The latest scientific research on grains, cereals and the breakfast meal
At Kellogg, we are always up to date with the latest science, particularly the science related to the importance of breakfast, grains and breakfast cereals.
Here are some of the latest findings:
August 2022: The Effect of Malting on Phenolic Compounds and Radical Scavenging Activity in Grains and Breakfast Cereals
Vingrys K, Mathai M, Ashton JF, Stojanovska L, Vasiljevic T, McAinch AJ, Donkor ON. The effect of malting on phenolic compounds and radical scavenging activity in grains and breakfast cereals. Journal of Food Science. 2022 Sep;87(9):4188-202.
This research by Vingrys et al (2022) examined the effect that the malting process has on phenolic compounds and radical scavenging activity in grains and breakfast cereals. The research compared samples of malted and unmalted; wheat, barley, and sorghum, as well as breakfast cereals made from both malted and unmalted wheat and barley. The research revealed that the malting process is associated with a significant increase in total polyphenol content across malted samples compared to respective unmalted controls. A significant increase in invitro radical scavenging activity was also observed for malted wheat breakfast cereal, malted barley, malted barley breakfast cereal, and malted sorghum grain, compared to their respective unmalted controls.
June 2022: Health Benefits of Cereal Grain and Pulse-derived Proteins
This review by Bouchard et al (2022) provides a comprehensive overview of the health effects of cereal and pulse derived protein consumption on health outcomes. The review covers the beneficial impact of cereal and pulse protein consumption on a variety of health conditions including obesity, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. This research also highlights the need for further clinical investigation evaluating the long-term benefits of cereal and pulse protein supplementation, as well as research investigating the mechanisms contributing to the health effects of cereal and pulse protein.
June 2022: Breakfast consumption and mental health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies
Zahedi H, Djalalinia S, Sadeghi O, Zare Garizi F, Asayesh H, Payab M, Zarei M, Qorbani M. Breakfast consumption and mental health: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutritional neuroscience. 2022 Jun 3;25(6):1250-64.
This systematic review by Zahedi et al (2022) examined the impact of breakfast consumption on mental health and revealed that there was a significant positive association between breakfast skipping and depression, stress and psychological distress. This review summarizes 14 observational studies and revealed that in the age range of 6 - >65, there was an association between skipping breakfast and depression (pooled OR: 1.39; 95% CI: 1.34–1.44), stress (pooled OR: 1.23; 95% CI: 1.04–1.43) and psychological distress (pooled OR: 1.55; 95% CI: 1.47–1.62) as well as in adolescents, a significant positive association between skipping breakfast and anxiety (pooled OR: 1.51; 95% CI: 1.25–1.77).
June 2022: Wheat Biscuits Enriched with Plant-Based Protein Contribute to Weight Loss and Beneficial Metabolic Effects in Subjects with Overweight/Obesity
Binou P, Yanni AE, Kartsioti K, Barmpagianni A, Konstantopoulos P, Karathanos VT, Kokkinos A. Wheat Biscuits Enriched with Plant-Based Protein Contribute to Weight Loss and Beneficial Metabolic Effects in Subjects with Overweight/Obesity. Nutrients. 2022 Jan;14(12):2516.
This randomized control trial by Binou et al (2022) examined the impact of 70g of plant protein enriched wheat biscuits on body composition in overweight subjects in a 12-week restricted dietary intervention. The intervention biscuit was approximately 50% richer in plant-based protein originating from legumes and seeds, as well as 50% richer in BCAAs and 75% richer in L-arginine, compared to the wheat based control biscuit. Along with the test biscuits, subjects were also assigned a weekly supervised caloric controlled diet plan, and dietary compliance was assessed with a 3-day weighed food record. Reductions in body weight, fat mass and waist circumference were observed in both groups, however greater weight loss was noted in the intervention group (7.6 ± 2.7 vs. 6.2 ± 2.7%, p = 0.025). The intervention group was also observed to have greater reductions in overall caloric and carbohydrate intake, compared to control.
May 2022: Breakfast Protein Quality and Muscle Strength in Japanese Older Adults: A Community-based Longitudinal Study
Kinoshita K, Otsuka R, Nishita Y, Tange C, Tomida M, Zhang S, Ando F, Shimokata H, Arai H. Breakfast Protein Quality and Muscle Strength in Japanese Older Adults: A Community-Based Longitudinal Study. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 2022 May 1;23(5):729-35.
This longitudinal research by Kinoshita et al (2022) focused on healthy older adults (≥60 years) and evaluated the relationship between breakfast protein quality and muscle strength as measured by grip strength. Protein quality was assessed via protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS) and was calculated from 3-day dietary records. The outcomes of the research revealed that higher breakfast protein quality is associated with a reduction in incident weakness for older adults and this effect was independent of protein intake. Interestingly, there was no significant association between grip strength and PDCAAS for total daily protein intake, or for any other mealtimes.
May 2022: Grains – A Major Source of Sustainable Protein for Health
Poutanen KS, Kårlund AO, Gómez-Gallego C, Johansson DP, Scheers NM, Marklinder IM, Eriksen AK, Silventoinen PC, Nordlund E, Sozer N, Hanhineva KJ. Grains–a major source of sustainable protein for health. Nutrition reviews. 2022 Jun;80(6):1648-63.
This comprehensive review by Poutanen et al (2022) promotes the transition to diets higher in plant-based protein sources. The research provides an overview of cereal consumption globally, as well as the importance of grains as a staple source of nutrition. The research then explores the nutritional feasibility as well as environmental advantages of a global shift to increased proportions of plant-based protein in the diet. The article also discusses some of the technological aspects of cereal grain processing, before exploring research avenues required to enhance current cereal-based products ensuring future consumers have access to a variety of tasty and affordable cereal protein–based foods.
April 2022: A Cross-Sectional Audit of Sorghum in Selected Cereal Food Products In Australian Supermarkets
This research by Ducksbury and Stefoska-Needham (2022) examined the utilisation of sorghum in breakfast cereals and snack bars available in a cross-sectional study of five supermarkets in the Illawarra region of NSW. Sorghum was present in 6.1% (23/379) of breakfast cereals and in 8.7% of these, sorghum was listed as the first ingredient (greatest contribution by weight). Furthermore, sorghum was utilised in 2% (6/298) of snack bars and was listed in the fourth or subsequent position in the ingredient lists for all. This research highlights the emerging uptake of sorghum in the Australian human food supply and highlights opportunities for greater uptake of the grain in future innovations.
January 2022: Whole Grain Consumption and Inflammatory Markers: A Systematic Literature Review Of Randomized Control Trials
This systematic literature review by Milesi, Rangan and Grafenauer synthesized research exploring the effects of whole grain consumption on inflammatory markers. The research revealed that a moderate beneficial effect of whole grain consumption on markers of inflammation including C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) following daily whole grain consumption for ≥ 4 weeks. The research also and the impact was more pronounced when study populations had another pre-existing health condition or were overweight or obese.
January 2022: The Effects of Postprandial Walking On The Glucose Response After Meals With Different Characteristics
This randomized control trial by Bellini et al (2022) evaluates the effects of postprandial walking on glucose response following meals with varying carbohydrate quantities. The research showed that in healthy individuals, brisk walking for 30-minutes after meals substantially reduces postprandial blood glucose peak. This research further highlights the importance of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle and highlights the opportunity that exercise prescription may hold in improving daily glycemic control.
December 2021: The Relationship between Gut Microbiome and Cognition in Older Australians
This research by Komanduri et al (2021) examines the relationship between gut microbiome composition and cognition in older Australians. Sixty-nine healthy subjects aged 60-75 completed a cognitive test battery examining aspects of memory, attention and concentration in addition to 16S rRNA gene sequencing of their gut microbiome composition. The research revealed that 9 individual bacterial families showed a significant correlation with at least one of the cognitive domains examined. This research provides valuable insight into some of the complex relationships existing between the gut microbiome and cognition.
July 2021: Nutrient Dense, Low-Cost Foods Can Improve the Affordability and Quality of the New Zealand Diet—A Substitution Modeling Study
Starck CS, Blumfield M, Keighley T, Marshall S, Petocz P, Inan-Eroglu E, Abbott K, Cassettari T, Ali A, Wham C, Kruger R, Kira G, Fayet-Moore F. Nutrient Dense, Low-Cost Foods Can Improve the Affordability and Quality of the New Zealand Diet—A Substitution Modeling Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(15):7950.
This research by Starck et al (2021). similarly utilized economical models to evaluate the nutrient density-to-cost ratio of the New Zealand diet, utilizing 2008-09 NZ Adult Nutrition Survey and 2002 NZ Children’s Nutrition Survey data. The research compared the effect of substituting foods with a lower nutrient density-to-cost ratio with foods with a higher density-to-cost ratio, on diet quality and affordability in low and medium socioeconomic status households, as well as in Māori, Pacific and NZEO (NZ European and other ethnic groups) households. Food items were also classified by processing level using the NOVA processing classification system. The research findings revealed that the top quartile of nutrient dense, low-cost foods was made up of unprocessed, ultra-processed and processed food items, encompassing a variety of core foods including vegetables, fruit, porridge, pasta, rice, nuts, seeds, vegetable dishes, fortified (15-30g sugar/100g) and unfortified breakfast cereals (<15g/100g sugar), fortified bread, juice and culinary oils. Modelling revealed that substituting the food items in household diets that were in the bottom three quartiles for nutrient density-to-cost ratio with foods from the top quartile, diet quality improved by 59% in adults and 71% in children, and affordability improved by 20-24%.
July 2021: The effect of sorghum consumption on markers of chronic disease: A systematic review
This systematic literature review by Ducksbury, Neale and Stefoska-Needham (2021) examined the effects of the gluten free grain sorghum on markers of chronic disease. Sixteen observational studies met the research inclusion criteria revealing consumption of sorghum may cause beneficial effects on blood glucose response, oxidative stress markers as well as acute satiety sensations and weight management. However, more quality human research is needed to reveal the full extent of any health benefits sorghum may possess.
June 2021: Whole Grain Intakes Are Associated with Healthcare Cost Savings Following Reductions in Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Total Cancer Mortality in Australia: A Cost-of-Illness Model
Abdullah MMH, Hughes J, Grafenauer S. Whole Grain Intakes Are Associated with Healthcare Cost Savings Following Reductions in Risk of Colorectal Cancer and Total Cancer Mortality in Australia: A Cost-of-Illness Model. Nutrients. 2021; 13(9):2982.
This research by Abdullah, Hughes & Grafenaur (2021) examined the potential savings in healthcare costs associated with colorectal cancer and total cancer mortality if more of the Australian adult population was to meet the 48g whole grain daily target intake (DTI). The research used cost-of-illness modelling to examine the impact of 5, 15, 50 and 100% uptake of 100% wholegrain DTI intake in prospective consumers. The research utilized Australian wholegrain intake data from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, research estimates of relative-risk reduction in incidence of colorectal cancer and total cancer mortality associated with increased whole grain intake and estimates of health care costs associated with cancers in Australia. The research revealed that even a 5% of population adoption of the recommended DTI, through to universal uptake (100% of potential consumers) could result in annual healthcare savings of $1.9 million (95% CI 1.2–2.4) to $37.2 (95% CI 24.1–48.1) million for colorectal cancer and $20.3 million (95% CI 12.2–27.0) to $405.1 million (95% CI 243.1–540.1) for total cancers.
May 2021: Diet and Economic Modelling to Improve the Quality and Affordability of the Australian Diet for Low and Medium Socioeconomic Households
Blumfield M, Starck C, Keighley T, Petocz P, Roesler A, Abbott K, Cassettari T, Marshall S, Fayet-Moore F. Diet and Economic Modelling to Improve the Quality and Affordability of the Australian Diet for Low and Medium Socioeconomic Households. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(11):5771.
This research by Blumfield et al (2021). utilized economical models to evaluate the nutrient density-to-cost ratio of Australian foods, utilizing Australian Health Survey dietary data (2011-2013). The research compared the effect of substituting foods with a lower nutrient density-to-cost ratio with foods with a higher density-to-cost ratio on diet quality and affordability, in low and medium socioeconomic status households. Food items were also classified by processing level using the NOVA processing classification system. The research findings revealed that the top quartile of nutrient dense, low-cost foods was made up of unprocessed, ultra-processed and processed food items, encompassing a variety of core foods including vegetables and reduced fat dairy, fortified wholegrain bread, breakfast cereals (<20g sugar/100g), fruit juice and canned legumes. Modelling revealed that substituting the foods in the diets of low and medium SES households that were in the bottom three quartiles for nutrient density-to-cost ratio with foods from the top quartile, diet quality improved by 52% in adults and 71% in children, and affordability improved (25% improvement in low SES households, 27% in medium SES households).
May 2021: Healthcare Cost Savings Associated with Increased Whole Grain Consumption among Australian Adults
This research by Abdullah, Hughes & Grafenaur (2021) examined the potential savings in healthcare costs and lost productivity associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) if more of the Australian adult population was to meet the 48g whole grain daily target intake (DTI). The research used cost-of-illness modelling to examine the impact of 5, 15, 50 and 100% uptake of 100% wholegrain DTI intake in prospective consumers. The research utilized Australian wholegrain intake data from the National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, meta-analysis research estimates of relative-risk reduction in CVD and T2DM incidence associated with increased whole grain intake and estimates of health care and lost productivity costs associated with limited whole grain intake to model the impact of increased whole grain intake. The research revealed that even a 5% of population adoption of the recommended DTI, through to universal uptake (100% of potential consumers) could result in $37.5 million (95% CI 22.3–49.3) up to $750.7 million (95% CI 445.7–985.2) in healthcare and lost productivity cost savings for T2DM and $35.9 million (95% CI 8.3–60.7) to AUD $717.4 million (95% CI 165.5–1214.1) for CVD.
May 2021: The role of diet quality and dietary patterns in predicting muscle mass and function in men over a 15-year period
Davis JA, Mohebbi M, Collier F, Loughman A, Staudacher H, Shivappa N, Hébert JR, Pasco JA, Jacka FN. The role of diet quality and dietary patterns in predicting muscle mass and function in men over a 15-year period. Osteoporosis Int. 2021 May 27:1-1.
This paper by Davis et al. (2021) looked at the effects of dietary patterns on muscle mass. The research used data from an ongoing prospective cohort study, including 522 Australian men over 15 years. Using data from a validated food frequency questionnaire three dietary patterns were compared including a Plant-focused, Western and Traditional (Anglo-Australian) dietary pattern. Body composition was determined using whole body DXA scans. The research revealed that an Anglo-Australian dietary pattern that was higher in vegetables, wholegrains, and animal proteins, or an anti-inflammatory dietary pattern rich in vegetables, wholegrains and fruit was associated with greater skeletal muscle mass over the follow-up period.
May 2021: Gut Microbiome Composition Associated With Major Depressive Disorder and Sleep Quality
This 2021 study Zheng et al. compared the gut microbiome composition of subjects with major depressive disorder to healthy controls, and demonstrated there were significant differences in gut flora. The study found that variations in the gut microbiota may correlate with increased depression severity and with lower sleep quality. This study is another important leap researching how gut health may impact mood.
February 2021: Back in Time for Breakfast: An Analysis of the Changing Breakfast Cereal Aisle
Utilizing an extensive audit of breakfast cereals in major Australian supermarkets this research by Croisier et al. (2021) examined the overall breakfast cereal category including the nutrition content and health claims within the market. Audit data examining breakfast cereals available at selected supermarket locations in metropolitan Sydney (ALDI, Coles, IGA & Woolworths) was collected over four time points (2013, 2015, 2018 and 2020) and included records of ingredient, nutrition content, product claims and health star rating. This research revealed that in addition to a doubling of products within the category since 2013, the products formulated with whole grain (at levels ≥8g/serve) now include over 2/3 of products on shelf (an increase of 114% since 2013) and product claims relating to whole grain and fibre content have also doubled. Notable changes in nutrients composition were also demonstrated in products marketed under the same name throughout the period including significant mean reductions in sugar (10%) and sodium (16%) (p<0.000) content and increases in protein total fat also evident ((p = 0.036; p = 0.021).
January 2019: Breakfast Choice Is Associated with Nutrient, Food Group and Discretionary Intakes in Australian Adults at Both Breakfast and the Rest of the Day
Fayet-Moore, F., A. McConnell, T. Cassettari and P. Petocz (2019). "Breakfast Choice Is Associated with Nutrient, Food Group and Discretionary Intakes in Australian Adults at Both Breakfast and the Rest of the Day." Nutrients 11(1).
Research has found that breakfast cereal consumers had the lowest mean BMI and waist circumference (p<0.001) and had healthier diets both at breakfast and throughout the rest of the day. Not only were they most likely to meet the recommended daily serves for grain foods, fruit, dairy and vegetables, they also had lower discretionary intake, including the lowest added sugars intake, when compared to either non-cereal breakfast consumers or breakfast skippers.
January 2019: Carbohydrate Quality and Human Health: A Series of Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses
Evidence from 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials (n=4635) has been reviewed, meta- analysed and published by New Zealand researchers in The Lancet to inform the development of an updated WHO recommendation on carbohydrate intake. It all relates to carbohydrate quality, with higher intakes of total dietary fibre or whole grains associated with reduced incidence and mortality from several non-communicable diseases. High dietary fibre and whole grains were associated with 15-31% and 13-33% risk reduction of critical outcomes, respectively. The striking dose-response evidence indicates that the relationships could even be causal and findings suggest that individual adult intake of total dietary fibre should be at least 25-29g/day with additional benefits likely with higher intakes.
January 2019: Modifying Wheat Bran to Improve its Health Benefits
This review summarises modifications to wheat bran (WB) (e.g. reduction of particle size, heat treatment and modified tissue composition which are done primarily to improve technological properties and behaviour in bread making) and the impacts it has on the health benefits which WB induces (Faecal bulking, microbiota composition and activity, antioxidant capacity and mineral availability as a result of phytate activity). It goes into the mechanism of these benefits with supporting evidence.
While there is no one optimal WB fraction for improving all health effects, in general, WB modification does not negatively influence the health effects other than less pronounced effect on faecal bulking due to reduced water holding capacity of the smaller particles. If anything, processing may enhance fermentability and SCFA production and increase antioxidant capacity due to higher levels of accessible phenolic compounds.
November 2018: Diets Rich in Whole Grains Increase Betainized Compounds Associated with Glucose Metabolism
The purported health benefits of whole grains on chronic diseases and all-cause mortality are backed by epidemiological evidence, yet comprehensive biological mechanisms or clear causality is poorly understood. In this research, scientists have discovered new trimethylated (betainized) metabolites of whole grains associated with improved glucose metabolism.
September 2018: Higher Whole-Grain Intake Is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes among Middle-Aged Men and Women: The Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health Cohort
A large Danish study cohort study (n=55465) showed that it makes no difference which type of whole grain product or cereals participants ate: rye, oats or wheat, all seemed to offer the same protection against T2D. What was more important was the amount. In this study, every whole grain serve (16g/day) was associated with an 11% and 7% lower risk of developing T2D for men and women, respectively.
September 2018: Dietary Fibre Intake in Australia: Food Sources of Fibre among High and Low Fibre Consumers
A study profiling the relationship between dietary food choices and fibre intake in Australia, based on the 2011-2012 NNPAS, shows energy-adjusted intakes of whole grain and / or high fibre grain (cereal) foods, vegetables and fruit were positively associated with a higher fibre intake. The difference in fibre intakes between the low and high fibre groups was explained largely by the intake of grain foods. Encouraging these foods as part of any public health intervention is likely to be effective for increasing dietary fibre intakes.
June 2018: Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health
If you are after a good overview on the role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health, this recent publication is an excellent place to start. Not only providing a glossary and examples of foods, nutrients and dietary patterns that influence human health through the gut microbiota, it also summarises 22 systematic reviews (313 trials; n=46 826) analysing the role of probiotics on clinical outcomes. It concludes that fibre is a key nutrient for a healthy microbiome and along with probiotics could benefit human health and potentially reduce obesity.
May 2018: Creation of a fibre categories database to quantify different dietary fibres
Researchers from the University of Wollongong have developed a Fibre Categories Database (FCD) with data on total, soluble and insoluble fibre content in a range of common foods. This may provide a useful tool to analyse the relationship between different types of fibre and health outcomes in the context of a whole diet.
May 2018: Human gut microbiome: hopes, threats and promises
This perspective review critically analyses the current knowledge relating to the evidence of the impact of the gut microbiota on metabolic disorders. Despite a plethora of published papers on the gut microbiota (approximately 4000 papers in 2017 alone), it cautions against causally linking a bacterium to the protection or onset of a disease. In fact, many factors including dietary habits, drug treatments, intestinal motility and stool characteristics, and even the other archeae, viruses, phages, yeast and fungi present should also be considered. Thus, this area of research is not only currently blossoming, but we can still expect plenty of advancement.
May 2018: Dietary fibre intake in Australia
The 2011-2012 National Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey was used to profile fibre intake among Australians and check for association with demographic, socio-economic and anthropometric factors. With a median fibre intake of 20.7g (adults) and 18.2g (children), less than a third (28.2%) of adults and less than half (42.3%) of children are meeting the NHMRC adequate intake (AI) target. Furthermore, less than 20% of adults met the Suggested Dietary Target to reduce the risk of chronic disease. Adolescents, girls, young adults, men and those of lower socio-economic status were less likely to meet recommendations.
May 2018: Dietary fibre intervention on gut microbiota composition in healthy adults
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 64 randomised controlled trials evaluating the effect of fibre on gut microbiota composition of 2099 healthy adult participants concluded that dietary fibre, particularly fructans and galacto-oligosaccharides, led to higher abundance of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus spp and fecal butyrate concentration. The intervention did not affect diversity of the gut microbiota or other SCFA concentrations.
April 2018: Dietary fibre for glycaemia control: Towards a mechanistic understanding
This paper goes into the physiological mechanisms of dietary fibre effect on glycaemic control. It provides a useful resource outlining carbohydrate metabolism and blood glucose regulation, glucose dysregulation in diabetes, the role of dietary fibre in glucose regulation, the importance of viscous properties of dietary fibre in lowering postprandial glycaemia and the plausible mechanisms of postprandial glycaemia attenuation with dietary fibre consumption. The proposed mechanisms include delayed gastric emptying, hormonal regulation of digestion, alteration of digestive enzyme activity in the small intestine (amylolysis) and delayed glucose absorption. Each mechanism is detailed with supporting evidence.
April 2018: Mechanisms linking microbes, obesity and related disorders
With over 10 000 papers published on the gut microbiota in three years, the level of knowledge on the topic is growing. This review looks into the complex pathways and key interactions, for example, the nervous and endocrine routes by which gut microbes communicate with the host. It also focuses on the key metabolites and their targets involved in the interactions, and highlights the role of metabolic endotoxemia in the onset of metabolic disorders.
March 2018: Dietary Fiber and Telomere Length in 5674 U.S. Adults: An NHANES Study of Biological Aging
The length of telomeres is highly related to chronological age. In this study (n=5674) researchers found there was a linear relationship between higher fibre intake per 1000 kcal and telomere length, suggesting that fibre consumption could slow biological ageing. Depending upon controlled covariates, a 10g increment in fibre intake accounted for a biologic ageing difference of 4.3 to 5.4 years.
March 2018: Complementary effects of cereal and pulse polyphenols and dietary fibre on chronic inflammation and gut health
In this review, the authors highlight how the combination of whole grain cereals and pulses in the diet present an excellent opportunity to reduce inflammation and enhance health benefits by positively influencing the gut microbiome. This is due to the complementary nature of their flavonoid profiles, dietary fibre structure, and polyphenol constituents.
March 2018: Select group of gut bacteria which are promoted by dietary fibres alleviate type 2 diabetes
A small (n=43) 12-week randomized, parallel-group trial in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) has identified a group of 15 acetate and butyrate producing bacteria that are promoted by a diet high in fibre.
Greater diversity and growth of these bacteria lead to improved HbA1c. Dietary fibres examined included whole grains, prebiotics and traditional Chinese medicinal foods (such as Tartary, buckwheat, oat, white bean, yellow corn, red bean, yam, peanut and lotus seed).
The study concluded that targeted promotion of these active SCFA producers via personalised nutrition may present a novel approach to managing T2D through gut microbiota manipulation.
February 2018: Cereal fibre, fruit fibre and Type 2 Diabetes
Evaluation of evidence from prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials indicates that (insoluble / non-viscous) cereal fibre is strongly protective against T2D(RR = 0.75; 95%; CI 0.65-0.86) whilst (soluble / viscous) fruit fibre gives weak protection (RR = 0.95; 95%; CI 0.87-1.03).
The Canadian researchers hypothesize the protective action of cereal fibre may be attributed to the modulating effects of gut microbiota through the following mechanisms:
- Improved glucose tolerance via energy metabolism pathways.
- Reduced inflammation.
- Altered immune response.
Jan 2018: The cost of fibre inadequacy in Australia
Fayet-Moore, F., et al. (2018). "Healthcare Expenditure and Productivity Cost Savings from Reductions in Cardiovascular Disease and Type 2 Diabetes Associated with Increased Intake of Cereal Fibre among Australian Adults: A Cost of Illness Analysis." Nutrients 10(1): 34.
A cost of illness analysis was conducted to assess the potential savings in healthcare expenditure and productivity costs associated with lower prevalence of CVD and T2D resulting from increased intake of cereal fibre. The analysis involved modelling for three levels of increased dietary cereal fibre intake (10%, to the Adequate Intake, and to the Suggested Dietary Target). Total combined annual healthcare expenditure and productivity cost savings of AUD$17.8 million–$1.6 billion for CVD and AUD$18.2 million–$1.7 billion for T2D were calculated. Given the substantial savings that could be realised, interventions and policies that encourage an increase in cereal fibre intake in Australia should be developed.
January 2018: Relation of the gut microbiota in delivering whole grain benefits
The objective of this study was to review the mechanisms by which whole grain cereals alter the gut microbiome composition and function.
The research concluded that whole cereal grains exert their beneficial health effects by resisting digestion in the upper GI tract and providing important fuel for the microbiota in the lower GI tract, and therefore:
- Delivering a prebiotic effect which corrects ecological imbalance, and;
- Providing substrates which produce metabolites such as SCFA's, phenolic metabolites and secondary bile acid. These metabolites can regulate appetite and energy homeostasis, lipid and glucose metabolism and alter inflammatory status.
December 2017: Whole grain and fibre intake strongly correlated with reduced obesity predictors
Celis-Morales, C., et al. 2018. ‘Correlates of overall and central obesity in adults from seven European countries: findings from the Food4Me Study’, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vol. 72, pp: 207–219.
A new cross-sectional analysis of data from 1441 participants in the Food4Me RCT conducted in seven European countries aimed to identify obesity predictors independent of other confounding factors (such as energy intake).
The research concluded the three strongest correlates of lower obesity were moderate physical activity, intakes of wholegrains and fibre (β: -1.36, −1.05, −1.02 kg/m2, respectively) [followed by fruits and vegetables, nuts and polyunsaturated fat (β: −0.52, −0.52 and −0.50 kg/m2, respectively)]. Conversely, age, processed meat and red meat were the strongest correlates of higher obesity (β: 1.11, 1.04 and 1.02 kg/m2 respectively).
August 2017: Poor appetite is linked to lower protein and fibre intake among the elderly
A semi-quantitative frequency questionnaire designed to estimate dietary intake was distributed to 2,597 community-dwelling adults aged 70-79 with 21.8% reported a poor appetite. After adjustment for total energy intake and potential confounders, participants with a poor appetite had a significantly lower consumption of protein and dietary fibre but a higher consumption of dairy foods, fats, oils, sweets, and sodas compared to participants with very good appetite.
This information is important to help identify specific food preferences in older adults and can be used to refine nutrition interventions that aim to improve dietary intake and diet quality in older adults with a poor appetite
August 2017: How dietary fibre helps the intestines maintain health
This new research identified the host receptor peroxisome proliferator receptor gamma (PPARg) as the regulator responsible for maintaining anaerobic environment where butyrate – producing bacteria thrive. When this host signalling pathway malfunctions, it leads to increased oxygen levels in the gut lumen which increases susceptibility to aerobic enteric pathogens such as Salmonella or Escherichia coli, which use oxygen to edge out competing beneficial microbes.
This research suggests that one of the best approaches to maintaining gut health might be to feed the beneficial microbes in our intestines dietary fibre, their preferred source of sustenance to help maintain an anaerobic environment and maintain gut health.
August 2017: Gut bacteria might be linked to anxiety feelings
Gut microbiota may act as a key regulator of the brain and behaviour. Compared with the conventional mice, the researchers found that the germ-free mice showed differences in 103 miRNAs in the amygdala - which is the brain region involved in emotional processing - and 31 changes in miRNAs in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) - which is the brain region involved in behaviour, planning, and impulse control, among other functions.
This study indicates that appropriate regulation of miRNA expression within the amygdala and PFC is influenced by microbiota composition and activity and relies on the presence of a functional microbiota during critical windows of neurodevelopment. The results further highlight that even following normal gut microbiome development, subsequent knockdown with antibiotics also impacts CNS miRNA expression.
August 2017: Regular breakfasts help children meet key nutrient target intakes
Data from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey were collected between 2008 and 2012 and nutrient daily intake was calculated for 802 children aged 4-10 and 884 young people aged 11-18. The study showed that as breakfast consumption increased, so did the proportion of children meeting their requirements for fibre, folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron and iodine. Breakfast skippers were more likely to shortfall on these nutrients. Younger children aged 4-10 and children from higher household incomes who eat daily breakfast were most likely to meet their requirements. No differences were seen between the different categories in term of obesity or overweight status.
July 2017: Eating more plant based protein may protect against early menopause
This study evaluated the relationship between diet and risk of early menopause among members of the Nurses' Health Study II (NHS2), an ongoing prospective study of 116,000 women aged 25-42 in 1989. It was observed that women consuming approximately 6.5 % energy from vegetable protein had a 16% lower risk of early menopause compared to women whose intake was approximately 4% of energy. The study results suggested that increasing intake of plant based protein from such foods as whole grains, soy and tofu may protect women from early menopause and could prolong reproductive function.
July 2017: Prebiotic corn fibre could help boost calcium absorption among adolescent girls
This randomised dose-response trial in 28 healthy adolescent females evaluated the effect of 0, 10, 20 g of soluble fermentable corn fibre /day on calcium absorption, biochemical bone properties and shift in faecal microbiome population diversity. The results showed a 12% increase in calcium reabsorption efficiency with a daily intake of 10 and 20 g soluble corn fibre and a modification of the microbiome diversity with an increase of two specific types of bacteria involved in calcium metabolism.
May 2017: Long term gluten intake in non-coeliacs not associated with risk of heart disease
This research analysed diet and coronary heart disease data of 65,000 women in the Nurses’ Health Study and 45,000 men in the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, excluding anyone who had been diagnosed with coeliac disease, and investigated the impact of gluten consumption on heart disease risk.
The researchers found that there was no association between gluten intake and risk of coronary heart disease, defined as fatal or non-fatal heart attacks, and that limiting beneficial whole grains as part of a reduced-gluten diet could actually increase cardio vascular risk in people without coeliac disease.
May 2017: Gluten intake not associated with risk of Type 2 diabetes
Findings suggest that long term gluten intake may not exert significant adverse effects on the incidence of Type 2 diabetes or excess weight gain. Limiting gluten from diets is thus unlikely to facilitate diabetes prevention and furthermore may lead to reduced consumption of cereal fibre or whole grains that help reduce the risk of diabetes.
May 2017: Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health
This research shows how diets are playing a significant role in shaping the microbiome, with experiments concluding that dietary alterations can induce large, temporary microbial shifts within 24h. The study also shows non-digestible carbohydrate diets that are rich in whole grain and wheat bran are linked to an increase in gut Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli suggesting that diet can modify the intestinal microbiome, which in turn has a profound impact on overall health.
April 2017: Intestinal bacteria may protect against type 2 diabetes
This research from the University of Eastern Finland showed that a high concentration of indolepropionic acid in the serum could protect against type 2 diabetes. Indolepropionic acid is a metabolite produced by intestinal bacteria, and its production is boosted by a fibre-rich diet such as whole grains and high fibre food. A higher concentration of indolepropionic acid seemed to promote insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells, which may explain the protective effect and produce new lipid metabolites that improve insulin resistance and lower inflammation.
April 2017: Whole grains and milk may protect against colorectal cancer
Vieira AR. Et al. Foods and beverages and colorectal cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies, an update of the evidence of the WCRF-AICR Continuous Update Project. Ann Oncol. 2017 Apr 12
As part of the World Cancer Research Fund International Continuous Update Project, 400 individual studies were included in a systematic review. The results show that a higher intake of red and processed meat and alcohol increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Milk and whole grains may have a protective role. Risk of developing colorectal cancer is decreased by 17% for each 90g/day increase of whole grains.
April 2017: Plant protein may protect against type 2 diabetes, meat eaters at greater risk
A new study from the University of Eastern Finland adds to the growing body of evidence indicating that the source of dietary protein may play a role in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The results showed that men who had the highest intake of plant protein were at 35% lower risk of developing T2D compared with men who had the lowest intake of plant protein. The men with high intake of plant protein also led a healthier lifestyle.
March 2017: Clarity on trending cardiovascular nutrition controversies
This review from JACC addresses some of the most popular foods and dietary patterns that have received significant media interest for promoting cardiovascular health and to provide health professionals with accurate information for their patients. Available evidence supports cardiovascular benefits of nuts, olive oil and other vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, plant-based diets and plant-based proteins such as from whole grains.
March 2017: Eating whole grain foods instead of refined grains can help maintain a healthy weight
Karl JP et al. Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial favourably affects energy-balance metrics in healthy men and postmenopausal women. Am J Clin. Nutr. March 2017. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.116.139683
A 6-week randomised single- blind comparative study to analyse the effect of whole grains and high fibre intakes compared to refined grains only. Results showed that the group who consumed whole grains had increased resting metabolic rate and greater faecal energy losses. Furthermore, the increases in faecal energy losses were not related to the extra fibre intakes but from the effect of the fibre on the digestibility of other food calories.
March 2017: Clarity on trending cardiovascular nutrition controversies
This review from JACC addresses some of the most popular foods and dietary patterns that have received significant media interest for promoting cardiovascular health and to provide health professionals with accurate information for their patients. Available evidence supports cardiovascular benefits of nuts, olive oil and other vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, plant-based diets and plant-based proteins such as from whole grains.
January 2017: Foods rich in resistant starch benefit health
The review summarises the potential mechanisms of action involved from food rich in resistant starch (RS) in postprandial glycaemia, satiety and gut health. There is consistent evidence that consumption of RS may be particularly helpful for managing diabetes by helping control blood sugar levels. It has also been suggested that RS can support gut health by modulating the composition of gut microbiota and enhance satiety via increased production of short chain fatty acids. There is some evidence that RS can counteract the detrimental effects of high red meat intake on colorectal cancer risk and emerging evidence of RS as an ingredient in oral rehydration solutions.
November 2016: Skipping breakfast and not enough sleep may cause children to become overweight
This observational study examined different predicting factors of children BMI development by collecting data of children born into 19,244 families in the UK. Measures of height and weight were collected at the age of 3, 5, 7 and 11 years old.
This study examined predicting factors of BMI development during the first 10 years of life and found that mothers smoking during pregnancy, children skipping breakfast and late bedtime or insufficient sleep could impact on their future BMI.
The study suggests that disrupted routines, illustrated by irregular sleeping patterns and skipping breakfast, could influence weight gain through increased appetite and over-consumption of energy-dense foods.
July 2016: Higher cereal fibre intake is associated with lower all-cause mortality
Hajishafiee et.al. Cereal fibre intake and risk of mortality from all causes, CVD, cancer and inflammatory diseases: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.
Br J Nutr. 2016; 116(2): 343-52. doi: 10.1017/S0007114516001938.
The systematic review and meta-analysis found a significant inverse association between cereal fibre intake and mortality from all-causes, CVD and cancer, but not from inflammation-related mortality. Compared with the lowest category of fibre consumption, people with the highest consumption of cereal fibre had a 19% lower risk of all causes mortality, 18% lower risk of CVD and 15% lower risk of cancer.
June 2016: Higher wholegrain intake is significantly associated with lower risk of all-cause mortality.
Chen G-C et. al. Whole-grain intake and total, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Am J Clin Nutr. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.122432.
Higher intakes of whole grain or whole-grain products, compared to lower intakes, was significantly associated with an 11–18% lower risk of total or cause-specific mortality. When intake of whole grain products was converted to an estimated grams of whole grain (assuming 16g per serving), each 50-g/d increase in whole-grain intake was associated with 22%, 30%, and 18% lower risk of dying from any cause, CVD, and cancer, respectively. Risk reduction benefits were seen even at the lower ranges of whole grain intake suggesting that even adding small amounts of whole grain to the diet still has benefits.
May 2016: Cereal eaters are slimmer, have better nutrient and fibre intakes compared to skippers and those who eat other breakfasts.
A recent analysis of the Australian Health Survey has shown that breakfast cereals are not the poor food choice they are made out to be. In fact, breakfast cereals make an important contribution to nutrient intakes, particularly for dietary fibre, calcium and iron- nutrients of which Australians are not getting enough. In addition, the total sugars in breakfast cereals account for less than two per cent of kilojoule intake in the diets of Australians who consume it. This adds to other recent data showing that breakfast cereal contributes less than 3% of our added sugar intake. The research also showed that the adults who ate breakfast cereals had slimmer waists and were more likely to be a healthy weight than people who ate other breakfasts. They also had lower sodium intakes and were more likely to meet their nutrient requirements.
February 2016: Eating breakfast is associated with increased physical activity and improved insulin sensitivity compared to skipping
This randomised control trial analysed the relationship between breakfast and health outcomes for obese individuals, comparing the results from a fasting group (breakfast skippers) with a breakfast group.
There were no differences in energy intake across the day which means that skippers were likely to make up for the calories later in the day and therefore there were no differences in weight status. However, obese individuals who ate breakfast had higher physical activity levels in the morning and reduced food intake later in the day.
This study also provides evidence that sustained daily breakfast omission affects some indexes of insulin sensitivity in obese individuals and adds to the body of evidence that breakfast consumption can maintain insulin sensitivity and glycaemic control.
December 2015: Breakfast cereal consumption associated with reduced risk of mortality
A recently published study from Harvard University has found that a regular breakfast cereal habit is associated with a reduced risk of death from chronic disease.
The research examined the diets of 367,442 people followed up after 14 years, as part of the prospective National Institutes of Health AARP Diet and Health Study.
The data showed that people with the highest intake of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals (22.5g/day, equivalent to four 40g serves a week) had the greatest risk reductions – 15% for all-cause mortality, 24% for cardiovascular disease, 13% for digestive cancer mortality and 10% for all cancer – compared to people who did not have ready-to-eat breakfast cereals. The researchers also found that among ready-to-eat breakfast cereal eaters, higher fibre intakes appear to be even more protective.
March 2015: Cereal fibre and whole grains associated with reduced risk of mortality
Harvard researchers examined the diets of 367,442 people from the prospective National Institutes of Health – AARP Diet and Health Study, with an average follow-up period of 14 years.
The study showed that those with the highest cereal fibre intakes had a 19% reduced risk of death from all causes, 15% reduced risk of death from cancer and 34% reduced risk of death from diabetes.
In addition to the benefits of cereal fibre, the study reported that eating an average of 34g of whole grains a day was associated with a 17% reduced risk of death from all causes, an 11% reduced risk of death from respiratory disease and a 48% reduction in the risk of diabetes.
March 2015: Cereal grains associated with beneficial effects on plasma glucose and cholesterol levels
This paper aimed to review the antidiabetic and antilipidemic potential of cereal grains such as rye, barley, millet, sorghum, wheat, oats, rice, corn, sago and buckwheat. Forty-five articles were included in the final review, of which 20 were animal studies. All included studies demonstrated that cereal grains possess therapeutic properties and help in lowering blood glucose levels and/or maintaining blood cholesterol levels.
Feb 2015: Breakfast skipping related to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes
This is the first meta-analysis of observational studies on breakfast skipping and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the results suggest that breakfast skipping is associated with a significantly increased risk of T2DM. Compared with individuals who consume breakfast regularly, the risk of T2DM was increased by 21% in cohort studies and 15% in cross-sectional studies for breakfast skippers. This significant positive association was also consistent in cohort studies after adjusting for confounding factors.
Jan 2015: Whole grain intake is associated with reduced risk of mortality
Higher whole grain consumption, with or without added bran or germ, was associated with lower mortality, especially deaths due to CVD, in US men and women, independent of other dietary and lifestyle factors. Every one-ounce serving of whole grains was associated with a 5% lower total risk of death, or a 9% lower risk of death from heart disease. Whole grain intake was not significantly associated with cancer mortality.
December 2014: Whole grains may be more protective against major chronic disease than fruits and vegetables
Fardet, A, Boirie, Y. Associations between food and beverage groups and major diet-related chronic diseases: an exhaustive review of pooled/meta-analyses and systematic reviews. Nutr Reviews. 2014. Vol 72 (12):741-762.
A comprehensive review of more than 300 meta-analyses and systematic reviews published over the past 60 years. The review found that whole grain products are more likely to be protective against type 2 diabetes, CVD and cancers than fruits and vegetables.
September 2014: Systematic review of the health benefits of breakfast cereal
A systematic literature review conducted by Professor Peter Williams, showed that eating breakfast cereal is associated with several health benefits.
Breakfast cereal eaters have more nutritious diets and are more likely to be meeting recommended nutrient intakes than people who eat other options, or who have no breakfast at all.
Regularly eating breakfast cereal is associated with a lower BMI and a 12% lower risk of being overweight or obese and in both adults and children. Whole grain and high-fibre breakfast cereal is also associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes (24%) and cardiovascular disease (28%).
There was no difference in the weight status or energy intake of children who consume pre-sweetened breakfast cereal compared to those that don’t.
September 2014: Dietary fibre intake associated with reduced risk of mortality
This study investigated the association of fibre, whole-grain, fruit and vegetable intake with all-cause mortality in a Mediterranean cohort of elderly adults at high cardiovascular disease risk. Higher baseline intakes of fibre or fruit were inversely associated with all-cause mortality. Those with the highest fibre intakes (more than 20g per day) had a 37% reduction in risk of death.