegrains and weight management, she said. “We’re going to compare wholegrain foods with foods containing the same amount of fibre, but not from wholegrains, and see how they compare in terms of influencing satiety.”

Tools used to assess satiety would include self-reporting techniques plus measurements of energy intake at subsequent meals after volunteers were given wholegrain foods at breakfast, she said.

There was strong epidemiological evidence that consumption of wholegrains could reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers, claimed Dr Chris Seal at the University of Newcastle, who is leading the WHOLEheart study. However, UK consumers typically ate less than one portion of wholegrain foods per week - well below the level which may confer health benefits.

He added: “How wholegrains exert beneficial health effects is unclear, but a number of processes may be involved which act synergistically to improve health. Although individual components such as dietary fibre are known to have effects in isolation, it is the cumulative effects of the different components that are key to providing the health benefit.”

The WHOLEheart study completes at the end of this year.

The most commonly consumed whole grains include edible seed kernels from wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, sorghum, spelt, and rye. Other seeds with a similar nutritional composition include wild rice, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth.

The majority of these grains are milled to flours for use in food manufacturing. To be identified as whole grains in foods, the flours must contain the bran, germ and endosperm in the same proportions as in the original grains.

EU-wide agreement on a unified whole grain health claim [under article 13 of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation], together with standard definitions and labeling rules, was critical, said Seal. “The definition of whole grains currently used in the US was produced by the American Association of Cereal Chemists in 2005 and emphasises the need to re-constitute the components of the grain. No similar definition exists in the UK and Europe, but this is urgently needed.”

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