Bakers Journal

Healthy Grains Institute rolls out in Canada

December 10, 2012
By Bakers Journal

Dec. 10, 2012, Toronto – Launched Nov. 27, 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 eat.

"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, 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 or 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 disease.”

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 National Millers
Association, Baking Association of Canada, Canada Bread Co. Ltd., and
Weston Bakeries Ltd.

Please visit 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.

[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.

[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.

[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.

[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,

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